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Bevis Marks is a road in central London, on the edge of the City of London and the East End.

It's also the informal name for a Synagogue more properly known as the "The Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Congregation" in London. The most important thing to note is that, opened in 1701, it's the oldest Synagogue in England that's still in use.

Jews were first recorded in England back as long ago as William the Conquerer but were expelled by Edward I in 1290. Many Jews in Catholic countries outwardly converted during the Inquisition but were still secretly Jewish, and in the early 17th century some of them came to live in London, albeit still officially forbidden to practise.

In 1655/1656, some of these Jews approached Oliver Cromwell to repeal this law, which he effectively did, and the first Jewish place of worship was opened not far from where the Bevis Marks Synagogue is now. Finally the current Synagogue was opened nearly 50 years later, where it still stands.

The IRA terrorist bomb in the City in 1992 damaged the Synagogue, but nearly a quarter of a million pounds was raised for repairs and renovations.

Inside the Synagogue is nothing short of beautiful, all wood with candles providing the light - the only electric lights are for emergency use. That said, it's not the most comfortable place to be, with the seats being mainly wooden benches. There's also a number of symbolic things around the Synaogue - for example, there are 7 candelabras - 6 small ones for Sunday to Friday, and a larger 7th one representing Shabbat in the middle.

The Synagogue is part of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogues, and follows the Sephardi traditions that these Jews historically do.

Having been there only once for a service (my cousin's Wedding), as it gets darker outside, and the candles (hundreds of them) light up the building, it is nothing short of spectacular.

The Synagogue has also recently opened a smart Kosher Restaurant within its grounds.

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