One of the oldest synagogues in Belarus located in a beautiful city Slonim, Grodno region. Built back in 1648 with features of the Baroque architectural style, it is second only to Choral Synagogue in Grodno.

Synagogue in Slonim

The Slonim synagogue occupies a central place among the sights of the city. Located on Sovetskaya street. It is interesting that originally there was an old market square, which over the centuries has turned into a local market.

Slonim attractions

Thick walls, high windows and a rather austere decoration of the building only confirm the historical information that the synagogue was built as a defensive structure.

the oldest synagogues in Belarus poshyk info
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But of course the synagogue also fulfilled its main function - it was the center of the Jewish community.

slonim synagogue

Particular attention is drawn to the facade, which is a real decoration of the entire building. The baroque portico with a small window and false columns looks impressive even when neglected.

Slonim synagogue

Inside, the synagogue has a completely traditional layout, typical of most Jewish temples.

History of the Slonim Synagogue

The main hall occupies almost the entire volume of the building, the vaults of which are supported by 4 columns that form bimu (*services are conducted from this building, and the rabbi reads the Torah).

Photo of the synagogue in Slonim

The columns of the bima are decorated with paintings and stucco, by some miracle all this has survived to this day.

Bima of the Slonim Synagogue

Inside, besides the bima, you can see synagogue ark (aron ha-kodesh). It is a special niche where the Torah scrolls were kept. In the Slonim synagogue, the aron ha-kodesh is located behind the facade wall, its decoration has been partially preserved.

Synagogue ark in Slonim

All photos inside were taken from the women's section of the temple, the Ezrat-Nashim balcony (men and women in Judaism pray separately from each other).

Synagogue in Slonim photo inside

At the turn of 1881, the Jewish center was damaged by fire. Despite the ban of the authorities, the synagogue was restored at the expense of parishioners.

Synagogue in Slonim

The prayer house of the Jews operated until 1939, and after World War II the synagogue building was used as a warehouse.

In the early 2000s, the building was handed over to the Jewish association. There were modest attempts at conservation, but unfortunately, the attraction continued to arrive in a decadent state.

Main synagogue in Slonim

At the end of 2020, the building was sold at auction. The new owner, a young writer from Minsk, planned to restore the unique architectural monument and raise funds for reconstruction. In 2022, it became clear that this plan could not be implemented and that the old building would soon be returned to the balance sheet of local authorities.

The synagogue stands in the very center of the city, you can easily find it, below is a point with a mark on the map:

There are several other interesting objects along the street: church and convent of the Bernardinesand Transfiguration Cathedral. I also recommend to see what it looks like Slonim in the anime Code Geass.

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Sasha Poshykovich