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Grande Synagogue, Geneva

Photo © Creative Commons License. View all images in our Grande Synagogue Photo Gallery.
Photo © Eszter Hargittai.

The Grande Synagogue (officially named the Beth Yaakov Synagogue) is the Ashkenazi synagogue of Geneva, Switzerland.


There has been a Jewish community in Geneva since the early 19th century; originally they worshipped at a synagogue in the Carouge suburb.

The Grande Synagogue was built in 1858-59, soon after the Genevan government allowed non-Protestant religious buildings within the city walls. At the time, the community only had about 200 members.

Listed as a historical monument in 1995, the Grande Synagogue was renovated in 1997 according to its original design.

What to See

Designed by Swiss architect Jean-Henri Bachofen, the synagogue's style is Byzantine-Moorish, a common theme in 19th-century European synagogues. The design is meant to symbolize the Jews' eastern origins in Israel as well as the Ashkenazi community's former glory in Muslim Spain.

The synagogue's striking exterior features a large dome over an octagonal base and walls painted in plain gray on the lower level and striped pink and white on the upper level. Entrance is on the west end, which has Moorish-style horseshoe arches and a Hebrew inscription over the double doors. The east wall has a Byzantine-style apse.

The interior is decorated in a predominately Moorish style, with a two-story Holy Ark surrounded by white arches at the east end. The bimah is situated immediately in front of the Ark and the women's section is in the upper galleries on both sides.

Quick Facts on Grande Synagogue

Site Information
Names:Grande Synagogue; Grande Synagogue, Geneva
State:Canton Geneva
Faiths:Judaism; Ashkenazi
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Geneva, Switzerland
Coordinates:46.202795° N, 6.140853° E  (view on Google Maps)
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 Grande Synagogue

Below is a location map and aerial view of Grande 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.


  1. Personal visit (exterior only; December 2006).
  2. Beth Yaakov Synagogue, Geneva, Switzerland - The Database of Jewish Communities

More Information

Article Info

Title:Grande Synagogue, Geneva
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:10/07/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/switzerland/geneva-grande-synagogue">Grande Synagogue, Geneva</a>