Tempel Synagogue (Kraków)

The Tempel Synagogue (Polish: Synagoga Tempel) is a synagogue in Kraków, Poland, in the Kazimierz district.

Tempel Synagogue
Synagoga Tempel
2015 Kraków, Synagoga Tempel 03.jpg
Synagogue in 2015
StatusActive synagogue
LocationKraków, Poland
Architect(s)Ignacy Hercok
StyleMoorish Revival

Tempel Synagogue is not only a major place of worship, but also a booming center of Jewish culture, which hosts numerous concerts and meetings, especially during the Festival.


The Moorish Revival building was designed by Ignacy Hercok, and built in 1860–1862 along Miodowa Street. The temple, with its tall central section flanked by lower wings, is designed on the pattern of the Leopoldstädter Tempel, in Vienna, Austria. At the time the synagogue was built, Kraków was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The richly finished interior is adorned with dense patterns painted in many colors and copious amounts of gold leaf, but the patterns, with the exception of the exquisite Moorish design on the ceiling, are not stylistically Moorish. The arch over the Aron Kodesh with its pattern of alternating tall and short houses is more in the style of Polish folk art than anything Islamic. The Aron Kodesh is covered by a gold-leaf dome that evokes the dome over the Sigismund Chapel in the nearby Wawel Cathedral.

The synagogue was ruined during World War II by the German Nazis, who used the building as ammunition storage area. After the war, it was used again for prayers. In 1947, a mikvah was built in the northern part of the synagogue. Regular prayers were held until 1985. A large inflow of financial contributions from private donors around the world allowed the synagogue to undergo a vast renovation from 1995 until 2000. It is still active today, although formal prayers are held only a few times a year.


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50°3′10.5″N 19°56′40″E / 50.052917°N 19.94444°E / 50.052917; 19.94444