Situated in the very heart of the Bulgarian capital, the Central Sofia
Synagogue is the third largest synagogue in Europe, next to the synagogues in Budapest and Amsterdam.
Designed by the Austrian architect, Grunanger, the synagogue was built to resemble a former synagogue in Vienna, which was destroyed by the Nazis. Building began in 1905 and the official opening took place in 1909, in the presence of king Ferdinand and queen Eleonora.
The building is a square block of Spanish-Moorish design, with a large central dome lit by a showpiece 2250kg chandelier (the biggest in Bulgaria
). The outer walls are ornamented with floral and geometric motifs. The building was restored by Bulgarian emigrants in Haifa (Israel), in the 1990s.
Originally intended to accommodate 1300 worshippers, nowadays services in one of the most beautiful architectural monuments in Sofia are only attended by 50 or 60 people.