The synagogue was reopened with a festive ceremony June 5. It had been undergoing restoration work in fits and starts for acout 15 years. The synagogue is a barnlike building whose facade was enhanced by a sun dial. It stands amid ample remnants of the former Jewish quarter, with several other former Jewish buildings in the network of little streets. In an unusual arrangement, the synagogue is surrounded on three sides by the Jewish cemetery -- it always reminds me of a village church surrounded by a churchyard.
According the a Czech news agency report, the restoration cost 10 million Czech crowns (approx 16 crowns to one U.S. dollar).
When I visited Straznice in 2006, the outer walls had already been restored. Straznice is the latest in a series of restorations of Czech synagogues to be completed in recent years. The Czech Jewish community has developed (and implements) a clear strategy of preservation, conservation and restoration of Jewish heritage sites -- and this in turn falls within a general Czech strategy for monuments preservation.
Pictures here show the synagogue and surroundings in 2006.
As the author of National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe, I have roamed thousands of miles around Europe's historic Jewish heartland, bringing Jewish heritage to light for on-site explorers and armchair travelers alike. On this blog I will post photographs, links and personal experiences related to Jewish heritage sites and travel, particularly in the countries of east-central Europe.
Aside from clearly marked quotations, links and pictures, all material on this blog is copyright ⓒ Ruth Ellen Gruber
I'm an American writer, photographer, and public speaker long based in Europe. I've chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues for more than 20 years and currently coordinate the web site www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu. My latest books are "National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe," published in 2007, and "Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere)," published in 2008.
I also am working on "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American West in the European imagination for which I won a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend grant. In 2015 I was the Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston, SC.