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Great Synagogue

Europe's largest - and the second largest in the world - this imposing Moorish Revival synagogue dates from 1859.

TravelCurious Tip

The Great Synagogue is full of symbolism. A guided tour is the best way to understand it, as much may go over your head!

Budapest’s Great Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe, capable of seating 3,000 people, and is the heart of Hungary’s once much more populous Jewish community. It is also the centre of Neolog Judaism, a conservative part of the Jewish faith.


It was built in five years from 1854 in the Moorish Revival style, but also features Byzantine, Romantic and Gothic elements, reflecting the great range of the Jewish diaspora. Inside, there is a beautiful rose window standing over the main entrance and an extraordinary organ which dates back to 1902. It is also contains the Hungarian Jewish Museum which includes 3rd century Jewish headstones from Roman Pannonia, along side a wealth of ritualistic silver.


Battered, but not broken

The Great Synagogue has been in the wars: it was bombed by pro-Nazi Hungarians in 1939, used as a radio base and stable by the Germans during World War II, suffered huge damage during the Siege of Budapest, and only started to be used again as a place of worship during the Communist era by the then greatly diminished Jewish community. Its restoration was only completed in 1998.


Never forget

The Great Synagogue was part of the Jewish Ghetto during World War II. On the synagogue’s north side there is a Holocaust memorial which looks over the mass graves of those murdered by the Nazis. Over 2,000 of the Jews confined to the Ghetto died of starvation and cold during the winter or 1944-45 and are buried here — which was atypical, as cemeteries are not usually found near synagogues. There is also a metal ‘tree of life’, designed by Imre Varga in 1991, on whose leaves you will find the names of some of the many thousands of victims. It is a beautiful tribute.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Budapest
Weeping Willow
Designed by Imre Varga, and adjoining the The Central Synagogue, this magnificent Holocaust memorial has the names of the dead or the missing on 30,000 inscribed leaves.
Dohany Street Synagogue
Also known as the Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue, it's a historical building in Budapest and the largest synagogue in Europe.
Rumbach Street Synagogue
The Rumbach Street synagogue is located in Belváros, the inner city of the historical old town of Pest
Kazinczy Street Synagogue
Kazinczy Street Synagogue is an Art Nouveau orthodox synagogue built between 1912 and 1913 Budapest VII.
Karl Lutz Memorial
Dramatic sculpture depicting Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz, who saved many Jews during the Holocaust.
Street Food Karvan
Delicious and traditional Hungarian meals and beverages

Related Tours

Visit Pest: Urban Half Day Highlights with Private Guide
In this four hour walking tour, your expert local guide will direct you to some of the most important historical and cultural sites of the Pest.

  • Explore the importance of the Danube to Pest in ancient times.
  • Visit the Great Synagogue, Europe’s biggest place of worship for the Jewish faith. 
  • Stroll the leafy Andrássy út boulevard, passing by the National Opera House. 
  • Find out what drove Buda and Pest to unify as one large capital city.
  • Discover Pest’s stunning array of architectural styles, from Turkish era to Art Nouveau.
  • Snap pictures of St Stephen's Basilica, a neoclassical cathedral.
  • Enjoy the buzz of Pest, a vibrant cultural hub on the eastern banks of the Danube.
  • Discover the significance of the monument at the heart of  Heroes' Square.
  • End your tour at  Széchenyi Spa, a colour-rich bathing complex in Art Nouveau style.
Your tour will begin at the formidable Hungarian Parliament Building, which boasts a truly eclectic mix of architectural styles. Straddling the Danube, this stunning building is home to the Crown of St Stephen, a historically significant treasure of the Hungarian nation, bequeathed by Pope Sylvester II on Christmas Day in the year 1000. Another highlight is St Stephen’s Basilica, a neoclassical cathedral named after the first king of Hungary that is supposedly where his right hand is entombed. 

Budapest’s Great Synagogue - a statuesque landmark that ranks amongst the world’s largest places of worship for the Jewish faith - was consecrated in the city in 1859. A stroll down Andrássy út Boulevard will take you past the National Opera House built in glorious neo-Renaissance style. 

Towards the end of the boulevard, the Heroes’ Square is one of Budapest’s favourite public spaces: a popular gathering point with a monument dedicated to the Magyar (Hungarian) conquest at its heart. Your final destination on the half day tour of Pest is the largest spa in Europe, the mosaic-rich Széchenyi Spa, an immense bathing complex built in elaborate Art Nouveau style, where you have the option of purchasing tickets to explore the bubbling hot springs and steaming pools of curative waters, enjoyed throughout the centuries by around 100-million bathers.  
Full-Day Private Tour of Budapest, with tickets included
On this seven-hour tour, your expert local guide will direct you to some of the most important historical and cultural sites of Budapest. On your private tour, you will:

  • Commence your tour on Castle Hill, which offers phenomenal panoramas of the city 
  • Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church with tickets included
  • Revel in the quietude of Buda and its characterful, storied streets.
  • Enjoy the buzz of Pest, a vibrant cultural hub on the eastern banks of the Danube
  • Discover the significance of the monument at the heart of Heroes' Square 
  • Find out what drove Buda and Pest to unify as one large capital city
  • Discover Budapest’s stunning array of architectural styles, from the Turkish era to Art Nouveau
  • Admire the scale and finery of the Hungarian Parliament Building 
  • Visit two of Europe’s most important synagogues at Dohány Street Synagogue and Rumbach Street Synagogue
  • Admire the elegance of St Stephen's Basilica, a neoclassical cathedral (tickets included)
  • End your tour at  Széchenyi Spa, a colour-rich bathing complex in Art Nouveau style (tickets not included – please pre-book for the spa, if you wish). 
Budapest is blessed with some truly superb, grand buildings in Gothic, Art Nouveau, Romantic, Neo-Gothic and Turkish era style: a pleasing mix of genres that draws millions of culture buffs to the city each year.  The capital of Hungary is the administrative, cultural, economic, educational, financial and trade hub of the nation. The mighty Danube River, broad and sweeping, neatly dissects the city, with the old city of Buda extending into the hills on the west bank and Pest sitting in the lowlands to the east. As Hungary’s largest metropolitan hub, Budapest boasts more diversity in its ethnicity still, combined with the historical legacies of Asiatic conquer, Mongol invasion, Ottoman siege, German control and Soviet rule. 

Immerse yourself in the unique character of Budapest with its beautiful buildings, fairytale towers, storied streets, Hungarian culture, quirky communist-era sites and gritty spirit. Stroll some of the streets to access treasures best viewed on foot and journey via luxury transport to the city’s far-flung corners. Your expert local guide will provide a narrative to your exploration of Budapest’s most compelling historical and cultural sites. Visit Castle Hill, an elevated focal point of Budapest’s history that is home to some of the city’s most iconic medieval monuments such as the fairytale towers at the Fisherman’s Bastion and handsome Matthias Church with its royal connections. 

The St Stephen’s Basilica, an elegant neoclassical cathedral named after the first king of Hungary, is the most sacred of all Catholic churches in the country and took 54 years to construct, finally opening in 1905. Similarly impressive is the Great Synagogue, one of the largest places of worship of the Jewish faith in the world. Your tour ends at Széchenyi Spa, an Art Nouveau bathing complex of grand decor filled with hot bubbling pools, outside baths and whirlpools. The largest spa bath in Europe, the Széchenyi Spa boasts iconic status in Hungary and is used by people of all ages, including families, for bathing rituals in its spring-fed curative bathhouse. You are free to enjoy the spa at your leisure at the end of the tour (price not included). 

Please note: if you wish to visit the spa, you must provide proof of vaccination. 
Private Walking Highlights of the Jewish District in Budapest
Delve into Hungary's Jewish history in Budapest's Seventh District. On your private walking tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of a Private licensed guide 
  • Visit the Great Synagogue, Europe’s biggest place of worship for the Jewish faith 
  • Enjoy the buzz of Pest, a vibrant cultural hub on the eastern banks of the Danube
  • Visit three synagogues built-in styles from the Moorish to Art Noveau. 
  • See moving memorials and hidden treasures in the Jewish quarter. 
  • See historic Kazinczy, Rumbach, and Dohány Street Synagogues
  • Visit Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Garden with the touching Emmanuel tree.
  • See the dramatic memorial to Carl Lutz who saved many Jews during the Holocaust.
  • See the last remaining part of the WWII ghetto wall. 

Though small in size, the 7th District currently has Budapest’s highest population density, leading the streets a buzzing ambience, day or night. Plenty of historical remains, a cemetery, a memorial garden and a museum provide a poignant narrative on the Holocaust and the former Budapest Ghetto. 

As Central Europe’s largest Jewish community, Budapest is home to around 90,000 Jews, of which ten thousand are believed to be Holocaust survivors. Since the fall of communism, the city has seen a revival of Jewish religious life in the city. Shops and businesses reopened and around 20 synagogues are now found throughout the city, representing a variety of movements including Orthodox, Chabad Lubavitch, Neolog and Liberal. Budapest also boasts many Jewish schools, cultural centres, monuments, historical sites, kosher restaurants, ritual baths, kosher butcheries, bakeries, and even a matza factory. Several museums are dedicated to Jewish interest. 

On this fascinating tour of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, you will discover the Jewish Heritage of the 7th District with a knowledgeable local guide. Hear centuries-old tales of Jewish history and gain first-hand insight into Jewish culture past and present. Discover Dohany Synagogue, the largest in Europe - with a capacity for over 3,000 people, visit a memorial to heroic Jewish soldiers who fought in WWI. Your tour of Budapest’s Jewish Culture will take you to the “Weeping Willow” memorial, inscribed with the names of over 400,000 Jews killed in the Holocaust. You will also see a bronze statue of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat credited with saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives in Budapest. 

Learn about the lives of the Jewish community under Soviet rule when Budapest became the only Soviet satellite country where an operational Rabbinical Seminary continued to exist. Learn about the beautiful Rumbach Synagogue, the Orthodox community within the Jewish Quarter and the story of Carl Lutz Memorial. 
 
Please note the following as well, relating to your visit to the Dohany Synagogue:
Your tickets are for a specific time slot at 10 AM. Tickets cannot be exchanged nor refunded for a different time slot. 
  • Please dress appropriately. Men must wear a kippah (available on-site).
  • You will undergo a security check upon entry.
  • No large backpacks are permitted.
  • Opening hours may be changed last minute due to services and events.

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