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Obj. ID: 7991
Jewish Architecture
  Great Synagogue in Sataniv - photos of 1999

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Khaimovich, Boris, 1999

The freestanding building of the synagogue is situated on a slope, so that its south facade is higher than the north one.  The building consists of a high main volume with a prayer hall and two low volumes attached on the western and southern sides. The south volume and the southern part of the west volume contain a women's section, the northern part of the west volume contains the vestibule of the prayer hall.

At the beginning of the 19th century it had a courtyard, surrounded by a wall on its west side.  After the closure of the synagogue, the building deteriorated.  Most of the windows of the side volumes were bricked up and partly covered by earth, and the windows of the main volume were closed by wooden planks. However, no alterations were made and the entire structure of the building has been preserved.

In the 2010s, a local buisnessman Arthur Fridman renovated the synagogue, which was inaugurated in 2015.

Description (state of 2001):

The freestanding building of the synagogue is situated on a slope, so that its south facade is higher than the north one.  The building consists of a high main volume housing the prayer hall and two low volumes attached on the western and southern sides (figs. 1, 2, 4-6, 11).  The south volume and the southern part of the west volume contain the women's section, the north part of the west volume contains the vestibule of the prayer hall.

The main volume is a high rectangular structure with a cornice, crowned by a high attic wall.  This wall, about three meters high, is decorated with blind round arches supported by pilasters.  There are eight arches on the west and east walls and ten arches on the north and south walls.  The arches are topped by a cornice.  In the centre of each arch there is a loophole.  The centre peaked roof (not preserved) is accessed through a narrow, partly spiral, staircase situated in the west wall of the main volume.


The prayer hall is spanned by a barrel vault with lunettes on its north and south sides.  Twelve windows give light to the prayer hall.  Three high pointed arch windows are situated on the upper tier of both the south and north walls, two similar windows are situated on the upper tier of the west and east walls; and two round windows are placed between and above the latter.  A horizontal plaster moulding runs around the hall under the windows.  On the lower tier of the south wall there are three pairs of low windows with segmented arches, connecting the hall with the southern women's section, and a pair of similar windows is situated on the southern part of the west wall – currently all of them are bricked up.  

The Torah ark is situated in the centre of the east wall.

The main entrance, placed in the centre of the west wall, opposite the Torah ark, is surmounted by a plaster frame with a round arch connected to the horizontal moulding.  Inside the frame, there is a heraldic composition: two rampant lions, standing on a rocaille moulding, flank a cartouche with a central oval medallion, surmounted by plumage.  The cartouche includes the inscription:    בבית אלהים\ נהלך ברגש \ לפק(We walked unto the house of God in company, Psalms 55:15), probably gematria (the use of letters for numbers) for the date 1717; the letters are emphasized above with points (underlined here).  

An octagonal bimah surrounded by a wooden balustrade was situated in the centre of the hall.  It was reached from the north and south sides by four stairs. The original bimah no longer exists.

The southern single storey volume contains a women's section, divided into three rooms.  All rooms are spanned by a barrel vault with lunettes. The volume was covered by a lean-to roof, which has not been preserved.  The south wall of the volume was supported by two buttresses, one of which survives.  The easternmost rectangular room has a door in its east wall, four windows towards the prayer hall on the north wall and four windows on its outer south wall (the latter are currently bricked up).  The central square room has two windows towards the prayer hall (now bricked up), and a door and window on its south wall.  The westernmost room is united with the southernmost room of the west volume.  It has a window (now blocked) on its south wall and a door on its west wall.  Currently, it is covered by a pitched roof. 

Summary and Remarks

2 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Great Synagogue in Sataniv | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
17th century
Synagogue active dates
Until 1930s, from 2015
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Community type
Period Detail
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Walls of the building are made of limestone, the attic walls and vault – of bricks.
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Panel Measurements
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Scribal Notes
Trade Mark
Decoration Program

During the expedition of 1992, remnants of wall paintings were found: the lower part of a lion on the east wall of the prayer hall; south of the Torah ark; and floral ornamentation surrounding the portal in the northernmost room of the west volume.  However, the photo of 1905 shows that the east wall of the prayer hall has no paintings. 

Suggested Reconsdivuction
The date of construction of the synagogue is still unclear. Some sources indicate the date as 1514 or 1532, but this seems to be incorrect. Chemical analysis of the mortar made in 1992 showed that it is similar to the mortars of the mid-17th and early 18th century. However, the structural and stylistic features of the building, as well as a comparison with the nearby monastery, support the evidence that the synagogue was built at the beginning of the 17th century. Following the wars of the second half of the 17th century, the building was restored. The inscription on the cartouche in the Torah ark indicates the year 1716 and the inscription above the entrance door gives the date of 1717. It is likely that repairs were made at this date as well as in the 19th century. Legends and local beliefs, characteristic of East European Jewry are connected with the building of the synagogue. One legend, recorded during the expedition of Semion An-sky in 1913 and by the expedition of the Jewish University of St. Petersburg, recounts that there was a big hill where people started to dig, and they dug out the entire Great Synagogue. Another legend relates that in the hill next to the synagogue is the tomb of a Jewish bride and groom, killed by Cossacks during their marriage ceremony. There was also a belief that the souls of the dead prayed in the synagogue at midnight. The Great Synagogue was closed after 1932, and in the 1960s the building was converted into a granary. In 2013-2015 it was restored by Arthur Friedman, a local businessman and converted into a synagogue again.
Main Surveys & Excavations
Lukin, Veniamin and Khaimovich, Boris, Sto evreiskikh mestechek Ukrainy, vol. 1: Podolia (Jerusalem-St. Petersburg, 1997, second revised edition 1998), especially pp. 212-214; Lifshits, Yulii "Naturnye issledovaniia zdaniia sinagogi 17-19 vv. v g. Satanove Khmel'nitskoi oblasti" in V. Dymshitz (ed.), Istoriia evreev na Ukraine i v Belorussii. Ekspeditsii. Pamiatniki. Nakhodki (St. Petersburg, 1994), pp. 120-127.
I. Andrushko, O. Sorokolit | 1992
Author of description
Vladimir Levin | 2001, 2016
Architectural Drawings
I. Andrushko, O. Sorokolit | 1992
Computer Reconstruction
Sergey Kravtsov | 2001
Section Head
Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 2001
Language Editor
Sally Oren | 2001
Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |