Spanish Synagogue, Prague

Spanish Synagogue, Prague

Life Swift
Published on December 9, 2023
Spanish Synagogue, Prague

The Spanish Synagogue, constructed in 1868, is the most popular synagogue in entire Europe. It was built on the location of the oldest Prague Jewish House of Prayer. The building is included in one of the six Jewish monuments that make up the Jewish Museum in Prague. The place was named as the Spanish Synagogue intended for its remarkable Moorish interior design, influenced by the famous Alhambra.


Historically, the Spanish Synagogue is not regarded as the first synagogue at the site. The Old School is probably the oldest synagogue in Prague. During the 19th century, the capacity of the Old School was insufficient as per the requirement. Hence, the Reform Jewish Community considered replacing the old synagogue. As a result, the Old School was replaced by the Spanish Synagogue.


The Spanish Synagogue was designed in a Moorish style by VojtechIgnatz Ullmann. The interior of the structure, together with the stained glass windows, was designed by the designers A. Baum and B. Munzberg. The structure of the Synagogue includes a regular square plan with a large dome overcoming the central space. There are galleries that open onto the nave on three sides of the monument. A low stucco arabesque of stylized Islamic motifs applied to the walls, doors and gallery railings adds to the beauty of the memorial. The Spanish Synagogue was ignored during Nazi and Communist rule and ultimately closed. However, in the late 20th century, the monument was taken under control by the Jewish Museum in Prague.


The Jewish community favored Moorish elements to be employed in reforming synagogues. The interior of the building was designed in a late 19th century. The grandeur of the building is added by low stucco arabesques, gold-plated as well as polychrome motifs. Further, the lively shades of green, blue and red beautify the monument. The gold decoration on the doors provides are the markable view of the site. The windows, situated on the upper floor, were tailored with stained glass in 1882 as well as 1883. The ark demonstrates an Islamic impact as well. The overwhelming principal dome has been covered with rich decoration in the area of 10 meters in diameter.

Present Situation

A display of synagogue textiles was traced in the building from 1960 to 1982. Afterwards, the sacral building was shut. Again, the reconstruction took place in 1994 and persisted four years. In 1998, the exposition was open to the public for the first time. Different concerts are also organized in this place surrounded by arabesques, gold decoration and vibrant colors.Since then, the place was again reconstructed in 1998, following a demonstration of contemporary Jewish history in the Czech lands.Thus, the Spanish Synagogue is an attractive destination to visit and explore. The building is a place where different popular concerts are held. The place is an important aspect of the Jewish Museum.