Kecskemét

-The Neologue synagogue of Kecskemét, whose turret leaned by the 1911 earthquake had become a tourist attraction and a symbol of the town until it was renovated
-A temple is an exhibition center today
-The building of the Orthodox synagogue houses the Museum of Photography today
Details here.

 

The synagogue of Kecskemét near the main square

The synagogue of Kecskemét near the main square

 

The Jewish community of Kecskemét was formed relatively early, in the first year of the nineteenth century. The institutions required to have a functioning Jewish community, like a ritual bath, Kosher butcher shop, the school and the rabbi’s house were all up and running by 1820. Before long the rapidly growing community needed a synagogue bigger than the small prayer room in a residential building they had used since 1814. The great synagogue was built on a plot adjacent to the town’s main square in 1871. The representative onion-domed synagogue designed by architect János Zitterbarth is a remarkable piece of Hungarian romantic-style architecture. The dome suffered damages when a severe earthquake shook the town in 1911. The postcard photograph of the building damaged in the earthquake became a symbol of the city. The dome was restored in 1913 following the design of architect Lipót Baumhorn. A group of the members separated from the Neologue community and formed an Orthodox one in 1917. A year later the Orthodox already inaugurated their own synagogue, in the building of a former restaurant the community transformed and reconstructed. Only a fraction of the Kecskemét community, once of 1,200 members survived the war. Although the community re-established itself after the war, the number of remaining members was so low by the 1950s that the community was no longer able to sustain the synagogue and the building had to be sold eventually. The building went through substantial renovation and the interior was completely transformed. The exterior however was restored to its original state and still stands as a national monument and as a reminder of the Jewish community that once lived in the town. Today, the building serves as the House of Science and Technology, while the Orthodox synagogue functions as the Museum of Photography.