Maribor Synagogue

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Maribor Synagogue
Synagogue in Maribor Slovenia.JPG
Basic information
Location Maribor, Slovenia
Geographic coordinates 46°33′24.34″N 15°38′51.92″E / 46.5567611°N 15.6477556°E / 46.5567611; 15.6477556
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism
Status Museum
Architectural description
Architectural type Synagogue
Completed 14th century

Maribor Synagogue (Slovene: Sinagoga Maribor) is a former synagogue and current museum in the city of Maribor, Slovenia. Located in what was the center of the medieval Maribor ghetto Židovska ulica ("Jewish Street"), it is one of the oldest preserved synagogues in Europe, and one of only two left in Slovenia; the other being the Lendava Synagogue (Slovene: Sinagoga Lendava). It once functioned as the centre of the medieval Jewish community in Maribor, among the most prominent in the Eastern Alps-area.

History[edit]

First mentioned in 1429, the synagogue is thought to have been built sometime in the 14th century. Located next to the city walls, it was part of a complex that included a Jewish cemetery, rabbinical residence, and Talmudic school. A fortified tower nearby - part of the walls themselves - was known as the Židovski stolp ("Jewish Tower"), while a building housing ritual baths stood outside the walls on the Drava riverbank.[1]

At points throughout its history, the synagogue served as a temporary seat of the Supreme Rabbinate of Styria. In 1497, the Jews of Maribor were expelled, scattering all over Europe, especially Italy. After the expulsion, the synagogue was in 1501 turned into a Catholic church, the Church of All Saints (Slovene: Cerkev Vseh Svetnikov). The former rabbi's residence to the west of the main building became a curate office, while another, smaller building on the eastern side housed the sexton.

Exhibit case, interior of synagogue

In 1785, during the anticlerical reforms of Joseph II, the church was confiscated, deconsecrated, and converted into a military warehouse. It served in this capacity until 1811, when it was sold to private owners for use as an apartment house, which it remained until the 1980s, when the municipality of Maribor renovated it for use as an art gallery. In 2001 the building was converted into a museum and cultural-exhibition venue, administered by the Regional Museum of Maribor. It houses a display on the history of the Jewish community of Maribor.

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Coordinates: 46°33′24.34″N 15°38′51.92″E / 46.5567611°N 15.6477556°E / 46.5567611; 15.6477556