Kupiškis District Tourism and Business Information Center, VšĮ

The Former Jewish Synagogue (now Kupiškis Municipal Public Library)


According to some sources, the Jewish community in Kupiškis began to form around 17th century. It is confirmed by the fact, that then bishop Mikolajus Pacas issued the permission to build a synagogue in 1682. 2661 Jews lived there (71 percent of the total (3742) population of the town) in 1897. Three synagogues operated in Kupiškis during the interwar period. They stood side by side and formed a semi-enclosed narrow courtyard. Two of them have survived to this day: the Great and Hasidic Synagogues, located near Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius square. The Great Synagogue was not only a place for prayer, but also for community gatherings and Torah studies. Despite all the adversities, the Synagogue functioned until the tragic German occupation. In 2004 a memorial plaque was unveiled in the former synagogue, which listed the names of 820 (the list is still being filled) Jews who died in Kupiškis. In 2021 the reconstruction of the synagogue was completed, after which the building got its former pre-war architectural size and shape. An authentic polychrome decor has been uncovered in the hall. The Kupiškis public library operates in the synagogue since 1950. It stores a huge collection of local history, manuscripts and photographs. The library is also prided to hold the personal 4,000 book collection of the sculptor Juozas Kėdainis. Meetings with writers, book presentations, and various exhibitions are held in the library in present day.