Mikulov

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Sample imageOf the many Mikulov synagogues just the so called Upper Synagogue has survived. Its existence may be assumed since 15th century. The present building of the synagogue dates from mid 16th century (1550). For the reason of the necessary orientation in relation to the cardinal points the synagogue was built into the street as a lozenge. After the fire of 1561 the synagogue, sometimes called “Old”, “Big” or “Dome”, was reconstructed. The major changes included the extension in the form of the single-pillar loggia at the corner of the main street. Further reconstructions were implemented in the period 1688-1689, when for capacity reasons a single-storey triangular female chapel with a separate entrance had to be added on the southern side. The synagogue was greatly damaged by the large fire capturing the whole town in 1719. The reconstructions after that fire lasted until 1723 and were based on the Baroque style. The preserved peripheral walls supported four domes connected with the central four-post pillar. The interior was completely newly designed. The reconstruction was probably designed by the architect designing the concurrent chateau reconstructions, Johann Christian Oedtl. The interior of the synagogue was richly decorated with paintings and Baroque stuccos in the context of this reconstruction.

The last reconstruction was implemented after the fire in 1819, when the destroyed windows were replaced with new ones. Minor adaptations were also carried out in the years 1840 and 1892. South of the synagogue the so called Common Yard was built, since 1837 separated with a brick wall. The synagogue was used for its original purpose until the occupation of the border region in October 1938. In 1960 the State became the owner of the synagogue but the building continued to dilapidate. In 1970s the new owner, the Regional Museum in Mikulov, started a demanding and long-term reconstruction. Since early 1990 the synagogue has been used by the Museum for occasional concerts and exhibitions. The synagogue has recently undergone complete renovation and is now home to an exhibition entitled Rabbi Löw and Jewish Education in Moravia.