Great Synagogue (Sinagoga Mare)
The plain exterior of the Great Synagogue gives little indication of what lies inside: glinting gold, chandeliers, and elaborate rococo paintings. Travelers can visit the synagogue independently, and take tours of the interior. Alternatively, go as part of a Jewish Quarter walking tour; typical itineraries include visits to the Great Synagogue, Jewish Museum, the Choral Temple (Templul Coral), and other relevant sights.
Things to know before you go
- The Great Synagogue is a must for visitors with an interest in Romania’s Jewish heritage.
- The synagogue is free but donations are expected so bring some cash.
- The synagogue is still an active religious site, so dress respectfully and be mindful of any worshippers you may encounter.
How to get there
The Great Synagogue is situated in Bucharest’s Jewish Quarter, west of Lipscani, Bucharest’s old town. To get there, ride the metro (M1, M2, or M3 lines) to Piața Unirii. The synagogue is surrounded by Communist-era concrete buildings, which can make it difficult to find. If you can’t locate the entrance, ask a local—they will be able to point you in the right direction.
When to get there
The synagogue is open Sunday through Friday. Visit in the morning as the synagogue closes early—sometimes before lunch.
Prior to World War II, Bucharest was home to a sizable Jewish population and a number of synagogues. Many synagogues were either destroyed by far-right extremists in WWII or shut down during Nicolae Ceausescu’s reign. Several notable structures have, however, survived to this day, including the Choral Temple, a Moorish Revival-style building dating back to the mid-19th century, and the Holy Union Temple (Templul Unirea Sfântă), which now hosts the Museum of Jewish History and Culture.
- Bucharest Jewish History Museum
- Choral Temple (Templul Coral)
- Stavropoleos Monastery (Manastirea Stavropoleos)
- Patriarchal Cathedral (Metropolitan Church)
- Bucharest University Palace
- Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse (Macca-Villacrosse Passage)
- National Museum of Romanian History (Muzeul National de Istorie a Romaniei)
- CEC Palace (Palatul CEC)
- Holocaust Memorial
- National Museum of Art of Romania (Muzeul National de Arta al Romaniei)
- Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Roman)
- Carol Park (Parcul Carol)
- Victoriei Street (Calea Victoriei)
- Revolution Square (Piata Revolutiei)