About us

The Maribor synagogue is one of the more important monuments of Jewish cultural heritage within the Slovenian territory, and also one of the older preserved synagogues within the Central European area. Besides individual guests from all parts of the world, organised groups also come from schools, and from Israel. Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel was also amongst our visitors in 2008. In 2011 the Synagogue began operating as an independent public institution under the title ‘Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor’. The funds for operating this centre are mainly provided by the Municipality of Maribor. Part of the necessary funds is now being obtained from international invitational tenders and donations.

The renovation of space

Throughout the eighties of last century there was a broad-based renovation of the old city centre, including renovation of the old Jewish quarter and the synagogue. At that time the building had not been used as a synagogue for over 500 years. Due to the number of renovations, the original appearance was significantly modified. The reconstruction-renovation works of the former synagogue started in 1992. After the first work phase and research work many of the originally hidden architectural elements were discovered within the structure of the building, based upon which it would be possible to reconstruct the central space of the medieval synagogue. The intensive renovation and reconstruction work, which was performed over the following years, was interrupted several times due to lack of funds. Despite being generally encouraged by many foreign institutions and organisations, the renovation of the synagogue was fully financed by the Municipality of Maribor and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture.

The revision of programme

Parallel to the reconstruction and renovation work, the content guidelines for operating a cultural centre were conceived, which in April 2001 opened its doors to the public as a new urban cultural space, under the auspices of the Maribor Regional Museum. From the very beginning the basic mission of the Maribor Synagogue after which the centre was named, has been the studying, preserving, cultivating and presenting of Jewish cultural heritage. Contacts with some related domestic and foreign institutions were established during the first years of operation. At the same time more emphasis was put into promoting the centre and encouraging its cultural programmes, including the renovated synagogue as a unique cultural and historical monument for tourists. When organizing cultural, scientific and other public events we try to draw attention to cultural diversities, whilst at the same time reviving the former synagogue as a place for intercultural and interreligious dialogue. In compliance with the renovation project, the synagogue has not been restored as a sacred building and is not applied as such.

Participation in projects

In 2006, on the initiative of the Jewish Community of Slovenia and its youth organisation ‘Kadima’, we joined the international project European Days of Jewish Culture, which is swelled each year by additional institutions. For several years the honorary patron of the Project has been the President of the Republic of Slovenia, and in 2010 the Maribor Synagogue became the national coordinator of the Project. In the same year, in cooperation with the ‘Prva gimnazija Maribor’ secondary school, the Shoah – Let Us Remember project was designed with the aim of remembering the Holocaust internationally. In cooperation with numerous domestic experts and institutions, a significant part of the programme’s contents is mainly devoted to the history of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

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