Synagogue

In the northern part of the medieval town, within the defensive walls there is a synagogue. It was erected in the years 1534 – 1564, which makes it one of the oldest synagogues in Poland. The building is in a late Gothic style. Built of broken stone, plastered, with buttressed facade, finished with late Gothic open cornice. 2-meter thick walls, crowned with an attic wall with battlements covering the roof make the synagogue look like a little fortress. Indeed, it is a synagogue of a defensive character.

Windows have semicircular arches. From the west a one-storey annex was added where there used to be a women’s gallery on the first floor. The room of prayers, closed with an iron wicked, lower than the level of the street, has barrel vaults with lunettes and is covered with late Renaissance, stucco decorations.

In the eastern wall there is built-in Aron Hakodesz from the beginning of the 17th century with stone stairs leading to it. Over the niche there is a Hebrew inscription. There are two recesses near the entrance to the room of prayers. One of them housed a lavabo, the other one a money-box.

Synagogue
Synagogue in Szydlow. Photo by P. Walczak

Nowadays, the synagogue is the seat of the Commune Culture Centre. There is a tourist information point, and on the first floor of the women's gallery there are several computer stands with Internet access. In the main room there is a kind of a museum with exhibits related to the Jewish culture: in particular religious objects and books. There are also works of a renowned Polish sculptor professor Kazimierz Gustaw Zemła: a four-meter tall statute of Moses “Decalogue” and the sculpture “David the Psalmist, as well as exquisite bronze reliefs “Gateway to the Past”. The cycle of 18 reliefs representing the Old Testament scenes is a gift for Szydłów from the Foundation "Karta z Dziejów".