Wooden Synagogue in Kurkliai


The wooden synagogue of Kurkliai is an extraordinary part of both Lithuanian and Eastern European Jewish cultural heritage. It is one of only 17 extant wooden synagogues in Lithuania.


Since the 18th century Kurkliai has been a home for a vibrant Jewish community. Both Jewish and Christian communities of Kurkliai suffered from common fires, which constantly destroyed their properties. Due to these fires Jewish community has rebuilt their synagogue several times during the 18-20th centuries. The last wooden synagogue has been built already in 1936 and it has a traditional synagogue layout, separate main prayer hall and women section. However,  it has some extraordinary distinctive expressionist features. One of them is a small turret, which is atypical for the architecture of Litvak synagogues. Still, this extravagant turret was decorated with traditional symbols – two stars of David. Also the frames of the windows of Kurkliai synagogue – triangular arches – stand out in the context of other wooden synagogues in Lithuania.


After the Second World War and vanished local Jewish community, only a decade old synagogue has been made into storage house, as which it served until the 1990s. Now wooden synagogue of Kurkliai has no defined function or supervision.


Historical Jewish quarter in Anykščiai

Wooden synagogue in Alanta

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