"Jewish District in vth District" Budapest Local Custom Tip by budapest8
Budapest Local Customs: 231 reviews and 279 photos
The Jewish district in Pest has a long and ultimately tragic history. It first sprang up in medieval times just beyond the Pest city wall (which stood where today's Inner Ring boulevard stands), because Jews were forbidden to live inside the town. Later, Pest expanded beyond its walls, and the Jewish district actually became one of the city's more centrally located neighborhoods. The huge synagogues that you can see may give some idea of the area's former vitality. Under German occupation in World War II, the district became a walled ghetto, with 220,000 Jews crowded inside; almost half perished during the war. Sadly, the neighborhood is now more or less in a state of decay; buildings are crumbling, garbage is strewn about, and graffiti covers the walls. Nevertheless, this compact little neighborhood is filled with evocative sights.
The Dohány Synagogue
This striking Byzantine building, Europe's largest synagogue and the world's second-largest, was built in 1859 and is still used by Budapest's Neolog (Conservative) Jewish community. The synagogue is newly cleaned and restored.
The small, freestanding brick wall inside the courtyard, to the left of the synagogue's entrance, is a piece of the original:
This handsome but decrepit yellow-and-rust-colored building is, in its own way, as impressive as the Dohány Synagogue. Built in 1872 by the Vienna architect Otto Wagner, this Orthodox synagogue is no longer in use. You can't go inside, but the facade itself is worth seeing.
Continue down Rumbach utca and make a left on Madách út to look at the giant archway of:
In the 1930s a plan was drawn up for the creation of a great boulevard similar in form and style to Andrássy út. World War II put an end to the ambitious project, and the grand Madách tér leads only to itself now. Looking through the arch on a clear day, you get an unusual view of Gellért Hill, crowned by the Liberation Monument. Several new art galleries can be found on Rumbach utca and Madách út.
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