Budapest Great Synagogue in Dohàny street
Built between 1854-1859 by the Neolog Jewish community of Pest according to the plans of Ludwig Förster, the monumental synagogue has a capacity of 2,964 seats making it the largest in the Europe and the second largest of the world.
The original synagogue was bombed by the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party on 3 February, 1939. Used as a base for German Radio and also as a horses stable during World War II, the building suffered some severe damage from aerial raids during the Nazi Occupation but especially during the Siege of Budapest. During the Communist era the damaged structure became again a prayer house for the much-diminished Jewish community. Its restoration started in 1991, funded largely by a US$ 10 million donation from Hungarian Jewish immigrants Estée Lauder, Tony Curtis, Elizabeth Arden and more..., was completed in 1996.
The style of the Dohány Street Synagogue is Moorish but its design also features a mixture of Byzantine, Romantic and Gothic elements. Two onion-shaped domes sit on the twin octogonal towers at 43 m height. A rose stained-glass window sits over the main entrance.
Similarly to basilicas, the building consists of three spacious richly decorated aisles, two balconies and, unusually, an organ. Its ark contains various torah scrolls taken from other synagogues destroyed during the Holocaust.
The torah-ark and the internal frescoes made of colored and golden geometric shapes are the works of the famous Hungarian romantic architect Frigyes Feszl.
Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saëns played the original 5,000 tube organ built in 1859.