Ruins of 5th Century Synagogue in Saranda, Albania

by | Mar 30, 2023 | Travel | 0 comments

Saranda, a beautiful coastal city in Albania, has recently revealed a fascinating piece of history: the remains of a 5th or 6th century AD synagogue. This impressive discovery, just across from the Greek island of Corfu, has been a joint effort between the Albanian Academy of Sciences and the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology.

It’s worth noting that initial excavations of the site were conducted over 20 years ago, during Albania’s Communist regime. However, it wasn’t until recently that these remains were uncovered and explored further. Through their work, the archaeologists have discovered that the synagogue went through a variety of periods of use, with its final transformation into a church.

Of the many exciting finds, two mosaic pavements are particularly noteworthy. The first features a seven-branched candelabrum at its center, along with a citron and a ram’s horn – all symbols associated with Jewish holidays. The second mosaic includes a wide range of animals, trees, and other symbols that allude to Biblical lore, as well as the facade of what may have been a Torah shrine.

The archaeologists have also found additional mosaic pavements that pre-date the synagogue’s construction, and they’re eager to continue excavations in the future. They hope to investigate other parts of the synagogue that still remain covered by modern buildings and streets.

The discovery of this ancient synagogue is a fascinating addition to Saranda’s already rich history. Visitors can now appreciate the city’s layered past, and explore the incredible findings of these dedicated archaeologists. Who knows what other hidden treasures lie waiting to be uncovered in this beautiful coastal city?

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