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Gothic Synagogues
Back view of Old-New Synagogue (Altneuschul), gothic style, steep roof, old Jewish quarter of Prague

Back View of Prague's Old-New Synagogue, oldest synagogue in Europe still used as a place of worship.

Photo ©2011 Lukas Koster (www.lukaskoster.net), CC BY-SA 2.0, flickr.com

Jews were not permitted to design buildings in Medieval times. Jewish places of worship were designed by Christians who incorporated the same Gothic details used for churches and cathedrals.

The Old-New Synagogue in Prague was an early example of Gothic design in a Jewish building. Constructed in 1279, more than a century after the Gothic Saint-Denis in France, the modest building has a pointed arch facade, a steep roof, and walls fortified by simple buttresses. Two small dormer-like "eyelid" windows provide light and ventilation to the interior space—a vaulted ceiling and octagonal pillars.

Also known by the names Staronova and Altneuschul, the Old-New Synagogue has survived wars and other catastrophes to become the oldest synagogue in Europe still used as a place of worship.

By the 1400s, the Gothic style was so predominant that builders routinely used Gothic details for all types of structures. Secular buildings such as town halls, royal palaces, courthouses, hospitals, castles, bridges, and fortresses reflected Gothic ideas.

Learn More About Prague's Old-New Synagogue:

Front View of the Synagogue >>>
Floor Plan of the Synagogue (Official Website) >>>

NEXT: Gothic Style Architecture: Pointed Arches >>>

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