AUTHOR: Fani Gargova

Located in the center of the Bulgarian capital, the Sofia Central Synagogue was built in 1905-1909 as the culmination of the decade long effort to ‘modernize’ the city’s Jewish community—in their religious, moral, customary, and social practices. To the ‘progressive’ and assimilated Western European Jewry, it served to demonstrate that Bulgarian Jews had finally overcome their perceived ‘Oriental’ backwardness. Internally, the community leaders hoped that this synagogue could bring together the disparate factions within the Jewish community in a demonstration of unity and patriotism. This effort was particularly vital for the acceptance of the Bulgarian Jews as being ‘truly’ Bulgarian by the majoritarian Christian population of the country. This paper argues that the architecture of the Central Synagogue of Sofia reflects this political agenda of the community leaders in a unique manner and details how it is inscribed into the building’s material, form, choice of style, and overall appearance.


Faculty of Science and Faculty of Philosophy at University of Novi Sad, in cooperation with Archive of Vojvodina will publish a collection of scientific papers entitled “SYNAGOGUES AND JEWISH HERITAGE IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE” in June. The collection will include 18 scientific and professional papers on the topic of Jewish cultural heritage, which will be presented at a scientific conference that will be held at the end of June in the premises of Archive of Vojvodina. In order to bring it closer to the scientific and professional public, but also to all those interested in the topic of papers in the collection, we publish summaries of all scientific papers on the website of Archives of Vojvodina, which will be in printed and electronic version of the collection of papers in June. The research and preparation of the collection with the Archive of Vojvodina was assisted by the Provincial Secretariat for Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Government of Vojvodina, with the project number 142-451-3211 / 2020-03. The editors-in-chief of the collection in front of the scientific institution and the publishing institution are Dr. Rastislav Stojsavljević and Dr. Nebojša Kuzmanović.