Dušní 141/12: The Spanish Synagogue

Spanish Synagogue, Prague, roof

Erected on the site of the mediaeval ‘Old School’ synagogue, the present structure was built between the years 1867 and 1868 by the master builder Guido Bělský to a plan by Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann, and decorated in the Mozarabic style using motifs from the Alhambra Palace. The extraordinary Moorish interior is the work of Josef Niklas, and was decorated in the 1880s according to designs by the architects Antonín Baum and Bedřich Münzberger.

At one time known simply as the Israelite Temple, today it is referred to as ‘The Spanish Synagogue’, apparently after the community of Sephardic Jews who found refuge in the Old School after being expelled from Spain in 1492. However, this once widely-accepted theory is contended: for a detailed analysis of the building’s name and history, see this article.

Spanish Synagogue, Prague

Spanish Synagogue, Prague, detail