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Neue Synagogue

Sacred Buildings: Domed Neue Synagogue in Berlin, Germany

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The blue-domed Neue Synagogue, or New Synagogue, is in the Scheunenviertel District (Barn Quarter), in the heart of Berlin's once large Jewish district.
Neue Synagogue is in the Scheunenviertel District of Berlin.

Neue Synagogue is in the Scheunenviertel District (Barn Quarter), in the heart of Berlin's once large Jewish district.

Photo © Jeff Whyte/iStockPhoto
The original Neue Synagogue, or New Synagogue, was built between 1859 and 1866. It was the main synagogue for the Berlin Jewish population in Oranienburger Strasse and the largest synagogue in Europe.

Architect Eduard Knoblauch borrowed Moorish ideas for the Neo-Byzantine design of Neue Synagogue. The synagogue is lavished with glazed bricks and terracotta details. The gilded dome is 50 meters high. Ornate and colorful, Neue Synagogue is often compared to the Moorish style Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.

Neue Synagogue was revolutionary for its time. Iron was used for floor supports, the dome structure, and visible columns. Architect Eduard Knoblauch died before the Synagogue was completed so most of the construction was supervised by architect Friedrich August Stüler.

Neue Synagogue was destroyed during World War II, in part by the Nazis and in part by Allied bombing. In 1958 the ruined building was demolished. Reconstruction began after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The front facade of the building and the dome were restored. The rest of the building had to be entirely reconstructed.

The new Neue Synagogue opened in May 1995.

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