Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Sunday 3rd July 2022

Architectural Form

classicalGlossary Term [1] style. This has been much imitated in later synagogue design. The Temple was built of the lightGlossary Term [2] gold limestone, "Jerusalem stone" found in the surrounding Judean hills, hewn in huge blocks with ridged edges, so-called Herodian stones, and was liberally decoratedGlossary Term [3] with gold and marble.

spireGlossary Term [4] of the church or the minaret of the mosque be the tallest structure around. Sometimes the Jews lowered the floor of the synagogue internally in orderGlossary Term [5] to ensure that their prayers did indeed rise "from out of the depths." (Psalm 130). The most famous example is Prague's GothicGlossary Term [6] Altneuschul.

Religious and political persecution and economic deprivation historically kept synagogues discreet and often modest in scale and off the public street, until the era of Jewish emancipation in Europe in the 19th century. Consequently, effort was concentrated on the interior decoration, in accordance with the rabbinic injunction of Hiddur Mitzvot or the "beautification of the commandments".

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009