Synagogue of 1532
The Sataniv Synagogue is a monument of urban planning and architecture of national importance in Ukraine.
The exact date of construction of the synagogue is unknown. According to one version, it was built in 1514, according to another, it dates back to 1532. Built in the Renaissance style. Stone with buttresses, decorated with an attic with loopholes and arches, it rose on a hill and served as a defensive object to protect the outskirts of the town from uninvited "guests".
The height of the building is 10 meters, and the floor is much below the ground level. There are two explanations for such a characteristic feature of the construction of a religious building. According to one version, during the time of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it was forbidden to build any temples higher than the local church. According to another version, this was done so that the setting corresponded to the well-known prayer "from the depths of the earth we turn to you, Lord..." However, the Synagogue of Satan was not only a religious building where religious ceremonies were held. Residents of the community gathered in it, and judicial proceedings were held.
The first general reconstruction of the synagogue was done in 1754. This is evidenced by the inscription on the cartouche above the entrance. It was then that the new Aron - Ha-kodesh - the so-called "Ark of the Sanctuary", the arch in which the Torah scrolls were kept, was built. The symbolism of the "Aron Kodesh" itself is quite interesting: it is crowned with a crown - a symbol of God, the lions below symbolize the Jewish people, and the columns are a reference to the destroyed Jerusalem Temple.
"Aron-kodesh" has been almost completely preserved to this day. In some places it still has remnants of paint. A different fate befell the interior decoration of the temple. In the 1930s and 1970s, during Soviet times, a granary was built in the premises of the former synagogue. Due to significant changes in humidity, the plaster, decorated with a colorful ornament, almost completely flew away.
For more than half a century, the synagogue was not used and gradually fell into disrepair. Caring residents of the community single-handedly took care of the building to prevent the Jewish shrine from disappearing. In 2015, thanks to patrons, as well as the efforts of the Polish and Jewish communities, the architectural monument was completely restored, as well as the area around it. Nearby, a mikvah was built for holy ablution, in accordance with the commandments of the Torah.
Like any landmark with more than half a thousand years of history, the Satanivskaya Synagogue is shrouded in legends and tales. It is only worth remembering about the bridegrooms executed by the Cossacks of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, about the mysterious voices whispering prayers at night, asking the Lord for mercy and salvation...
Talks about the mysterious passages leading from the dungeons of the synagogue to unknown worlds do not subside. Some claim that the underground passage leads to the castle located not far outside the town, others say that it runs under Zbruch and has an exit far away in the Ternopil region. There is even an assumption that the passage from the dungeon of the Satanic Synagogue ran all the way to Jerusalem itself...
Investigations of the underground passages are still ongoing. Someday they will tell us their story...