The Jewish Quarter in Bucharest is a former slum with houses and gardens that largely escaped demolition in the 1980s. The area is an eclectic mix of houses in various styles, streets with poetic names, small parks and picturesque churches.
It is known that here was one of the most important Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. In the interwar period, the Jewish population represented about 11% of the city's population. World War II, as well as emigration to Israel during the communist regime, brought the Jewish community to around a few thousand members today.
It is noteworthy that, over time, the Jewish community in Bucharest has been very active, prosperous and well-formed. Its members were merchants, bankers, doctors, lawyers, architects etc.
At the same time, the cultural heritage of the Jewish community is impressive. Here are just a few architectural landmarks that you will discover when you choose to visit the Jewish Neighborhood:
The Coral Temple is a synagogue of the Jewish Community in Bucharest, being the largest mosaic place of worship in the city. It was built between 1864-1866, being renovated in 1932 and 1945.
The construction of the temple took place at the initiative of Isaac Leib Weinberg, a Polish Jew from Bucharest, who proposed the construction of a large and impressive synagogue like the other great cities of Europe - Vienna, Dresden or Paris.
The Coral Temple is a replica of the Tempelgasse Synagogue in Vienna, also known as the Temple in the Leopoldstadt district and was inaugurated on July 6, 1867.
The Holy Union Temple (Ahdut Kodesh) was built by the tailors 'guild in 1850, and is also known as the Great Tailors' Synagogue. The building was remodeled in 1910, according to the plans of the architect Iulius Grunfeld. Currently, the building is a mixture of Moorish, Romanesque and Byzantine elements to which is added the influence of Byzantine architecture in Muntenia.
In January 1941, the synagogue was devastated by legionaries, and then restored. The Temple of the Holy Union in Bucharest survived both the Second World War and the time of Nicolae Ceausescu (the period in which most of the synagogues in Bucharest were demolished).
On January 15, 1978, at the initiative of Dr. Moses Rosen, chief rabbi of the Jewish communities in Romania and president of the federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, the Museum of the History of the Jewish Community in Romania was arranged in this temple.
The State Jewish Theater operates mainly in Yiddish, which has been the mother tongue of Ashkenazi Jews in Europe for centuries, including Romania.
The theater represents a continuation of the tradition of over 140 years of theater in this language in the Romanian space, starting with Abraham Goldfaden's troupe that played in Iasi and Bucharest.
The building of the Jewish theater was built by Iuliu Barasch, at the end of the 19th century. He had bought the land in the heart of the Jewish quarter and planned to build a clinic, but eventually the building became a house of culture. Today, the building is a historical monument.
If you want to take a walk in the open air and discover the hidden beauty of the Jewish Neighborhood, you can sign up for the next tour. The tour is hosted by a guide who will take you on the streets full of history and will reveal the most interesting things about the life of the Jewish community in Bucharest, from the past to the present.