The synagogue on Oranienburger Strasse 28-30 was opened in 1866, then the largest synagogue in Germany, with 3,200 seats. Otto von Bismarck was present at its inauguration. It is located in what was back then a large Jewish district, and now is a very popular spot, crowded with pubs, cafes and restaurants.
The synagogue was designed by Eduard Knoblauch in a neo-byzantine style. It was heavily damaged by the Nazis during Kristallnacht, and destroyed in 1943 in a bombing. In 1953 the building was demolished. Its reconstruction started only after the fall of the Wall, and completed in 1995. The synagogue had a very distinctive golden dome, very fancy, not very appropriate for a synagogue, as I understand my religion, but what the hell, they have to compete…
Inside the synagogue there is a permanent exhibition, showing the history of the building and its congregation. There is also a changing exhibition. The one we caught in 2005 was “Art from Auschwitz”. The current exhibition is something about Lvov, or, according to the website of the place, “Threshold between East and West”, and it will run until 6 January. Check out the site for the next exhibition.
The synagogue is also an active house of prayer. From September until April it is open Sunday through Thursday between 10 to 18, and Friday from 10 to 14. From May to August it is open Tuesday to Thursday from 10 to 18, Monday and Sunday from 10 to 20, and Friday from 10 to 17. Naturally, it is closed on Jewish holidays.
Admission is 3 euros (2 euros reduced), or 4.60 euros including special exhibition. And you pay an extra 1.50 euros if you want to see the dome from the inside.
There is also a restaurant there called “Kadima”. We didn’t go there, as we have pretty bad connotations for this name (it’s the name of the political party our degenerate Prime Minister heads, and a pretty degenerate party by its own merit).