Sofia Synagogue

Last updated Jan 2015


16 Ekzarch Yosif St.


Getting there: Metro Serdica station


Status: Active synagogue


Admission: 2 lv 


A buzzer will summon a polite guard who will let you in.

The building itself is a bit of a surprise. Somewhat hidden behind the central hall market and a tall fence, its size and architecture are quite astonishing.

Currently, it is the third largest synagogue in Europe: a title it inherited, sadly, after the destruction of synagogues throughout the continent in the 1940s.

In fact, it was modeled after one of the 80 Jewish temples destroyed by the Nazis in Vienna alone, during the notorious Kristalnacht of 1938.

Sofia synagogue, like most of the synagogues built in Europe and North America in the late 19th and early 20th century, favors the Moorish Revival style.

Islamic arches, domes of various size and elaborately detailed floral mosaics call to mind the “golden age of Jewish culture in Moorish Spain”.

Venetian mosaics and the large chandelier add to the feel.

The synagogue suffered substantial damage by the bombings during World War II and the years of neglect that followed, but it has been extensively renovated.

Built in 1909 with 1300 seats to serve a congregation of 50 000 Sephardic or Spanish Jews, today the synagogue welcomes much fewer believers, as immigration to Israel shrank Sofia's Jewish community to a handful of people.

However, the building is gradually changing from a place that few locals knew existed, to one of the most visited tourist spots in the city.


Last updated Jan 2015
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resized/synagogue interior sofia bulgaria 600x200
Sofia, synagogue, interior