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Kenesa, Trakai

#7 of 11 in Things to do in Trakai
Religious Site · Hidden Gem · Landmark
Trakai Kenesa is the kenesa (synagogue) of the Karaite community in Trakai, Lithuania, and a rare example of a surviving wooden synagogue with an interior dome. It is still in use.
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33 reviews
  • We stopped for a quick look outside and take a photo. We didn’t go inside. Wasn’t open. Not worth going out the way for but if passing.  more »
  • While taking a quick stroll through the town, I passed this building; however, it was closed. The exterior and grounds were of interest and would have loved to have been able to see the interior.  more »
  • Interesting and unbelievable history with amazing evidences, like as this Kenesa
  • The turn of 14th and 15th centuries lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas (Witold) resettled a number of Karaite families from the Crimea for his guard purposes and granted them various privileges. A small community remains there to this day, which has preserved its language, distinctive customs. Their religion of Karaites is the reformed version of Judaism. Kenesa is the term for an East European Karaite synagogue. Karaite kenesa contains: Vestibule (azar), where worshipers take off their shoes. Moshav Zekenim (מושב זקנים, old men's pews): wooden benches for the old and the mourners, usually under a low ceiling. The loft above this ceiling is reserved for the women, who remain invisible to the men on the main floor. Shulkhan (שולחן‎ "table"): the main hall. Traditional Karaite worship was performed on the knees. In the past, kenesa floors were carpeted; however, modern Karaite kenesas have pews in the main hall. Hekhal, or altar (היכל): raised stand for the ritual Ark and the priest.

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