Lajta, unknown architect at the onset of his career that he was, won third prize at the competition for the plans of the synagogue of the Budapest district of Lipótváros in 1899. He had made the plans at the turn of 1898 and 1899 during his stay in London. The assignment was ambitious: the Jewish congregation of Pest wished to have a temple built that would symbolise the identity of the politically emancipated Jewry more effectively than the synagogue in Dohány Street, which, at the time, was wedged in between apartment blocks. This is why they chose the large building site at 19-25 Markó Street (where the building of Pest Central District Court of Justice is standing today) and wanted to erect a monumental detached synagogue building with the capacity of 3600.

Lajta’s ideas for the floor plan gained praise not only from the panel but also the press. The undivided hexagonal interior with two floors of balconies and apses as extensions was a masterly solution for the greatest challenge ahead of the contestants: how to provide an equal number of seats on the balconies for the women as for the men without having to make the balconies too deep while not rendering part of the ground floor unduly dark. Almost all the contestants decided to emphasise the sacred nature of the building and to single it out from the cityscape by adding a large dome. Lajta, however, opted for a Byzantine flat dome in a ’lapidary, archaistic’ style, maybe modelled on that of John Francis Bentley’s Westminster Abbey being built at the time.

Date of planning
1898 - 1899
Original address
IV. Markó utca
V. Markó utca
Jewish Congregation of Pest
Building type
Building status
Competition entry

Other participants' competition entries

Press material