Tsaritsyn Synagogue Former building

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

The first-ever stone synagogue to be built in Tsaritsyn, now an architectural landmark, is located a little off of Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue), on Ulitsa Port-Saida (Port-Saida Street), so named after a sister city of Volgograd – the city of Port Said, Egypt. The population of Tsaritsyn grew at a high pace in the late 19th century. Tsaritsyn was a huge multiethnic melting pot, where people of different cultural and religious backgrounds lived together in harmony. There were some 15 Orthodox churches in Tsaritsyn shortly before the 1917 Revolution, and there were also a Catholic church, a Protestant church, an Old Rite Orthodox church, two mosques and two synagogues. The two-story choral synagogue beyond the suburb of Preobrazhenskoye was completed in 1911. Designed in the Mauritanian style, the synagogue had five domes.

Back then, the entire second floor of the synagogue was one huge n-shaped balcony, probably reserved for the female congregation. According to the rules, men and women are supposed to pray separately in a synagogue. The balcony has since been remodelled into another floor. One of the original staircases has survived in the building.

The synagogue was closed down in 1929, and the building was converted to a polyclinic. Although this part of town was the locus of particularly fierce fighting during the Battle of Stalingrad, the synagogue building miraculously survived. It acquired its present-day look after some restoration work in the 1940s. The building houses a physiotherapy clinic to this day.