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Bożnica - Zabytek.pl

Zamość, Pereca 14

woj. lubelskie, pow. m. Zamość, gm. Zamość-gmina miejska

One of the few surviving synagogues in the Lublin region.The building is an extremely valuable example of a Late Renaissance synagogue from the early 17th century, featuring the remains of the original decorative parapet wall as well as an interior adorned with lavish, polychromed plasterwork decorations.


The synagogue was erected in the first half of the 17th century (ca. 1610-1618 or 1620); initially designed as a single, open prayer hall, it was then extended at some point during the 1630s through the addition of two lower annexes to the north and the south, designed as prayer rooms for women (women's halls). In the mid-18th century, the façades of the synagogue underwent a redesign, with the introduction of pilasters and a lavishly profiled cornice and the removal of the decorative parapet walls; a vestibule connecting the synagogue with the neighbouring Jewish community council (kahal) building was added on the western side of the temple. The synagogue underwent numerous renovation works in the 19th century and in the early 20th century. During the war, the synagogue suffered extensive damage, with the Nazis destroying the southern women's hall and vandalising the interiors, which were used as a stable and carpentry workshop throughout the war. Following a comprehensive restoration in years 1946-50 which included, among others, the reconstruction of the southern women's hall, the synagogue became a library (from 1959 onwards). In 1967, the parapet wall (attic) was reconstructed. In 2005, the library was moved to a new buildings, with the synagogue being given back to the Jewish community council. The most recent, comprehensive restoration took place in years 2009-11. Today, the building serves as the “Synagogue” Centre with a Multimedia Museum of the Jews of Zamość Region as well as an information centre for the so-called Hasidic Trial.

The kahal house, initially designed as a single-storey structure, was built in the first half of the 17th century; it was subsequently extended in the mid-18th century through the addition, among other things, of a vestibule connecting it to the nearby synagogue as well as through the construction of a second storey; until 1939, the kahal house served as a cheder (a type of Jewish school); further alteration works were performed in the 19th century. After World War II, the edifice served as a residential building; from 1953 it was used as a hostel maintained by the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society (PTTK); today, the building stands abandoned, awaiting restoration.


The former synagogue, with its vestibule and two women's halls, as well as the neighbouring house of the Jewish community council (kahal) are located in the northern part of the Old Town.

The synagogue is located at the intersection of the Zamenhofa and Bazyliańska streets, connected towards the west to the former kahal house via a small vestibule; the front façade of the synagogue faces the south, towards Perec square. The synagogue itself was designed on a rectangular floor plan, with a square prayer hall in the centre flanked by two rectangular annexes (women's halls) to the north and the south. The synagogue is a brick building, its outer and inner walls covered with plaster. It is a single-storey building, with the central section being slightly taller than the women’s galleries. The prayer hall features a spherical domed ceiling with paired lunettes in the corners, with a double barrel vault used for the women’s galleries. The central part of the synagogue features a butterfly roof, with the women’s galleries being covered with shed roofs; all roofs are clad with sheet metal and obscured by the decorative parapet wall. The southern, eastern and northern façades follow a two-axial design; they are adorned with pilasters and topped by a parapet wall (attic). The western façade is partially obscured by the vestibule which was added at a later date in the synagogue’s lifespan. The façade decoration centres around the use of blind arcades and Tuscan pilasters, supporting an entablature and a cornice which runs beneath the eaves. The windows, topped with semicircular arches, are adorned with arcade-shaped surrounds. The entablature frieze is adorned by a painted foliate scrollwork motif. A distinctive feature of the building is the tall attic with a polychromed plinth, adorned with a geometric pattern, with the entire structure being crowned with a series of stylised pinnacles. The annexes housing the women’s galleries follow a four-axial layout and are partitioned with pilasters and a cornice, topped with a roof parapet. The entrance, leading from the west through the vestibule into the prayer hall itself, is adorned with a semi-circular portal in the Renaissance style, decorated with an interlacing pattern. The walls of the prayer hall are adorned with lavish plasterwork mouldings arranged in a geometric pattern, interspersed with rosettes and astragals which appear in the cornices, panel frames and capitals of the pilasters found in the corners and on the axes of the walls, supporting the vault with paired lunettes above, its surface covered with an intricate, decorative plasterwork grid. In the centre of the vault there is a stylised rosette from which all plasterwork mouldings seem to radiate; symbols of crowned hearts and vases with flowers adorn the spaces between the strips of plasterwork. On the eastern wall there is a stone Torah Ark - a type of cabinet designed for keeping the liturgical books of Judaism - the Torah scrolls. Lavish plasterwork decorations have also survived intact inside the northern women’s gallery.

The former kahal house is situated in the immediate vicinity of the synagogue to the west and is connected with the synagogue with a small vestibule; the front of the kahal house faces the north, towards Zamenhofa street. It is a two-storey brick building with a habitable attic and a basement, covered with a gable roof. The building was designed on a rectangular floor plan, with a narrow vestibule leading all the way across the ground floor; the distinguishing features of the building are the south-eastern corner which takes the form of an avant-corps as well as the rectangular porch towards the east. The ground floor rooms feature barrel vaults, barrel vaults with lunettes or groin vaults; the rooms in the western part of the ground floor, on the other hand, feature flat ceilings, as do all first-floor rooms. The building features an irregular interior layout, with individual sections of the structure following either a two- or three-bay layout. A total of three entrances lead into the building from Zamenhofa street, with the main entrance being located in the southern wall; this entrance also makes it possible to access the synagogue via the interconnecting vestibule. The front façade follows an eight-axial layout, with a clear division into the eastern and western part. The eastern part of the façade follows a symmetrical, four-axial layout. The decorative elements of the building include the lesenes with capitals formed out of the pronounced, lavishly profiled string course; part of the western (front) façade is austere in design, featuring no lesenes whatsoever.

Limited access to the historic building.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 10-12-2014.


  • Czterysta lat Zamościa, J. Kowalczyk (ed.), Wrocław-Łódź 1983
  • Herbst S., Zamość, Warsaw 1954
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, compiled by J.Z. Łoziński, J.A. Miłobędzki, B. Wolff, typescript - Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw 1953
  • Record sheet, Synagogue, compiled by A. Sikora-Terlecka, B. Stanek-Lebioda 1997, Archive of the Regional Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments in Lublin, Zamość branch; Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw.
  • Kędziora A., Dawna architektura i budownictwo Zamościa, Zamość 1990
  • Kędziora A., Encyklopedia miasta Zamościa, Chełm 2000.
  • Zarębska T., Zamość - miasto idealne i jego realizacja, /in:/ Zamość miasto idealne, J. Kowalczyk (ed.), Lublin 1980

Category: synagogue

Architecture: renesansowy

Building material:  ceglane

Protection: Register of monuments

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_06_BK.59050