Synagogue to return to its original appearance
One of Europe’s oldest synagogues being reconstructed in centre of Grodno
By Iosif Pimenovsky
The majestic synagogue was built by Italian architect Santi Gucci — in Bolshaya Troitskaya Street, in 1578. Being wooden, it was twice burnt by fire, leading to a new stone structure being constructed exactly 110 years ago. The Synagogue closed in 1940 and, half a century later, was transferred to the Jewish community of Grodno. Sadly, funds for restoration have only just become available, so only the roof and floor have previously received attention, alongside the water supply and sewage system.
Fortunately, the unique prayer hall, magnificent stucco work and decorative finishes remain in reasonable condition. The lack of central heating makes it cold in winter but services still continue, whatever the temperature.
In recent years, there have been several attempts to start complete reconstruction of the building, but lack of funds always called a halt to proceedings. The situation is now different, so the synagogue may return to its original appearance by the end of the year, becoming not only a place for prayer but a tourist attraction. It is to have a library, a computer room, meeting rooms and a museum detailing the history of Grodno’s Jewish community.