Turkish Jews to decide on ancient synagogue's future

The historic Great Synagogue in Turkey's far northwestern Edirne province will be put into service as a religious or cultural center after the completion of its restoration.

Turkish Jews to decide on ancient synagogue's future

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish authorities will ask the opinion of Turkish Jewish community to determine how to use the ancient Great Synagogue in Turkey's far northwestern Edirne province, one of the largest synagogues in Europe, after its ongoing restoration is completed.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive, Turkey's Directorate General for Foundations Adnan Ertem stated that they previously did not deal with restoration for non-Muslim shrines but since 2010, they have undertaken such efforts, too, with the primary aim to functionalize the abandoned synagogue by preserving its characteristics, as they aim for any other foundation property they restore.

Ertem said they expected the restoration efforts to end in mid-2014 which they launched in 2010 for the Great Synagogue that was built in 1907 to replace the 13 synagogues burnt down back in 1905 but fell out of use and went to rack and ruins after 1983 due to the few number of Jewish worsippers in Edirne.

"This is a synagogue, so our first and foremost aim is to turn it into a center of worship. But naturally we cannot do it alone and we have to determine at first whether there is any opportunity for the building to continue to serve as a synagogue as there is no settled Jewish community there. For this reason, we will meet the leading religious figures of the Turkish Jewish community. We will enable the building to serve as a synagogue if they are able to use it full time as a shrine. Otherwise, it seems so at least for now, we will strive to give it another function after consulting to the Jewish community leaders," added Ertem.

The Great Synagogue was constructed in 1907 by the order of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid in Kaleici village of Edirne, but lost its ceiling and its side wall in 1997 because of abundance.

The wrecked synagogue has a capacity of 1,200 people, with two domes, one on a sidewall of the main room and one on the side of the entrance door, also collapsing in 1997.

Last Mod: 18 Kasım 2013, 17:42
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