Only 19% of European synagogues still stand, post-WWII

This is the first-ever database of Europe's 3,318 remaining synagogues.

Europe's 3,318 remaining synagogues, a fraction of what there once were.
Before the WWII, Europe had more than 17,000 synagogues. Less than a quarter of the buildings listed are still used as Jewish houses of worship.

If you've ever wondered how many synagogues there are in Europe, now you have an answer: 3,318. The precision of that answer is down to the Foundation for Jewish Heritage, a UK-based institute that ordered what it says is the first-ever continent-wide study of Jewish houses of worship. 


The result can be seen on an online map, which offers details for each of the 3,000-plus synagogues. Here are a few special ones:

  • Europe's northernmost synagogue is in the Norwegian city of Trondheim. The neo-romanesque building, currently painted a lovely blue, has stood in Christiesgate since 1925. 
  • The westernmost Jewish house of worship in Europe is the Shaare Tikvah Synagogue in Lisbon, built in 1904. 
  • The map includes all of Russia as part of Europe, meaning that the easternmost synagogue is very far to the east of the Urals indeed: a modern synagogue built in the early 2000s, standing on Frunze Street in Khabarovsk, capital of Russia's Far Eastern region. 
  • The Cypriot city of Larnaca is home to the southernmost synagogue in Europe, a contemporary building constructed in 2005 serving the local Chabad community.  

Click on each of the bubbles to get more info on each synagogue: a picture, where available; details on the date and style of construction; and its current purpose. Less than a quarter are in use as a synagogue. Others are disused, or converted to a number of other purposes—examples include a swimming pool, a bar, police station, a funeral parlor, and a mosque. 

The point of mapping all of Europe's remaining synagogues—before World War II, there were about 17,000—is to identify those in imminent danger of ruin. The foundation has identified around 160 houses of worship which are in imminent danger of ruin. It is hoped that this will spur restoration efforts. 

Map found here on at the Foundation for Jewish Heritage.

Strange Maps #891

Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.

Every 27.5 million years, the Earth’s heart beats catastrophically

Geologists discover a rhythm to major geologic events.

Credit: desertsolitaire/Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • It appears that Earth has a geologic "pulse," with clusters of major events occurring every 27.5 million years.
  • Working with the most accurate dating methods available, the authors of the study constructed a new history of the last 260 million years.
  • Exactly why these cycles occur remains unknown, but there are some interesting theories.
Keep reading Show less

The first three minutes: going backward to the beginning of time with Steven Weinberg (Part 1)

The great theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg passed away on July 23. This is our tribute.

Credit: Billy Huynh via Unsplash
13-8
  • The recent passing of the great theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg brought back memories of how his book got me into the study of cosmology.
  • Going back in time, toward the cosmic infancy, is a spectacular effort that combines experimental and theoretical ingenuity. Modern cosmology is an experimental science.
  • The cosmic story is, ultimately, our own. Our roots reach down to the earliest moments after creation.
Keep reading Show less

Ancient Greek military ship found in legendary, submerged Egyptian city

Long before Alexandria became the center of Egyptian trade, there was Thônis-Heracleion. But then it sank.

Surprising Science
  • Egypt's Thônis-Heracleion was the thriving center of Egyptian trade before Alexandria — and before earthquakes drove it under the sea.
  • A rich trade and religious center, the city was at its height from the six to the fourth century BCE.
  • As the city's giant temple collapsed into the Mediterranean, it pinned the newly discovered military vessel underwater.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast