Ahrida Synagogue

Synagogue Attractions

According to tradition, the Ahrida Synagogue was founded in 1430 by Jews from the city of Ohry, Macedonia, thus the origin of its name (Ahrida / Ohrida).

The synagogue was destroyed in a fire in the 1600s. A decree by the sultan in 1694 led to the building’s reconstruction, which was carried out in the Ottoman Baroque style popular at that time. Particular examples of the Ottoman style are the mother-of-pearl inlaid doors of the Ark and wooden domes. It has a unique boat shaped bemah, said to symbolize Noah’s Ark.

The building was extensively restored in the early 1992 when remnants of architectural details from the 1700s and 1800s were discovered. Elements of those details were included in the restoration. The unique boat shaped bemah (pulpit) is said to symbolize either Noah’s Ark or the ships that brought Sephardic Jews from Spain to the Ottoman Empire.