The Synagogue in Lesko

Berka Joselewicza 16, 38-600 Lesko
49°28'13"N 22°19'51"E (49.4705, 22.330992)

The Synagogue in Lesko was built between 1626 and 1654 and could host about 1.5 thousand believers. Built of river pebbles and hewn stones with the addition of brick, on a rectangular plan in the mannerist-Baroque style. On the tops of the building there are decorative vases, which is the only example of church-palace gables in synagogues in Poland (as it was against the law). On the western wall there is a board with the commandments and an inscription: "How terrifying this place is, but it is a God's house." A round stone tower was added to the southern wall (which was also against the legal regulations), to the top of which a winding staircase leads. Beneath the tower, in turn, was a dungeon that served as a prison. The entire facility consists of a one-nave prayer room. From the room on the first floor, women could only look at the prayer room (as they were not allowed to enter there). The planes of the walls are divided by two ledges into three floors. Between the cornices there are flat, semicircular niches with inscribed quotations from the Torah. In the third, highest floor windows with half-columns were placed. On the eastern wall, the decorative aron ha-Kodesz (altar cupboard) survived in the form of two columns crowned with a triangular gable. It is a simplified copy of the ark from the Golden Rose Synagogue in Lviv. In the middle, originally was a gazebo bimah, now its fragments can be seen as balustrades of balconies of the nearby house. The synagogue was seriously damaged by the Germans during the occupation during the World War II. The destroyed synagogue remained unused until the 1960s, when  it was restored. Currently, it houses the art gallery of the Bieszczady Community Centre.

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