Etz Hayyim Synagogue, Chania

The Etz Hayyim Synagogue is the only surviving remnant of the once Romaniote Jewish community on the Greek isle of Crete. After being restored, the synagogue has become a tourist destination and has attracted visits from foreign dignitaries like Queen Sofía of Spain, the sister of the former King Constantine II of Greece, who made a sudden and unannounced visit to the site on March 6, 2006.
The synagogue was the target of an arson attack by a British citizen in January 5, 2010.
Today the community is a symbol of a good living together. The community life has revived while almost all congregants are Non-Jews. Occasionally a Rabbi or someone who is able to blow the shofar visits the community. An International team takes care of the congregation work. Christians and Muslims are invited to visit the meetings and in opposition to other Jewish Congregations in Europe, the visitors have not to show their passport at the entrance.
Despite of the community's romaniote past, the congregation today uses primarily the sefardic custom of Greece and has developed its own Haggadah text.
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Etz Hayyim Synagogue Reviews
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84 reviews
  • We went because of our interest in Jewish hsitory in general and in Jewish history in the Mediterranean. Would have liked a little more quality explanation of the history of the Synagogue.  more »
  • This Etz Hahaim Synagogue is the only remaining synagogue of the once vibrant Jewish community of Crete. The synagogue dates back to the 15th century, but was abandoned with the Nazi deportation of...  more »
  • Very interesting history and nice tour guide answered questions.
  • A beautiful synagogue. Very plain but well worth a visit
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