The Bevis Marks Synagogue sits in a hidden courtyard, and guests cross through a stone archway as they first arrive. When a visitor enters this historically important synagogue they see, “Holy Congregation The Gates of Heaven” carved above the entrance. The historical two-story temple evokes an angelic atmosphere with wooden pews and golden candlelit chandeliers hanging from its high ceilings. As one of the oldest active temples in Europe, the Bevis Marks Synagogue has stood the test of time, serving as a house of worship for over 300 years. The synagogue welcomes visitors to view this historic building during visiting hours, or to go on a guided tour. Worshipers can also come for Shabbat and other Jewish holidays.
For centuries, Britain banned Jews from living within its kingdom. However, by 1656, new petitions to the government proved successful, and Jews could finally immigrate to England and practice Judaism openly. Following the new immigration laws, a new Jewish community began to flourish in London, mostly made up of Southern and Eastern Europeans. Sephardic Jews thrived in London during this era, working as doctors, jewelers, engravers, confectioners, and street vendors. In 1701, the Sephardim built the impressive Bevis Marks Synagogue which still remains the longest continuously operating Jewish temple in Europe.