Hungary has a long – and sometimes fraught – relationship with Jews. Living in the Carpathian Valley centuries before Magyars formed a nation, Jews have been an important part of Hungarian culture, arts, science, business, and politics. The Dohańy Street Synagogue in Budapest is the largest synagogue in Europe (second-largest in the world) and the temple and museum tell the story of Judaism in Hungary.
Budapest was originally two cities, Buda and Pest, split by the Danube River and further divided into districts (there are currently 23). A core part of District VII on the Pest side is where the city’s Jewish population congregated. Residential property on Dohańy Street, owned by the Herzl family, became the site of the synagogue. A son, Theodor Herzl, would go on to be mentioned in the Israeli Constitution as the father of modern political Zionism.