Dubrovnik Synagogue is the oldest Sephardi Synagogue in the world and the second oldest Synagogue in Europe which is still in use today. Coming to the Dubrovnik City lot of visitors don’t know that these stone white walls still keep secrets about small Jewish community. Dubrovnik Senate 1407 allowed Jews to settle in Dubrovnik. After 1492 and 1496 Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal. Shepard Jews and Marranos came to Dubrovnik on Ragusan ships as the Republic’s ships visited Spain frequently or they stop on their way to the Ottoman Empire.
Dubrovnik Synagogue was officially established 1546. Inner decoration in Baroque style was completed in 1652 and has been preserved to the present day. The community’s offices are on the second floor. Partition separating the women’s gallery was added in the 18th century. Same time Dubrovnik Synagogue size was increased and main problem with seating places was solved. From that time it was enough place to make weddings ceremony inside. In the middle of the oblong central hall there is a wall with three arches, which divides in two the wooden fenced Bimah. The Holy Ark holds Torah scrolls which had been brought by the exiles from Spain. On the steps leading to the Ark is a Moorish carpet of the 13th century. The carpet is said to have been a gift given to a Jewish doctor by Queen Isabella of Spain. Ceiling is decorated with stucco relieves, painted sky blue with golden stars. Chandeliers of the 19th century, in the Florentine style, hang from the ceiling.
Jewish Dubrovnik Today
Stories and legends about history of this community are still living nowadays thanks to Jewish Dubrovnik Guides. If you have interest in Jewish Dubrovnik and history of this beautiful place, culture and sights check in following tours: