Monday, August 18, 2008

Synagogues of Southern Transylvania

Photography exhibition
Photography: Christian Binder
Concept design: Julie Dawson
22 - 24 August 2008, 12:00 - 18:00
Synagogue of Sighisoara: Strada Tache Ionescu 13, Sighisoara

In the wake of the Holocaust and the subsequent mass migration of the vast majority of Romania's Jewish population, this country's countless synagogues have fallen into various stages of disrepair and decay over the years. This photo exhibition attempts to capture the interesting transitional stage in which Romania now finds itself – with the entrance of outside, foreign investors and NGOs, some synagogues have been or are being restored and turned into cultural centres or finding other alternative uses. Others remain abandoned, often assuming a central location in the town's centre, an evocative, stubborn reminder of recent past – and of today's reluctance to address Romania's troubled relationship with this history.

The questions are numerous – what will become of these buildings now that they can be used again? Will their respective towns take responsibility for their upkeep, how can they be integrated into a long-term plan for urban or rural renewal? And how can the countless still decrepit synagogues, many of significant historical and architectural value, be incorporated into a systematic and far-reaching plan for commemorating and celebrating a culture formerly a vibrant part of Romania's multi-cultural existence?

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