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I like visiting synagogues and discovering their history. Many of the facilities of this type in the Świętokrzyskie region have not survived to our times, and a large number of them are in very poor condition. There are, however, quite well preserved, and the synagogue in Szydłów is a good example of such a place.
Szydłów is an increasingly popular place among tourists, and the synagogue is a very interesting facility that complements the tourist offer of the city.
Szydłów is located 50 kilometers from Kielce and 14 kilometers from Staszów (Świętokrzyskie Province). It is a city that is constantly gaining new fans on the tourist map of the region. There are several parking lots for tourists in the city where you can leave your car.
Availability and tickets
A ticket to the synagogue costs 8 zloty normal and 5 zloty reduced. If you plan to visit Szydłów, it is worth considering a ticket for all attractions in the city, which costs 20 zloty.
The synagogue is open in high season from 10.00 to 17.00 (at weekends until 18.00), and in low season from 8.00 to 16.00, and at weekends from 10.00.
History of the synagogue in Szydłów
The synagogue was built in 1534-1564. It had the character of a defensive structure, which can be seen to this day. It has a prayer room lowered to the ground and an annex with a women’s gallery (built in the 18th century). There was probably a synagogue in Szydłów before its construction.
During the aforementioned renovation, the synagogue was decorated with paintings inside. In later years, the interior of the building was most likely destroyed during a fire.
After World War II, it was used as a warehouse and cinema. From 1967 it served as a community center. It was renovated in the eighties of the previous century.
In the main hall, you can see fragments of polychrome on the walls and Aron Kodesh. An interesting element is also a huge sculpture of Moses by Gustaw Zemła.
In the display cases on one side of the room there are menorahs (also hanukiahs), and on the other side there is an exposition of indicators used for reading the Torah (Jad).
The Jewish community of Szydłów in the 16th century was a few percent of the total population. In 1588, they obtained the right to trade. After the city’s problems related to the Swedish wars, some of the Jews moved to other places.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Jews constituted about half of Szydłów’s population. Between the First and Second World War, there was a prayer house, a cheder, a mikveh, a square, three gardens and a cemetery in Szydłów. Before the outbreak of World War II, about 700 Jews lived in Szydłów. In 1942, they were transported to Chmielnik, from where they went to death, mainly to the camp in Treblinka.
Only an overgrown meadow has remained to this day of the aforementioned Jewish cemetery.
Worth a visit?
The synagogue in Szydłów is well preserved, and unfortunately most of the buildings of this type in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship were not so lucky. It is a place that is definitely worth visiting, and by the way, a visit to Szydłów, which is also pleasing to the eye of every tourist!