Budapest Great Synagogue

The 2nd Largest, and the Most Beautiful in the World

History, Photos, Kosher Restaurants in the Area

The Great Synagogue of Budapest (also known as the Central Synagogue) in Dohány Street is a good starting point to learn about Jewish Budapest.

Find out about the history and architecture of this wonderful Jewish religious monument.

You can also take one of the three Jewish Heritage tours to visit the Dohany Street synagogue and related sights, incluidng the Jewish Museum.

The Jewish Quarter (district VII.) hides many treasures, so devote enough time to explore it.

Quick Links: Opening Hours 2016.Guided ToursHistory and Architecture of the Great SynagogueNon-Kosher and Kosher Restaurants near the Synagogue

Location & Getting There

the Tree of Life in the synagogue's gardenAddress: Dohány utca 2-8. in district VII., at an angle to Károly körút, between Deák tér and Astoria
Tel: +36 1 317 2754

Public Transport:

  • M2 metro line Astoria station, from there the Dohány utca synagogue is just a short walk
  • bus: No. 7, 7A,
  • tram: No. 47, 49

Opening Hours (Synagogue and Jewish Museum & Archives):

Winter 2016 (02. November till 29. February)

  • Sunday-Thursday: 10.00-16.00
  • Friday: 10.00-14.00
  • Saturday: CLOSED

Summer 2016 (01. March – 31. October)

  • Sunday-Thursday: 10.00-18.00
  • Fridays: 01-31. March: 10.00-15.30, 01. April-31., October: 10.00-16.30
  • Saturday: CLOSED
Note: The Ticket Office closes half an hour before the synagogue’s closing time.

The Great Synagogue-front view
The Synagogue in Budapest Dohany Street

The synagogue is closed on the following days in 2017:

  • May: 30, 31
  • June: 01
  • September: 20, 21, 22
  • October: 05, 06, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 23
  • December 24-25.
  • Every Saturday.

 

Visiting the Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum

TIP: The best way to explore the Central Synagogue and the numerous other Jewish sights of the Hungarian capital is to join a guided tour: you can choose from two tours: a shorter (2,5 hours) and a longer, more detailed one (3,5-4 hours).

There’s also a private tour option if you prefer smaller groups for a more personal and in-depth experience!

Admission to the Synagogue & the Jewish Museum & Archives:

Single ticket, synagogue + museum, without guiding:

  • student: 2 000 HUF (1 200 with Budapest card)
  • children (ages 6-14): 800 HUF
  • memorial garden visit: 500 HUF

Single tickets with guiding:

  • synagogue + Emmanuel Tree of Life: full price: 3 700 HUF (cc. 50 minutes), student, retiree: 2 700 HUF
  • synagogue + Tree of Life + museum: full price: 3 950 HUF (cc. 90 minutes), student, retiree: 2 950 HUF

Inside the synagogue you have to wear a small skullcap called kipah or yarmulke. You’ll receive one at the entrance.

History and Architecture

The Central Synagogue inside
Ornate Interior of the Synagogue

Jews were banned from the city in the 18th century, so they established a Jewish quarter just outside the old city boundary.

Remains of the old Pest city walls run on the opposite side of the road.

The Jews built their main synagogue in a residential area. Theodore Herzl, founder of modern Zionism was born in one of the buildings.

This stunning temple was constructed between 1844-59 according to Ludwig Förster’s plans.

The second largest synagogue (the largest stands in New York) in the world can take in 3,000 people.

Its Byzantine-Moorish style will fascinate you and remind you of monuments in the Middle-East.

Two onion-shaped domes sit on the twin towers at 43 m height.

The towers symbolize the two columns of Solomon’s Temple.

The spacious interior has equally rich decorations. A single-span cast iron supports the 12-m wide nave.

ornate gilded columnThe seats on the ground-floor are for men, while the upper gallery has seats for women.

Surprisingly, the synagogue has an organ, though this instrument is used in Christian churches. The temple’s acoustic make it a popular venue for concerts.

The Dohány Street synagogue witnessed the tragic events of WW II.

The Germans established a ghetto for the Jews in 1944 that served as a gathering place for deportation. Many people found refugee in the Dohány utca synagogue but thousands died during the bleak winter of 1944/45. Their bodies are buried in the courtyard.

the richly decorated ceiling and the chandelierIn the cobbled Raoul Wallenberg (Swedish diplomat who saved many Jews during WW II) park stands the Holocaust Memorial by Imre Varga.

It was erected in 1989 above the mass graves in the honour and memory of Hungarian Jewish martyrs.

On each leave of the metal weeping willow tree you can read a name of a martyr.

You can also see a piece of brick from the original ghetto wall in the garden.

Behind the main building stands the Heroes’ Temple that was built in 1929-31 to commmemorate the Jews who died in the First World War.

A restoration of Budapest’s Great Synagogue was finished a couple yeras ago, funded partly by a foundation set up by Tony Curtis who has Hungarian roots.

The adjacent Jewish Museum (on the left of the synagogue) has a Holocaust memorial room and displays about the Jewish culture.

The museum has the same opening hours than the synagogue.

Read more about Jewish Budapest.

Where to Eat near the Central Synagogue

You’ll find some good eateries nearby including kosher, and non-kosher restaurants with fine Hungarian-Jewish cuisine. The area is literally packed with terraced restaurants and cafes.

TIP: Gozsdu Court, a series of arcades connecting Király utca and Dob utca is a real culinary centre with a couple of good-value pubs, cafes and restaurants:
  • Klikk Bistro,
  • Spíler Pub,
  • 2Spaghi (a real Italian Pasta Bar),
  • BlueBird Cafe with its own coffee roaster,
  • Léhűtő and Legenda for craft beer lovers.

Osteria Fausto’s – first-class Italian Restaurant

pasta dish in Osteria Fausto's

Address: Dohany utca 5., district VII.
Open: Mon-Sat: 12.00 – 23.00
Tel: +36 1 269 6806

Fine Italian food in the vicinity of the great synagogue. Tasty pasta dishes, fish soup friendly staff.

Prices are a bit high but so is the quality of food and service.

Cafe Spinoza street viewSpinoza Café and Restaurant

Address: Dob utca 15., district VII.
Open: Mon-Sun: 8.00 – 11.00
Tel: +36 1 413 7488

A cozy restaurant with elegant turn-of- the-20th century decor and good food.

The Spinoza also functions as a theatre, and gallery.

Daily menu at a favorable price, good wine list, and breakfast.
Klezmer show each Friday evening.

Flodni cake
Fröhlich Café

Address: Dob utca 22., district VII.
Open: Mon-Thurs: 9.00 – 18.00, Fri: 9.00 – 14.00,
Sat: closed, Sun: 10.00 – 18.00
Tel: +36 1 266-1733

A bit run-down from the outside, this  family-run kosher restaurant has been operating for nearly six decades. Real kosher pastries and sweet treats.

The flódni is a must.

Carmel Pince

A non-kosher restaurant offering Hungarian, international, and Jewish specialties.

Address: Dob utca 31., district VII.
Open: 12.00 – 23.00 every day, except Saturday night: 18.00 – 23.00
Tel: +36 1 322 1834

See also our page about Top Restaurants or our recommendation of Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest.

Kosher Restaurants in Budapest

Carmel Glatt Kosher, Kazinczy utca

Carmel Glatt Kosher Restaurant

Address: Kazinczy Stret 31.
Open:

A bit touristy (=pricey) but the food is good in Carmel. It had never been a cheap restaurant, but since its glatt kosher status prices have risen to the sky: soups are 1 400 – 1 800 HUF, mains are cc. 4 000 – 6 000 HUF, a Carmel plate for two is 11 000 HUF.

If you can afford it, try the Jewish specialties Carmel is known for: meat soup with Matzo balls (1 400 HUF), cholent with smoked meat (4 000 HUF), and flódni for dessert (1 400 HUF). They also have Sabbath menu (5 000 – 6 000 HUF).

entrance of Hanna Ort Kosh Restaurant

Hanna Orthodox Kosher Restaurant

Address: Dob utca 37., district VII.
Open: 8.00 – 22.00 every day. exc. Saturday night

The Hanna Ort Kosher Restaurant is located in the courtyard of the Kazinczy Synagogue, but entrance is from Dob utca, that intersects Kazinczy utca.
Hanna opened at the beginning of the 1960s and it offers traditional Hungarian and Jewish cuisine.

TIP 1: Visit the Jewish Summer Festival at the beginning of every September to learn more about Jewish culture.

TIP 2: Take a walk along Kazinczy Street, Budapest’s trendiest nightlife spot, but also home to the Orthodox Synagogue of the city.