The third oldest synagogue in Kraków, the High Synagogue was completed in 1563, and is unique for having its prayer room upstairs; it’s widely theorised that this was a safety precaution to protect the congregation from unfriendly neighbours. The design didn’t save it from being the subject of arson during WWII sadly, and today no furnishings remain. The upstairs prayer room has retained some original details, however, including the Holy Ark, two golden griffins have survived above the Aron Kodesh, and some of the murals have been restored. The size of the high-ceilinged room and quality of those details that do remain indicate that this was a magnificent space before its destruction. Today admission is paid to go upstairs to the prayer room, where visitors will also see a small temporary museum exhibit. On the ground floor is a large bookstore with books of Jewish interest in a variety of languages.