Splendid Art Nouveau Synagogue in Serbia Opens to Visitors

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The restored Jewish synagogue in Subotica

The stunning art nouveau synagogue in the quaint town of Subotica in Serbia was recently restored and is now ready to welcome visitors.

Dating back to 1902, the synagogue was amongst the world’s 100 most endangered sites, as listed by the World Monuments Watch in both 1996 and 2000. It was also on Europa Nostra’s 2014 list of Europe’s Seven Most Endangered Heritage Sites.

The art nouveau splendor of the Subotica synagogue

Built by Hungarian architects Dezső Jakab and Marcell Komor, it is one of the most impressive examples of the Secessionist (Hungarian art nouveau) style. Jakab and Komor were associates of Ödön Lechner who was a master of the Hungarian Secession. The distinctive style includes stained-glass windows, colored ceramics, curved gables, and stylised forms of Hungarian folklore motifs.

Its restoration was carried out by a joint team of Serbian and Hungarian experts and took over six years to complete. The synagogue was officially rededicated on March 26 in the presence of leaders of state from both Serbia and Hungary.

The Raichle Palace is another marvelous art nouveau structure

Subotica is the second-largest town in the Vojvodina province of Serbia, just 10 kilometers from the border with Hungary. It was once an important and wealthy hub of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, drawing many influential artists in the region. As a result, the town is full of marvelous art nouveau buildings, such as the City Museum, the City Hall, and the Raichle Palace, now an art gallery, all built between 1900 and 1910.

As the Jewish community in Subotica is small, the restored synagogue will not only be used for religious services, but also as a cultural venue for concerts. It will also be open for tourists to visit.

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