The Choral Synagogue in Moscow is an Orthodox synagogue built in 1886. Its position just behind, but not visible from, a major road reflects the ambiguous status of Moscow's Jewish community.
History of Choral Synagogue
In 1881, 20,000 Jews were exiled to the Pale in the wave of a reaction that followed the assassination of their emancipator, Alexander II.
But the new regime found itself needing skilled workers and officials were happy to accept bribes, so Moscow's Jews were able to reestablish themselves. The Khoralnaya sinagoga was financed by Polyakov, a railway tycoon, and built in 1886.
Later, by bribing Moscow's governor, the Jewish community was able to erect a Star of David on the top of the Choral Synagogue. It could be seen above the rooftops, which Nicholas II remarked upon as he drove by during his coronation in 1896.
The "choral" part of the synagogue's name refers to the fact that it incorporates several different areas set aside for the use of Armenian, Georgian or Bukharan Jews visiting Moscow.
What to See at Choral Synagogue
The exterior of the Choral Synagogue features a large silver dome, yellow-and-white walls and a Neo-Classical facade. Across the street from the entrance is a modern sculpture centered on a golden hand.
The recently-restored interior is a fine example of the Moorish style that can be seen in synagogues across Eastern Europe, with Arabesque moldings and murals.
Tourists are welcome to enter the synagogue during visiting hours (see below), provided they are dressed appropriately. Those who attend services are expected to know the ropes of an Orthodox Jewish service.
Quick Facts on Choral Synagogue
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|55.755424° N, 37.635148° E
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- The Rough Guide to Moscow, 4th ed. (April 2005), 142-43.
- Photos of Choral Synagogue - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of Choral Synagogue, Moscow
Below is a location map and aerial view of Choral Synagogue. 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.