The Synagogue, Tîrgu Mureş

The Synagogue of Tîrgu-Mureş, also known as the “Large Temple", was built between 1899 and 1900 at the initiative of the Jewish community "Status Quo" and is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings of its kind in Romania. The marble plaque in the hall of the temple bears the names of all those who contributed materially or spiritually to its construction. Among these is the name of the then- president of the community Burger Adalbert, of its vice-president Farkas Mendel, of Rabbi Dr. Wilhelm Joachim and of the main donors.

The design of the synagogue was drawn up by Jewish architect Gartner Jacob of Vienna and the construction works were coordinated by Sóos Pál. The architectural conception is defined by monumentality and a harmonious eclecticism. Various Western European styles were combined with Muslim ones in order to create a visual effect of richness. The main facade consists of a central part and two lateral towers crowned by bulb-shaped vaults of oriental inspiration. The main entrance is sheltered by a portico with three semi-circular arches supported by columns. Above it lies the large, floral rosette. An inscription in Hebrew can be seen on the gable of the façade, which follows the curved contour of the rosette and the gable. The text is a quote from the Old Testament (Isaiah 56/7) and it means: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples”. Elements such as svelte columns with caps decorated with floral motifs in relief, which support semi-circular arch openings are placed next to laced profiles and tri-lobed ornaments. Each tower has an access door to the stairs that lead to the balcony inside the temple, as well as a smaller rosette. The entire edifice is dominated by the central cupola. Each side of the central spire is decorated with a floral rosette similar to the ones on the facade. This type of window is also used several times on the lateral facades.

The vast interior is richly decorated, both with shapes and color. The temple has 314 seats on the ground floor (for men) and 238 on the top floor (for women). The space consists of an access corridor separated from the central nave by doors decorated with colorful stained glass windows. The central nave is delimited from the two lateral naves, above which there are balconies, by columns placed on high socles. The central vault is painted with star motifs in vivid colors and is decorated with shell-shaped motifs or fret-sawed panels with the Star of David in their center. Underneath the vault there is the bima – a square space surrounded by a railing – where fragments of the Tora are read.

An essential element of the Synagogue is the shrine where the rolls of Tora are kept, at the end of the central nave. Attached to the railing of the shrine is the monument dedicated to the Jews of Tîrgu Mureş who died in the Holocaust. In 1944 Jews were deported from Tîrgu Mureş, as well, as it was part of the Hungarian state. According to statistics, 5943 Jews of Tîrgu Mureş died in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. The plaque in the Large Temple bears the following Hebrew inscription in their memory: “The number of martyrs from our town is 5943. The stones in the walls themselves and the entire Jewish people mourn the extermination of our parents and our loved ones who were asphyxiated and burnt in Auschwitz in the year 5704 (1944)”.

Via. Photos from here, here.