In April with Jelica we decided to have a childless walk there and some of the pictures were taken at that time. Yesterday, I decided to go on a lonely biking image hunt while everybody else was sleeping.
Biking slowly in different Budapest neighbourhoods is something that I like doing a lot. It is quite a nostalgic exercise as my thoughts go like that: in 1994 I walked this street, a friend of mine lived here in 2001, I used to come to this restaurant in 2002, etc.
This is the Budapest Great Synagogue or otherwise known as the Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest functioning one in Europe and second largest in the world. It is a beautiful piece of architecture and such a colourful spot in the middle of the town with its red and yellow hues. The synagogue is built between 1854 ans 1859 in a Moorish Revival style. Those who have been to Alhambra, Andalucia can see the similarities.
Aiming to the skies, it looks like the perfect shell for travelling towards the depths of one's soul.
Only the trolley lines and the tree leaves are new on this picture. Isn't every present moment born from the constant interplay between old and new: old memories and new impressions or old buildings and new modes of transport?
You can't avoid the trolley linesTheodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was born next to the synagogue. He was the first to imagine a separate state for the Jews in his book the Jewish State, 1896. He saw this as a solution to the rising Antisemitism in Europe. He did not necessarily envision the new Jewish state to be based in Palestine. Argentina was one of the options. If his ideas had been implemented earlier in the 20th century some lives could have been saved.
This is the cemetery in the back yard of the main synagogue. 1945 is the year of death on most of them.
This is the Rumbach Sebestyen street Status Quo Synagogue, located not far from the main one. This is a smaller but very elegant synagogue built in the Romantic style in 1872.
Rumbach street Status Quo Synagogue
And.....the derelict entrance to the synagogue. I wonder why it is in such a state.
Same synagogue, door
It is obvious from this picture of the towers of the synagogue that mosques and synagogues are not that far apart from each other from an architectural point of view, kind of second cousins. I am not sure but I imagine that this architectural cross-fertilization took place in Moorish Spain rather than in Palestine lands.
Towers of Rumbach Synagogue
This monument - Tree of Life (weeping willow) - is dedicated to the victims of holocaust. It is located behind the main synagogue, in a park named after the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews by providing them fake Swedish passports. There are 30,000 names of Jewish holocaust victims on its branches.
Raoul Wallenberg tree
And, of course, there aren't only synagogues in the Jewish neighbourhood. This is a residential house on Dob street in the art nouveau style. You can see the beautiful metal balcony and Jewish symbols on the windows.
Dob street house
The Kazinczy street Othodox Synagogue stands like an ancient temple on a treeless winding street. What is there behind the corner?
There was a period in 1944-45 when the Danube was clogged with dead bodies.
Picture: Dennis Leaf
In contrast to the other, emotionally-laden pictures, this is a picture of a weeping willow on Hollo street, meaning Raven in Hungarian. I took the picture as I made the association with a famous poem by Edgar Allen Poe , the Raven in which the raven, an uninvited guest keeps repeating 'nevermore'.
`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'