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Far East largest synagogue renovated in Harbin
2005-06-13 02:27:10 XinhuaEnglish

HARBIN, June 13(Xinhuanet)-- Harbin Synagogu, largest synagogue in Far East region, was opened to the public Monday after a delicate renovation.

Built in 1921 and located in the downtown of Harbin, capital of in China's northernmost Heilongjiang province, the synagogue is the largest and best-preserved one of its kind in the Far East. It can hold about 800 people.

The renovation of the Jewish church started in August 2004 and cost 5 million yuan(about 600,000 US dollars), said Sun Ning the guide of the synagogue.

The renovation work includes the building of a 6.6-meter-high golden dome, the redecoration of the synagogue as well as the repair of the inside equipment, he said.

The renovated synagogue is 23.59 meters high and takes up an area of 2,673 square meters, said the guide.

In recent years, the history and historic relics of Jewish people in China have drawn world's attention, said Li Shuxiao, deputy head of the Jewish Studies Center affiliated to the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences. Many Jewish people came to China to look for the roots of their families and worship their ancestors each year.

In the late 19th century, large numbers of Jewish people began moving to Harbin to avoid harsh discrimination in czarist Russia and in some other European countries.

The number of Jewish people living in Harbin once topped 25,000in the 1920s, making the largest Jewish community in the Far East at that time, Li said. Enditem

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