The Museum of the History of Polish Jews based in Warsaw has begun a project to reconstruct the ceiling of the renowned Ukranian Gwozdziec synagogue in the town of Sanok, southeastern Poland.

The synagogue, built between 1700 and 1731, was a largely wooden structure with an ornately carved and decorated cupola ceiling, resplendent with Hebrew inscriptions and intricately painted images of the zodiacs, animals and vegetation. It was destroyed, along with approximately 200 other wooden synagogues, during the German occupation of Poland in World War II.

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A series of workshops in the nearby town of Rzeszów has already begun recreating and painting the elaborate wooden panels of the original Gwozdziec synagogue and additional workshops on the premises of the Tempel synagogue in Krakow started on Sunday.

An international team of professional carpenters, artisans and architects have come from the US, Canada, Great Britain, Denmark and Poland to help in the construction of the synagogue, which will, when complete, comprise 450 individual pieces of timber measuring 5,000 meters end-to-end.

The completed cupola structure will be installed in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw as a central part of the permanent exhibition.