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The Kupa Synagogue: ul. Miodowa 27
The Kupa Synagogue was founded in the 17th century thanks to donations from the local community. It was known as the Poor People's Synagogue, as poorer members of the community worshipped there, and also as the Hospital Synagogue, due to its proximity to a Jewish hospital that used to be located on the corner of Plac Nowy and ul. Warszauera.
In common with the Tempel Synagogue, the Kupa captivates the heart of every visitor with its extraordinary artwork and paintings. The ceiling of the synagogue delights the eye, its intricate designs and paintings giving visitors reason to linger longer than they expected. There are images of musical instruments as well as paintings of Jerusalem and the Great Flood (Northern side), Jaffa and the Wailing Wall (Eastern Side), Tiberius and the Mamre Oak (Southern Side) and the towns of Hebron and Haifa (Western side).
Just as striking, is the synagogue's Western wall which carries three paintings, perhaps the most notable is that of Noah. Most synagogues don't contain any depictions of mankind.
The women's gallery extends around three sides of the synagogue, its carved wooden arcades adding to the synagogues eloquent charm. The balconies of the women's galleries also have signs of the Zodiac and their Hebrew names painted on them.
During the Nazi occupation the synagogue was severely damaged and its furnishings destroyed. Although some prayer services took place after the war these soon stopped. Even though the synagogue was used for other purposes (the longest period of time being by a company which produced shoes), it suffered from years of serious neglect.
A thorough restoration took place in 2000-2001 which not only restored the paintings of the synagogue but also uncovered some of the synagogues older features such as murals on the walls.
The synagogue is used for exhibitions and concerts, as well as being open to the general public (closed Saturdays). Entrance to the synagogue is from ul Miodowa, but it's worthwhile walking to the junction of ul. Kupa and ul. Warszauera to see where the synagogue joins Kazimierz's old defensive wall.
Elegant and beautifully restored, the synagogue shouldn't be missed by anyone taking a walk through Kazimierz.