Great Synagogue in Sibiu

Jews settled in Sibiu in the mid-19th century. There were 5 and 9 Jews in 1850 and 1857 respectively, and 168 Jews in 1869. By the turn of the 20th century, however, the community was much larger and numbered 875 Jews in 1900 and 1,307 in 1910. Such a large community needed a synagogue, which could reflect its size and prosperity. The Great Synagogue in Sibiu was erected in 1899 according to the design of a Hungarian architect Ferenc Szalay. Although the synagogue is well preserved, is was not used for worship in the last 40 years. The small Jewish community today uses for prayer a room in the community building behind the synagogue. The Great Synagogue is a large building with an impressive western façade facing one of the main streets of Sibiu. The façade features Neo-Romanesque decorations and is surmounted by the Tablets of the Law. The magnificent prayer hall expresses the taste of the Orthodox current among Hungarian Jews: the "bimah" is situated in the center of the hall and the women's gallery has a "mehitzah"/arches with curtains, which prevent men from seeing women. Four wooden columns are placed at the corners of the "bimah", a feature popular in Hungarian synagogues. The eastern wall of the hall is richly decorated with murals.

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Sibiu Fortified Church

Today’s appearance of the impressive parish church in the medieval city is the result of several alterations of the original Romanesque church, which was built near the first city wall. After its demolition in the 14th century the dimensions of the following Gothic church accounted for the growing population and the significance of the city. Chancel, transept, and the lower part of the tower were completed in 1371, whereas the nave was finished only in 1445 after an interruption of the works. In 1448 the nave was enlarged to the west, thus surrounding the tower. At the end of the 15th century the nave was changed to a hall church at the south side. The newly built gallery was covered with a lierne vault. In 1494 the tower, measuring 73 m, including its distinctive spire was completed. Finally the northern part of the transept was extended by one bay and on the south side the entrance hall and the spiral staircase for the tower were added. The noticeable roofing made of colored glazed tiles dates back to the 16th century.
The interior is dominated by the towering piers and the Gothic rib vault in the nave and the light-flooded chancel. Around 1900 during a general renovation the plaster of the interior walls was taken down completely leaving of the original decoration only a wall-painting showing the crucifixion on the northern wall of the chancel. There is a collection of renaissance epitaphs of distinguished Sibiu citizens.

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Guşteriţa Fortified Church

The church’s architecture displays numerous characteristics of the Romanesque basilicas in the Sibiu area: a compact central nave, Gothic ribbed cross vaults at the side aisles, arcades with round arches resting on square pillars and arched windows at the clerestory, all dating back to the 13th century, same as the apsidal of the southern side aisle. The chancel was modified during the 15th century, when the pointed windows, the rib vault and a defence level were added. The defence wall was built in the same time and still features a small chapel on the eastern side. The penetrated barrel vault on transverse arches in the central nave was built in the 18th century. The interior preserves the 18th/19th century pew and the paintings, which were restored in 1988.

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Turnişor Fortified Church

The Romanesque basilica in Turnişor originates in the late 12th century and impresses due to its massive tower built above the square of the chancel, whose walls on the corner pillars are up to 3m thick. The tower is probably older than the church, which was enlarged to the west to receive its actual Latin cross shape. Because of the troubled times in the Middle Ages the assembly was initially surrounded with a fortification wall that survived only as ruin.
In 1781 a wooden clock was installed on the tower only to be replaced in 1862 with an ironed one. The Baroque interior furniture of the church comprises the 1759 altar and the 1782 pulpit. The small bell and middle one were made in a workshop in Sibiu in 1922.