Izaak (Ajzyk) Synagogue

ul. Kupa 16, Kraków


Izaak Synagogue – the largest of all synagogues in Kazimierz – is a monumental, very elongated structure with buttresses.

Its only decoration on the outside is a Baroque portal on the side of Izaaka Street. In 1924, a double stairway with an arcaded porch was added to its façade, leading to the women's gallery. After the Second World War, the interior of the synagogue was hastily refurbished by artists, who adapted it for their needs. Until the 1970s, the halls contained sculptor's workshops. In 1981, the interior was burnt down in a fire ignited by intruders. In the years 1983-1992, a major overhaul was finally carried out. During these works, the building was recovered by the Jewish Religious Community. Only after the overhaul (1994) did conservator-restorers march in in order to restore the interior's former glory.

The crude rectangular hall with a high (14 metres) barrel vault supported directly by pilasters, is adorned with framed stucco decorations, which make this early-Baroque interior of the synagogue resemble the interiors of several churches and palaces from the same period. This is why it is ascribed to Giovanni Battista Falconi. The arcaded women's gallery supported by Tuscan columns constitutes an especially beautiful element. During the maintenance, 17th-century polychromy was uncovered and exposed. An Aron Kodesh (Torah ark) with Tuscan columns on the sides and topped with a broken coping and convex Decalogue was reconstructed. In 2007, the Jewish community leased out the synagogue to one of the Hasidic communities, which intends to dedicate it for cult purposes.

Kupa Synagogue
The construction of the Kupa Synagogue, not very impressive on the outside, was finished in the 1640s. The name of the temple comes from Hebrew. Kupa is the fund of the quahal, a Jewish community, which allowed the construction of the synagogue. Added to the defensive walls (partly preserved and seen from a yard on Warschauera Street) in the north, it was the last synagogue to have been built in the times of the Jewish town in Kazimierz. Since it was combined with an asylum, it was also called the synagogue of the poor. The present appearance of the temple is a result of a reconstruction that took place in the 1830s, when the wooden vaulting was replaced by a flat wooden ceiling with a women's gallery underneath. The later transformations deprived the building of its Baroque elements and the damage made by the Nazis irrevocably destroyed its liturgical character. The only remainder of the construction is a stone altar – Aron Kodesh – between pilasters. In the years 1951-1991, the building was used by pursemakers from Spółdzielnia Inwalidów. After reclaiming the synagogue, the refurbishment carried out by the Jewish Religious Community lasted until 2002. The renovation involved the impressive polychromy of the ceiling from the 1920s, depicting landscapes of the cities of the Holy Land, and wall paintings that adorn the gallery with zodiac signs.

Translation: Summa Linguae

Date: 2016-02-18 Show ticket
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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