The Great Synagogue & St. Stephen's Basilica

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Diane P on July 18, 2001

Located about 6 blocks from each other, St. Stephen's Basilica (V. Szent Istvan)& the Great Synagogue (Dohany utca Synagogue)can easily be seen on the same day.

The Great Synagogue contains a Jewish museum with recent and historical pieces(driedels, schuls, prayer books). The pieces are clearly marked and the ceremony with which they are related is explained. There is a section in the back dedicated to the Holocaust and its effect on the Hungarians. There are wall size photos of the ghettos, Jewish stars and striped pajamas. The section is simple yet very moving. The Synagogue itself is located next to the museum. It is the world's second largest synagogue and was built in 1859. It is striking to see plopped down among the grey shops and office buildings along Dohany Ut. The interior is beautifully decorated in gold. Be aware that there is a metal detector and a guard to search bags before entering the Synagogue grounds.

St. Stephen's Basilica on Bajcsy Zsilinszky is also decorated in gold. A large dome rises in the center of the Cathedral. The caretakers have done a wonderful job of restoring the gold and murals that adorn the church walls and dome (you can compare the completed sections with smaller altars that have not been done; they are blackened and chipping). The relic of St. Stephen's right hand can also be found in the Basilica inside a small altar that is carried through the town in a proceession on August 20 (the anniversary of St. Stephen's canonization).

Though very crowded with tourists on the day we visited, the Basilica is large enough to maneuver around the large groups. Also be aware of small children begging for money outside the Basilica.

Great Synagogue
Dohany utca, 2-8
Budapest, Hungary, 1074
+36 1 342 1335

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