Lendava Synagogue is one of only two synagogues located in Slovenia. It is also one of three churches that are located in the centre of Lendava.
Jews once had a very important community in this part of Slovenia, especially in the 18th century when they started to migrate here in large numbers. This community left a huge influence in the development of the town, as many Jews were highly educated and soon took over the most important positions in town.
Construction of Lendava Synagogue started in 1866. It was designed as a simple, almost square-shaped two story building with clean lines and simple decorations on its facade. Its interior is also quite simple, with small golden decorations that add just a bit of prestige.
Pillars are also an important part of the interior. They divide the ground floor and provide a feeling of a bigger space and also support the upper floor (which served as a gallery for women). Lendava Synagogue has room for 80 men in the lower floor and 60 women in the gallery.
The synagogue was in use until the 1944, when the Jews were cast out of Prekmurje and other parts of Slovenia. It was later restored and it is now used for exhibitions and events, including the permanent exhibition about Jews in Lendava.
Just about 3 km from the city centre of Lendava lies one of the best preserved Jewish cemeteries in Slovenia and the only preserved Jewish cemetery in Prekmurje. Although the cemetery is not used anymore, it still serves as a great insight into the culture of Jews in this part of Slovenia.
The cemetery is full of magnificent monuments that are decorated with diverse artistic elements and beautiful engravings with Hebrew and Latin letters. You will see that the graves do not have any candles or flowers on them, but this does not mean there are no visitors who take care of their deceased loved ones – different traditions emerged here, as candles and flowers were substituted by small rocks. These rocks now serve as a reminder of the never-ending love for the person that rests in the grave.