In South Africa initial small numbers of Jews arrived from Britain and Germany in the early 1800s, and the first Hebrew congregation was established in 1841. Between 1880 and 1930, large numbers of Jews began to arrive from Lithuania and Latvia, and their contributions changed the character of the community.
Thousands of Jewish immigrants did not settle in towns, but moved into country districts.
Although some Jewish presence is known to have once existed in at least 1281 dorps and small towns in South Africa, Jewish communities have been traced in 381 of them. One of their first priorities was to build a synagogue and establish a Jewish burial ground. So scores of synagogues were built across the country.
Today, with the scattering of the communities to large cities and other countries, many of the synagogues have been sold and are in use in a different capacity.
Below is a selection of synagogues from across the Western Cape.