Saturday, June 14, 2008

Synagogue in Straznice, CZ, Restored

I was delighted to learn that the wonderful synagogue in the small town of Straznice, in southeast Czech Republic (southern Moravia) near the border with Slovakia, has been restored and will now be used as a local museum and cultural venue.

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.

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