The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

Architecture of the former Jewish quarter in Lublin

Hardly any remnants of the Jewish quarter, once situated around the castle, have been preserved. Beginnings of Jewish settlement in Lublin date back to the 15th century. The first buildings were constructed in the closest vicinity of the castle hill. Those were low wooden buildings. Gradual sprawling of the Podzamcze district, frequent fires and damage caused by wars and raids prompted intense construction activity in that area.

Synagogues

A synagogue is the most important place for a Jewish community, being not only a temple, but also a meeting place for the qahal members. Synagogues were built according to the established architectural canon that considered all the essential and distinguishing elements, such as the prayer hall with a bimah and women’s gallery. Solomon Luria, who lived in Lublin, was one of the creators of the synagogue building scheme in East-Central Europe. Before the Second World War, eleven synagogues and houses of prayer officially functioned in Lublin. Nevertheless, the most important was the Maharshal and Maharam synagogue complex, situated on Jateczna Street. The brick, two storey building was laid out on a square plan, and covered with pitched roof. The architecture of the synagogue, known in its interwar form, bore marks of restoration carried out in the 19th century.


Among other synagogues located in Podzamcze, there was the Saul Wahl synagogue and the Chewra Nosim synagogue, which still exists today. The Wieniawa district also had its own brick synagogue.

Architecture of the Jewish quarter

The technical documentation of the Buildings Inspection from the 1918-1939 period and pre-war photographs taken in the Jewish quarter show that, as far as style and building materials are concerned, the architecture of the Podzamcze area was strictly related to the architecture of the whole Lublin. No distinctive features had developed.

Apartment houses and public buildings were typical for the architecture of the time when they were constructed. Most of them were built in the 2nd half of the 19th century, when construction activity in Lublin was at its peak. Those buildings were not unlike their neighbourhood outside the Jewish quarter. Actually, succahs are the only visible detail indicating that they were used by Jews.
Buildings on Szeroka, Jateczna, Nadstawna and Lubartowska streets are built of bricks, have three or four storeys, basements, backyards and annexes. The stateliest buildings were located on Szeroka Street, which was the administrative and political centre of Podzamcze. Meanwhile, on Krawiecka and Podzamcze streets, wooden, low, one or two storey buildings predominated. Interesting examples of wooden buildings were houses with balconies, situated, among others, on Krawiecka St.

Relics of the architecture of the Jewish quarter today

Nowadays, the most important buildings related to the Jewish community are: the synagogue on Lubartowska St., the Yeshiva building on Lubartowska St., the Jewish hospital on Lubartowska St. and the former Perec’s House – the Isaac Leib Peretz Jewish Community Centre on Czwartek St. Besides them, there are also the apartment houses in the urban block outlined by Lubartowska, Kowalska, Cyrulicza and Furmańska streets.

Currently, apart from photographs and technical documentation, information about the architecture of the Jewish quarter can be found in guidebook by Majer Bałaban, titled Żydowskie miasto w Lublinie (the Jewish town of Lublin).

 

 

Synagogue on 10, Lubartowska St. Yeshiva (rabbinical academy) Former Jewish hospital on Lubartowska Street

 

 

 

 

 Text by Joanna Zętar

Translated by Jarosław Kobyłko

 

 

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