Gilaki Synagogue

Synagogue Attractions
SITE OVERVIEW
The Gilaki synagogue, located in Qirmizi Qasaba, was built by immigrants from the Gilan Province of Iran. The architect of the temple is Hillel Ben Haim, whose name is engraved on the brick facade of the synagogue.
GENERAL
It is clear from the inscription on the foundation stone that the temple was erected in 1896, although there is also another board on the entrance door indicating the year 1857. It is believed that this board belonged to an older synagogue of the Jewish emigrants, on the place of which Gilaki synagogue was erected. The characteristic feature of the Gilah synagogue is its standing roof, over which lies an octagonal drum surmounted by tribes of Israel (the windows of the 19th-century synagogue in Nalchik, in southern Russia, are arranged similarly). The prayer hall measures 17 x 17 meters. In the center of its ceiling is a square inner cupola covered by an octagonal outer drum with windows. The windows were once glazed, enabling natural light to penetrate the synagogue from above. The design of the Gilaki synagogue may have been influenced by a mosque with a similar roof built in the second half of the 19th century. Some recall that in the distant past there was a water fountain for washing hands and feet. Also, in the past, there was no women’s section, and on holidays women gathered in the courtyard of the synagogue and followed the service from there. Today, they are permitted to enter the vestibule.