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Synagogue in Lesko

Heritage Sites – Synagogues, prayer houses and others
Polska / podkarpackie

The Lesko Synagogue , one of five prayer houses owned by mainly the Hassidic Jews, survived the war.. At first a storehouse was organized in the synagogue which prevented its devastation. It is situated at the intersection of Berka Joselewicza and Moniuszki streets. The Lesko synagogue was laid out on a rectangular plan. The building consists of a main hall and a much smaller adjacent annex with a vestibule and a balcony for women.

Thee eastern wall hides an orna­mental Aron ha-Kodesh (a niche where the Torah scrolls are kept), consisting of half-columns and a triangular finial, and referring in its form to the Aron ha-Kodesh from the non-existent Golden Rose synagogue in Lviv (today in Ukraine). Cornices divide the walls into three floors. In the upper floor the windows are placed between half columns.

Wrought iron doors dating back to the nineteenth century divided the vestibule from the prayer room. The front and altar façade is decorated with stone vases. On the top of the western façade, there are the Ten Commandment tablets and a He­brew inscription, saying: ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven’.

The synagogue was severely damaged during the war. The renovators attempted to restore its appearance from before the 20th c. alterations. Other restoration works followed in 1981 and 1991. Currently, the building hosts the “Synagoga” Gallery run by the Bieszczady Cultural Center and the offices in the annex. There is a small tower with stairs leading to an attic in the southwestern corner of the synagogue. The tower was built of stone and the recreated upper story of brick. There are stone stairs inside. Under the tower there is a dungeon of the size of 2.5 x 2.5 m with a cradle vault. Its entrance leads to the prayer room.

At the beginning of the 1960s and 1970s there was a plan to establish the Museum of Stone Sculpture of the Bieszczady Mountains but this project failed when it turned out that all the artifacts were of a sacred nature. In 1977 an art gallery of the Bieszczady House of Culture was opened there.

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GPS:
49.4705° N / 22.3309° E
49°28'13" N / 22°19'51" E
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