Kenesa

The traditional religious meeting house of the Karaite, there were once 20 of these throughout the Russian Empire including in the Lithuanian towns of Biržai, Kėdainiai, Panevėžys, Trakai, and Vilnius. Only the Trakai and Vilnius kenesas still exist in Lithuania, this one dating from the early 19th century. Kenesas are allegedly similar in layout to synagogues inside, a fact that remains elusive as the Trakai kenesa is seemingly forever locked. Curiously, the Karaite remove their shoes before entering a kenesa, a fact which may or not betray the Turkic (Islamic) origins of the Lithuanian Karaite community.

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