Vilnius Approves Restoration of Jewish Street

Vilnius Approves Restoration of Jewish Street

The city of Vilnius wants to reconstruct historical Žydų or Jewish street and decorate the territory of the former Great Synagogue with architectural accents recalling the 16th century. The Vilnius municipality and the Vilniaus Planas group of architects back in May presented the public proposed projects for the restoration of Žydų street and the Shulhoyf. The Vilnius city municipality approved a project this week.

The contours of historical Jewish street were established more precisely according to the location of fragments of street paving boards discovered. The current street trajectory has changed from the historical one and the proposal is to return it to its original course through the deconstruction and removal of existing street and sidewalk pavement. The paving stones on Stiklių street, which becomes Žydų street, would continue on into Žydų street, according to the current plan.

A unique site at the location are the former synagogue gates. The location of the gates have been determined by comparing historical photographs and art with current archaeological information and old city maps. Although the gates are gone, the project proposes reconstructing the gate pylons with lights so characteristic of the neighborhood using old photographs and artwork. The courtyard formed behind the gates would display a metal relief model of the Great Synagogue and the buildings surrounding it.

Much archaeological work and analysis has also led to the determination of the contours of the Strashun Library and the Gaon’s Kloiz destroyed after World War II. The proposal is to set up a triangular courtyard within the contours of the Strashun Library equipped for tourist groups, events and open-air exhibits. This courtyard would also feature an interactive information stand and the location of former buildings would be indicated using different pavement stones. The corner where the Gaon Kloiz stood would be marked with some ground-creeping landscaping plants with a supporting wall.

Full text in Lithuanian here.