The synagogue’s opening times are rather erratic, but it is frequently closed on weekends.
When the Catholic Alhambra Decree expelled all Jews from Spain in 1492, many of them migrated to the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and to Dubrovnik in particular. Before that time there are only a handful of historical mentions of Jews living in the city, but the end of the 15th century sparked the beginning of an influx of Jewish culture. Though their presence was the source of continued controversy, their foothold was never fully dislodged, and as a result the synagogue here is the second oldest in Europe.
A Rich History
Entering the synagogue today from Žudioska ulica street, just off Stradun, you will pass a wall decorated with, among other things, a list of victims of the devastating 1667 earthquake, and a picture of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The interior style is sombre, having been redecorated in the baroque style in the mid-17th-century. This process saw the inclusion of an exquisite representation of the Ark of the Covenant, within whose intricately inlaid doors reside several scrolls of the Torah which are thought to have been brought from Spain during the Jewish exodus.
Probably the most historically significant artefact in the synagogue is a florally-patterned 13th century Moorish rug, supposedly a gift from Queen Isabella of Spain to her Jewish doctor after he was forced to leave the country.
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