The Bevis Marks Synagogue, in the heart of the City of London, is a Grade I listed building which was opened in 1701 and is the only synagogue in Europe to have continuously held regular services for over 300 years. I paid a visit as part of Open House London and as photos are not allowed inside so I only have a couple of photos of the exterior to share here.
The building itself is slightly tucked away in a courtyard accessed through a stone archway, and there was a quite a vigorous bag check in place before I could go towards the front door.
It’s a very atmospheric place, a home for the Sephardic Community in the UK (Jews descended from those from Spain and Portugal) with a design based on that of the Portuguese synagogue of Amsterdam. It survived the Blitz but was damaged by IRA bombings nearby in 1992 and 1993.
The interior has some beautiful features such as the ark containing the Torah scrolls and the seven hanging candelabra, the candles of which are still lit for special occasions. We had a very good talk about the history of the building and it’s people and were able to explore for as long as we wanted. It’s a really interesting place to visit and actually my first time inside a synagogue. I’d highly recommend a visit – they are open for visits for a fee throughout the year, but during Open House London obviously entry is free.