A white decaying building surrounded by a huge blue fence – that’s what you can find in the centre of Slonim, a town in the northwestern part of Belarus. Its old massive walls suggest that once it was a great place and make it worth crossing a thick jungle of various plants surrounding the site.
The mentioned place is the abandoned Slonim Synagogue. Built in 1642, this baroque style building is one of the oldest still existing synagogues in Belarus. It was in use until 1939 and became abandoned due to the World War II which was a tragical period for Jewish community. After the World War II the building was used for the purpuses different from the original one, the last one was storage of the furniture, and since the middle of 90s it’s empty.
This synagogue is a perfect example of how contrastive a place can be. White walls and simple shape of the building is something completely different from its dark and still a litte bit luxurious interior. The mentioned shade of luxury is put on the place by some details, like four columns in the centre of the synagogue forming a bimah, their quite well preserved decorations, the Torah ark, and paintings on the walls or ceiling.
The appearence of the synagogue is not the only contrast of this place. Another one is a huge difference between the beauty and greatness of the building in the past and its current condition. Bare brick walls, lots of rubbish and graffiti – all these are signs that the building is slowly getting closer to the ground.
Once great, today completely forgotten even despite the charm which is not in a hurry to leave this place. That’s just another story about one more site that wasn’t lucky enough to be saved. And one more victory of decay which to doesn’t hesitate to take care of the place – in its own way, of course.