Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view

Kenesa in Vilnius


CNV00018_5This is a Kenesa or Persian synagogue built in 1922 for the Karaims (or Karaites) who originally came from what was Mesopotamia (now Iraq).

Kenesa comes from the Aramaic word for assembly and is the source of the Hebrew word for synagogue beit knesset and the name of the Israeli parliament the Knesset.

The Lithuanian Karaims are believed to have come from Crimea near the Black Sea  to serve as the Grand Duke’s elite bodyguard in the 14c.

There were several of these kenesas built in Lithuania in the 14c but now there are only two; this one across the river from the parliament buildings on Liubarte street (not far from the Orthodox church) and one in Trakai, where there are also Karaim exhibits in the castle museum. And don’t forget the origins of the kibinas!

The Karaims survived the holocaust during the Nazi occupation as they aren’t technically jewish because  they don’t follow the Talmud but still suffered as a minority (and there are perhaps only 500 still existing in Lithuania).

Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

2 thoughts on “Kenesa in Vilnius

  1. Whilst acknowledging the wonders of the kibbini one has to remember that it was introduced into Europe by Cornish sailors and then “adopted” by various natioalities throughout continetal Europe and parts of Asia………but its origins were in Britain and more pre isely Cornwall.

  2. Pingback: Karaim in Trakai | Man patinka Lietuva

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