Jewish Heritage of Ukraine

Ukraine has one of the largest numbers of Jewish heritage sites of any European country with around 1,500 listed sites. Its Jewish community has contributed much to Jewish cultural heritage: the first shtetls were located in Ukraine, and Hasidism was born here.

Wikimedia Commons/Alex Levitsky & Dmitry Shamatazhi

Great Synagogue of Odessa

The Great Odessa Synagogue in Kherson is an Ashkenazi synagogue that was built between 1847 and 1850 by the architect Francesco Morandi (1811-1894). The building was closed between 1923 and 1996. From 1996 to 2008, the building was rebuilt, the frame was restored and the mikvah was erected. In 1998, a yeshiva was opened in the synagogue.

Great Synagogue in Odessa
Wikimedia Commons/Mummik

Great Synagogue of Sharhorod

The Great Synagogue of Sharhorod was built in 1589, making it one of the oldest synagogues in Ukraine. It was built as a fortress synagogue with walls 1-2 m thick, in order to resist raids by Turks and Tatars. Between 1674 and 1699, it was occupied by the Turks and used as a mosque. It was closed by the Bolsheviks in the 1930s. The restoration of the synagogue was completed in 2012.

Great Synagogue
Wikimedia Commons/Demmarcos

Great Synagogue of Zhovkva

The Great Synagogue of Zhovka was built in the 1690s and serves as a good example of a late Renaissance fortress style synagogue with baroque additions. The synagogue was designed to protect Jews from invasions and to this day a passageway to the roof and underground shelters exist. It was included in the 2000 World Monuments Watch.

Great Synagogue, Zhovkva
Wikimedia Commons/Romankravchuk

Great Synagogue of Drohobych

The Great Synagogue of Drohobych is an Ashkenazi synagogue that was built between 1844 and 1863, and was most likely inspired by the synagogue of Kassel in Germany (1830). It was restored around 1928 but was used as a stable during the Second World War. In the late 1980s - early 1990s the building was returned to the Jewish community of Drohobych and was restored in 2016. This Rundbogenstil building still serves as a synagogue.

Great Synagogue in Drohobych
Wikimedia Commons/Masha Kovalchuk

Goldene Rose Synagogue in Lviv

The Goldene Rose Synagogue is an Ashkenazi synagogue founded in 1582 according to the plans of the Swiss architect Paolo Romano. Legend has it that thanks to the daughter-in-law of Isaac ben Nachman, the synagogue was returned to the community in 1609 after being briefly expropriated by the Jesuits. The synagogue was named "Golden Rose" in honour of this woman. Over the centuries, the synagogue has acquired different styles such as Survivalist Gothic or Mannerist. The synagogue was destroyed in 1941-43 by the Nazi regime.

Goldene Rose Synagogue in Lviv
Wikimedia Commons/Brody Great Synagogue

Brody Great Synagogue

The Great Synagogue of Brody was built of stone in 1742 on a site where synagogues have been mentioned since the 16th century. In May 1859, the synagogue suffered a great fire which destroyed most of Brody. The synagogue was also severely damaged during the Second World War: the southern and northern outbuildings were lost. The building was renovated in the mid-1960s and was briefly used as a warehouse. In 1991 there was an attempt to restore the building, but this was unsuccessful. The building is no longer in use.

Brody Great Synagogue
Wikimedia Commons/Posterrr

Great Synagogue of Dubno

The Great Synagogue of Dubno was built from 1782 to 1794 on top of an old baroque synagogue from the 16th century. It was damaged during the Second World War and the Holocaust and has remained empty ever since. It is a brick building in the Baroque neoclassical style. It is said that there are underground tunnels between the synagogue and Dubno Castle.

Great Synagogue, Dubno
Wikimedia Commons/Sakateka

Synagogue of Vasylkiv

The Vasylkiv Synagogue is an Ashkenazi synagogue probably dating from 1900. The Jewish community in Vasylkiv developed as a result of the temporary ban on Jews living in Kyiv by Tsar Nicholas I (1825-1855) in 1827. In 1927 the synagogue was closed by the Soviet authorities and the building was adapted for the Vasylkiv-2 railway station, which existed until the 1990s.

Synagogue in Vasylkiv
Wikimedia Commons/Artemka

Synagogue of Lazar Brodsky in Kyiv

The Lazar Brodsky Synagogue in Kyiv is a Russian Revival synagogue dating from 1897-98. The architects of the synagogue are Georgii Shleifer for the initial construction and Andrey Paskevich for the restoration in 2000. The synagogue was decommissioned between 1926 and 1997 by the Soviet authorities. Other synagogues can be seen in Kyiv, such as the Baroque "New Synagogue" (19th century) or the Moorish "Karaite Synagogue" (20th century).

Synagogue of Lazar Brodsky in Kyiv
Wikimedia Commons/Ace^eVg

Choral Synagogue in Kharkiv

The Kharkiv Choral Synagogue is an Ashkenazi synagogue built between 1909 and 1913 on a former prayer house. The competition for the construction of the new synagogue was organised by the Imperial Society of Architects of St Petersburg. The first prize was awarded to a project by the St. Petersburg architect Yakov Gevirets. The synagogue was closed in 1923 by the Soviet authorities and was used for various purposes. The synagogue was restored in 2000. The brick building in the National Romantic style is now used as the synagogue of the Hasidic community.

Choral Synagogue in Kharkiv