Standing in the Talmudic era synagogue of
Chorazin and looking down at the light blue waters
of the Sea of Galilee, 900 feet below, one can’t
help but be inspired. Chorazin was one of numerous
towns that thrived in the Galilee – after the
destruction of the Second Temple.
It is probably one of the most beautiful
lesser-known ancient synagogues in Israel and one
that clearly attests to a mastery of stonework, by
those who built it. Built of black basalt, in the
form of a basilica, the imposing structure stands
in an area known in ancient times for the quality
of wheat grown there.
The builders used ingenuity in getting around
some of the limitations presented by their primary
building material. Basalt can become brittle and
break easily – this limited the length of the
beams that could be used – which averaged about
six feet in length, restricting the size of the
rooms that could be built. Internal walls were
built to support these beams while in other
instances a beam was placed between arched
openings (six feet from the wall) and the outer
With two rows of columns along its length and
one row along its width, the synagogue features
lovely carvings; an assortment of Jewish symbols
and has inscriptions in both Aramaic and Hebrew.
It had three entrances with the front facing
south, toward Jerusalem, as was the custom. One of
the interesting finds located on site, is a stone
seat, where the Torah reader sat. It is inscribed
in Aramaic was dubbed the Chair of Moses.
The town of Chorazin was apparently first
occupied in the first or second century CE.
Various dates have been ascribed to the synagogue
at Chorazin. It was apparently built initially in
the late third or early fourth centuries CE. The
town and the synagogue appear to have been
destroyed in the latter part of the fourth century
and were rebuilt in the fifth century.
Most of the ruins visible today are from the
third-fourth centuries CE. The site spans 25 acres
and in addition to the synagogue features a ritual
bath (mikveh), various dwellings, and an olive
press. The ancient synagogue is located in the
middle of Chorazin National Park.
Along with its beautiful synagogue, Chorazin is
also known as one of three cities cursed by Jesus
for not accepting his teachings (see related
article, Pilgrim’s Crossing).
National Park is located on Rt. # 90 (10 minutes
east of Amiad junction) – between Chorazin
junction and Almagor.
Special Event Fees:
Contact the park
Park entry fees:
Individual - adult 14 NIS,
child 6 NIS.
Groups - adult 12 NIS, child 5
October – March – 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM
September – 8:00 Am – 5:00 PM
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