High Synagogue

High Synagogue is an inactive Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Kazimierz District of Kraków, Poland. It was called the High (or Tall) Synagogue for many centuries for it was the tallest synagogue in the city. It was built in 1556-1563. It appears to be in a Renaissance manner with certain modifications common north of the alps(most notably the tracery, which resembles that of St-Pierre in Caen). It was the third synagogue to be erected in Kazimierz. Originally, the prayer rooms were located on the second floor above ground floor shops. The interior walls of the sanctuary feature paintings of scenes in Jerusalem, including the "Tomb of the Israelite Kings," "Western Wall," and a handsome pair of lions in the women's gallery.

During the occupation of Poland in World War II, Nazis stripped the interior of all equipment. The ceiling and roof were destroyed. At present only the stone niche for the Aron Kodesh and the wall-paintings uncovered early in the 21st century by art conservation remain. Gabled-windowed top floor, synagogue ceiling and roof were renovated in 2008 as part of the ongoing repairs.

The High serves as a Landmark Conservation building. Since 2005 it has been open to visitors. Photographic and other exhibitions about customs and traditions of the Jewish community of the interwar period are staged indoors.

Building Activity

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