Zamość Renaissance Synagogue
Zamość Synagogue is one of Poland’s most historic and architecturally significant synagogues. Built in a square Italian Renaissance-inspired design in the early seventeenth century, the synagogue has retained many original features, including its built-in masonry and Aron Kodesh frame. In the eighteenth century, the façade was changed, a second floor was added to the annexes for women, the attics were removed, and a new roof was raised. During World War II the synagogue was looted, one of the women’s annexes dismantled, and the northern section suffered extensive damage. Nazis used the synagogue as a carpentry workshop and in the 1950s it was used as a warehouse. Later the building was repurposed as a municipal library.
The cultural and information center for the Chassidic Route is now located in the synagogue
When the synagogue was restored to the Jewish Community of Warsaw, the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland took on the challenges to return the building to its pre-twentieth century appearance. Renovations began in 2009. The restoration team was successful in uncovering the foundations, dismantling the shear wall below ground level, draining the foundation walls, installing new horizontal and vertical insulation, filling in the excavation and covering the foundations, and paving the surface of the ground with cobblestones. In 2010 the various processes to repair the plaster were undertaken and the exterior was painted. Restoration was finished in early 2011.
One of the main objectives was to transform the building into a modern cultural institution that is part of the Chassidic Route, an international tourist trail joining together surviving Jewish cultural and religious monuments in Poland. The cultural and information center for the Chassidic Route is now located in the synagogue, as well as a museum of the history of Jews in Zamość and surrounding areas. In addition to hosting educational activities and cultural events, the synagogue is now used for religious services.