The Great Synagogue of Basel was built in 1868.
But, it says on the plaque, the first synagogue of Basel existed already in 1200.
A friend took me to Basel on a cold gray day in December.
We looked at the exterior of the impressive building but everything was locked up.
It was a Shabbat afternoon and not a soul was to be seen.
But we can learn from the Jewish Virtual Library website that
the Great Synagogue is a national landmark. The synagogue, first built in 1868, was expanded and renovated several times over the past century-and-a-half. The Great Synagogue, at Leimenstrasse 24, houses two synagogues, a choir, mikveh, and is beautifully designed. Next door to the synagogue is the community center, library, and day school.That website, by the way, tells the not always happy history of Jews in Switzerland since the Middle Ages; very interesting, and not what you'd expect.
The nice website of the Basel Jewish Community, however, paints a rosy picture of today's Jewish situation:
Around 2000 Jews live in and around Basel, a dynamic commercial and industrial city with a rich culture and located in the heart of Europe. Founded over 200 years ago, the Israelitische Gemeinde Basel (IGB) is one of the largest Jewish communities in Switzerland. It is equipped with all the necessary organizations and a well-developed infrastructure. The community is an institution under public law, and legally on equal terms with the churches. As a so-called united community, the IGB includes Jewish members of any religious orientation. It is run according to the rules of the Halacha.
While the majority of the members of the IGB identify with a non-practicing direction of Judaism, there is still a vibrant religious life in this Community. Daily Shacharith as well as Minchah and Ma’ariv services are carried out. Before the Shacharith service, a Daf Yomi takes place daily. On almost all shabbat mornings, the Synagogue Choir Basel contributes to the service. The IGB is one of the few communities in Europe, in which all shabbat as well as Yom Tov services are led by a full-time and professional chazan [cantor].
You can click on my photos a few times to see the details.
And don't miss panoramic views of the interior at Synagogues360.
UPDATE: The building has undergone many changes in its long history, including the addition of the two domes. Here is how it looked in 1930:
(photo source: http://dbs.bh.org.il/image/the-great-synagogue-in-aulerstrasse-basel-switzerland-1930).
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday, ABC Wednesday and Our World Tuesday.)