Photos: Samuel D. Gruber 2003
by Samuel D. Gruber
ISJM) The Jewish Community of Bulgaria has announced the planned celebration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Central Sofia Synagogue, to take place on September 9, 2009. The Synagogue opened on September 9, 1909 in the presence of regional leaders, ministers and supreme representatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The large domed synagogue, located at
Prayer services have been held at the synagogue regularly since its opening, except for the years 1943-44 when most of the Jews of Sophia were removed to the countryside. The synagogue was not, however, severely damaged by the Nazis or local Fascists during the war. Instead, most wartime damage was the result of Allied bombing in 1944, when the gallery and several columns in the sanctuary were partially destroyed. After the War, most Bulgarian Jews emigrated to
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The building combines various historical styles, particularly Byzantine and Moorish, in an expressive eclecticism characteristic of the early 20th century. Compare the building to the near contemporary large central-plan, domed syangogues of
The interior is decorated with multicolored mosaics,