October 23, 2017
October 23, 2017


The centuries-old cemetery in Vasile Alecsandri Street is an integral part of the Israelite community in Alba Iulia. It is the oldest in Transylvania and among the oldest in Romania. A record of the cemetery discovered in Alba Iulia suggests it has existed for nearly 300 years. In addition, it was used by both the Sephardic Jewish community of Spanish rite and the Ashkenazi Jews in the area of German influence.

The sacred dimension of the Jewish cemetery is extremely important. As a result, its monuments cannot be affected by human intervention and the tombs can no longer be used again.

One of the most important funerary monuments is the tomb of Rabbi Ezekiel Paneth who built the first brick wall synagogue in Transylvania in 1840.

The funeral stones of the Jewish cemetery are particularly interesting. Not only are they unique due to their shape and size, but also because of the inscriptions, ornamentation and symbols painted into the stone by the original craftsmen.

The cemetery includes 2038 graves and 1960 funerary monuments. Stylistically, most of them contain baroque or neoclassic elements with specific Jewish cultural motifs, such as the ritual washing, the Star of David, and the olive tree.

In contrast to the traditional simplicity of Jewish graves, the most prosperous families in Alba Iulia built monumental crypts in the early 1900s. Their construction reflects the integration of rich Jews into the Hungarian community of Alba Iulia.

The funerary inscriptions were given exclusively in Hebrew until the middle of the nineteenth century, when they were eventually translated into Hungarian and German texts, which were engraved on the backs of the monuments. These updates reflect how Jewish society evolved in step with the dawn of modernity, from conservative tradition to a more open society.