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  4. Judenplatz

Judenplatz, Vienna

Photo © Cher Amio. View all images in our Judenplatz Photo Gallery.
Photo © Philip Greenspun.
Photo © wassman.
Photo © Robert Scarth.
Photo © Chris Brown.

The Judenplatz (Jewish Square) in Vienna was the heart of the Jewish ghetto from the 13th to the 15th centuries. It is now home to several important Jewish sights, including a Holocaust memorial, a new Jewish museum, and synagogue excavations. Altogether, Vienna's Judenplatz is a place of remembrance unique in Europe.

What to See

In the early 1990s, construction workers discovered the remains of a 13th-century synagogue while digging for a new parking garage. The City of Vienna Department of Urban Archaeology excavated the synagogue's ruins from 1995 to 1998.

The medieval synagogue was one of the largest synagogues of its time. After the pogrom in 1420 and 1421, the synagogue was systematically destroyed; only the foundations and the floor remained. The Mittelalterliche Synagogue (Medieval Synagogue) is now an archaeological exhibit and museum.

The synagogue excavations include the remnants of the central room, where men studied and prayed, with the foundation of the hexagonal bimah (pulpit for Torah readings) in the center. Another, smaller room of the synagogue was probably the women's prayer room.

The rest of the Judenplatz Museum, a new annex of the Jewish Museum, occupies three rooms. The exhibits show the major role Viennese Jews played in all aspects of city life, from music to medicine until the horrors that began in 1938.

Above the excavations, a Holocaust Memorial (2000) was constructed to honor Austrian Jews who died in the Holocaust. Designed by the British artist Rachael Whiteread, it is a rectangular concrete cube carved with stylized library shelves to represent the scholarly tradition of the People of the Book.

Around the base of the monument are engraved the names of the places in which Austrian Jews were killed during the Nazi era.

Near the memorial is a statue of Jewish playwright Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-81) erected after World War II.

Quick Facts on Judenplatz

Site Information
Names:Judenplatz; Judenplatz, Vienna
City:Vienna
Country:Austria
Categories:Museums; Synagogues
Faiths:Judaism
Status:museum
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Vienna, Austria
Coordinates:48.211662° N, 16.369522° E  (view on Google Maps)
Website:www.jmw.at
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Judenplatz

Below is a location map and aerial view of Judenplatz. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. The Ghetto - Frommer's
  2. Judenplatz Museum - Fodor's
  3. Judenplatz: Place of Remembrance - official website

More Information

Article Info

Title:Judenplatz, Vienna
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:01/12/2010
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/austria/vienna-judenplatz/austria/vienna-judenplatz
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