Completed Project

Pécs Synagogue

Pécs, Hungary

The Synagogue of Pécs was consecrated in 1869 by the Jewish Neolog community, whose principles are of a more reformed Judaism. Designed by architects Frigyes Feszl, Károly Gerster, and Lipót Kauser, the synagogue’s face is embellished with a clock and a Hebrew inscription that reads, "For my house, be called to the house of prayer for all peoples." The building also boasts onion domes and other ornate exterior finishes; its seating is of the same dark slavonian oak as was used when it was built. Decorative detailing includes brilliantly colored ceilings displaying intricate stencil work, cast and wrought-iron columns with gilded capitals, and stylized architectural features. The synagogue still contains its original Angster organ.

In the early 1990s, World Monuments Fund, working with the Hungarian Jewish Parish Community and the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage, completed surveys to identify areas of concern and develop a conservation plan. The interior and exterior surveys and conservation efforts were used as an opportunity to engage local professionals in the conservation documentation and planning processes. The project included repair of the roof and windows, mitigation of water infiltration problems, and cleaning of damaged decorative surfaces. After the completion of the conservation program, the local Jewish community allowed regular visits to the synagogue and a program of public events was inaugurated.

An architecturally notable structure

The Jewish Neolog community that commissioned the building had its roots in Hungary. Its philosophy was articulated at the 1868 Hungarian Jewish Congress and the synagogue was envisioned as bold structure to herald a reformed view of Judaism, as well as to create an architecturally notable structure. Restoration of the synagogue provides opportunities to admire the beauty of the building and its interiors, but even more importantly it is an opportunity to continue to tell new visitors the history of the region and the important contributions of the Jewish Neolog congregation to the evolution of modern Judaism.

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