The Sofia Synagogue is the largest synagogue in southeastern Europe and third largest in all of Europe. It is also one of just two functioning synagogues in Bulgaria. Construction began on the synagogue in 1905 and it opened in 1909. Built in a Moorish revival style with Viennese Secession and Venetian elements and an octagonal dome, it resembles the Leopoldstadter Tempel in Vienna, Austria. The interior of the synagogue is richly decorated, with marble columns, colorful Venetian mosaics, decorative wood carvings and a 1.7-ton chandelier that is the largest in Bulgaria. The synagogue has operated continuously since it opened, aside from a period during World War II. Although it can accommodate up to 1,300 worshipers, services today are sparsely attended.
Since 1992, the building has also housed the Jewish Museum of History, which was founded to preserve items related to Jewish culture in Bulgaria. The museum has two permanent exhibitions: The Jewish Communities in Bulgaria and The Holocaust and the Rescue of the Jews in Bulgaria.
Located on Ekzarh Iosif street in the center of Sofia near the Central Market Hall, the synagogue can be reached on foot from many Sofia hotels, from the Serdika Metro station or by streetcar 1, 7, 20 or 22. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.