Kutaisi Synagogue

Kutaisi Synagogue

The history of the Jewish community of the multicultural Kutaisi City is a shining example of the city’s diversity. Jewish people first settled in Georgia millennia ago, but official sources first mention their habitation in Kutaisi starts in 1644.

The Jewish quarter of Kutaisi is stretching between Mtsvanekvavila district and Boris Gaponov Street. There are three synagogues along this street, all of which date back to the 19th and 20th centuries.

The oldest Jewish temple in the city was built in 1852, but the most spectacular of the three is the “Big Temple”, built in 1886, being the second largest synagogue in all of Georgia. Next to it stands a comparatively smaller synagogue, which was built in 1912. Here, the local Jewish people learn Hebrew, conduct religious rituals, and bake matzah in the ovens.

The main synagogue of Kutaisi, which is called “Upper Prayer” or “Mtsvanekvavila Prayer”, is a rather large building with elegantly ornamented facades. The most impressive façade is the one facing Gaponov Street, which is divided into a triple arcade. The interior of the building is completely painted.

In 2014, a monument to Boris Gaponov, the man who translated the Knight in the Panther’s Skin into Hebrew, was installed at the entrance to the main synagogue of Kutaisi.

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