Oleśnica – St Salvator Church (former synagogue)


   The synagogue was built at the end of the 14th century, probably following the example of the Old New Synagogue in Prague, built in 1270. When the Jews were accused of causing a plague epidemic, it resulted in expelling them from the Czech. Taking advantage of the fact that Konrad I confirmed the right to bring them to his duchy in 1329, they settled in Oleśnica and already in 1389 there was an independent Jewish community, consisting of wealthy Jews arriving from Prague, who had a separate district in the north part of the town.
When the Jews were expelled from Oleśnica in 1535, the building was changed into a warehouse and then into an arsenal. In 1695, the synagogue was rebuilt into the temple of the Evangelical-Augsburg church. In 1730, the building burnt down and was rebuilt after four years. At that time, it was rebuilt in the late baroque style, the pillars were demolished and a wooden barrel vault was established. It was re-renovated in 1968. Currently, as a church, it functions under the invocation of Saint Salvator.


   The brick, two-nave building of the synagogue was erected in the gothic style. The prayer room was 9.5 x 11.8 meters, and in it two pillars supported six fields of vault. It center was usually occupied by a surrounded by a balustrade bima (table for lecturing and reading the Torah). On the axis of the eastern wall there was a recess for the shrine. From the south to the building, between the central buttresses, an annex was built that housed the women’s gallery. The tower can be a medieval element or added in the 16th century after the liquidation of the synagogue. Probably inside there were columns in one line that held the rib vault.

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Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Website olesnica.nienaltowski.net, Stara synagoga, Kościół Zbawiciela (Salvatora), Kościół Zielonoświątkowy.