Great Suburb Synagogue in Lviv

The Great Suburb Synagogue is an instance of Lviv Architecture that reminds us of the rich Jewish heritage. During the sixteenth centuries, this great historic building was one of the important hubs of the Jewish culture in the Western Ukrainian City. The suburb of the synagogue stands out as an excellent example for the artistic and the architectural traditions of the Eastern Europe and due to the presence of this historic synagogue, the UNESCO has considered the Lviv town as the “World Heritage Site”.

The Lviv city came into existence in the mid thirteenth century and was founded by Prince Danylo Halytsky of Galicia. It was named after his son Lev. Most of the settlements in this Lviv town belonged to the Jewish sect. In the year 1571, a synagogue was constructed in gothic style. This synagogue is now known as the Golden Rose Synagogue. The city witnessed a great war between Jews and the Jesuits in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Later in the year 1941, the Germans captured the town and almost six thousand Jews were killed as a result.

The synagogue was completely destroyed by the Nazis and over 420,000 Jews were killed by them in the year 1943 and now only the ruins of the synagogue remains. Finally, the synagogue was handed over to the Jewish community in the year 1989 and the five thousand Jews people lived in the city who not only acted as the preservers but also the guardians of the synagogue. Inside the Great Suburb Synagogue, there are several paintings that denote certain Jewish symbols like the Torah, birds and animals. During the Soviet period, the remains of the synagogue were totally neglected and only in the recent years, there are some reconstruction work done in the historic building to protect from the destruction.

Currently, the world known famous architect Aron Ostreicher is reconstructing some of the world famous ruined synagogues. Only some parts of the northern wall of the Great Suburb Synagogue is still remained and the government of Ukraine is taking utmost diligence in preserving the ruins. Though the synagogue was not rebuilt again, it just remains as a stone construction in the center of the district with a holocaust nearby. There is an archeological excavation being conducted in the synagogue to recover the precious Jewish artifacts that dated back to more than four hundred years.

Apart from the Great Suburb Synagogue, there are few other small prayer houses like the Menakrim Synagogue, The Melamdim Synagogue, The Zowche Cedek Synagogue, The Cejerim synagogue and the Hajutim Hdalim Synagogue. All of them were completely desecrated and the properties were stolen by the Nazis in the year 1941. One of the few evidences that remains about the existence of the Golden Rose building are the ruins of the synagogue. A tall fence has been placed surrounding the remains of the building in order to safeguard them from further damage.