The first document that testifies to a Jewish settlement in Trieste dates back to 1236. At the end of the eighteenth century there were four synagogues in Trieste. In 1903 an international competition was launched for the construction of a new large synagogue. Of the 42 projects presented, none were chosen because they were all unachievable and in 1906, the Jewish community entrusted itself directly to Ruggero Berlam, who was joined by his son Arduino, for the final project and purchased a fund in the then Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi , today Piazza Giotti, occupied at the end of the 19th century by the carpentry of Carlo Cante.
An international competition of ideas was also launched, for its construction, but the Temple both for its size and for its structure is a typical synagogue of the era of emancipation in which the main prayer hall, with a rectangular plan, is it is divided into three naves which culminate in the majestic apse with a golden mosaic vault. The main entrance is located in via Donizetti, where the large portal is opened on the most important holidays. while access to the Synagogue is from the small loggia in Via San Francesco.
The Temple is one of the largest and most majestic in Europe, and is characterized by oriental references that come back in the mullioned windows, in the columns, in the carvings and in the characteristic rose windows that draw the Star of David. The interior has three naves: the two side aisles are surmounted by women’s galleries. The floor is mosaic. The decorations are limited to geometric figures or plant shapes. The apse, preceded by an arch decorated with mosaics, emphasizes the Holy Ark, with the pink granite aedicule, surmounted by the Tables of the Law. At the center of the balcony a bundle of ears, symbol of the Community. The construction of the temple began in 1908 but the official delivery to the community and the inauguration took place in June 1912.
Over the decades, the Temple, of German rite, has been a witness and also a victim of all the events that involved Trieste Jews and the entire city during the period of the fascist racial laws promulgated in 1938 and at the time of the Nazi occupation of the city. Smeared on the outside for the first time in October 1941 with insulting phrases by the fascists, it was also heavily devastated internally on 18 July 1942 by a group of squadrists.
With the Nazi occupation, in 1944 the synagogue was transformed into a warehouse for Jewish goods and was further damaged inside. In June 1945 the reopening ceremony of the Temple in front of the allied forces marked the return to life of the survivors of the local Jewish community;
In 2000, some stained glass windows of the temple damaged by the 1976 earthquake were replaced and in June 2012 the Community celebrated the first centenary of the Temple together with all the citizens. In the Via San Francesco complex there are also the offices of the Community, the library, the historical archive and the mikveh (ritual bath).

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