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The synagogue ruins at Ein Nashut

The ancient Jewish community of Ein Nashut was located 3½-km from Katzrin and is of interest because of the surprise factor – namely that its synagogue ruin are in the middle of nowhere – at least nowadays! The villagers were engaged in agriculture, particularly the production of olive oil.

The synagogue at Ein Nashut already existed in the 1st century CE, but was destroyed during the Great Revolt (66-73 CE). It was reestablished a few centuries later. Coins were found in its foundations from 390 CE and under the entrance pavings from 408 to 421 CE, which is during the reign of the Roman Emperor Honorias. The synagogue can therefore be dated from the 5th to 7th centuries CE. It was a custom in those days to bury low value coins in the foundations of synagogues.

 

The synagogue here is a relatively small one with six Ionic columns in two rows. There were impressive sculptured carvings of lions, eagles and a menorah on the capitals, but they were spirited off to the archeological museum in Katzrin. The entrance to the synagogue was from the west. You will notice the benches for seating adjacent to the wall. The ark was on the southern wall facing Jerusalem. We know this because of an impression for an ark in the plaster work and also remains of the lowest step of its niche. In the north-east corner is the base of a staircase that led to a gallery or the roof.

 

The synagogue was part of a village, the ruins of which spread out for about 6 acres. If you follow the path from the synagogue for a short distance, you will come across an olive press within the ruins of a building. The village was destroyed in the 7th century and was not resettled.

DIRECTIONS TO THE RUINS OF THE SYNAGOGUE:

Distance: About ¼ Km each way.

Time: About 8 minutes each way.

Difficulty: It is a relatively easy walk to the ruins, although there are some rocks on the path.

Directions: Enter “Ein Nashut Ancient Synagogue” into Waze. The parking area is just off the main road.

Public transport: This site can be easily reached by public transport, with about a 1.5 Km/18-minute walk from Tzomet North Katzrin. Enter “Ancient Nashut ancient synagogue” into Moovit.

Synagogue ruins.jpeg

The ruins of the synagogue.

  • From the parking lot, go through the green turnstile with a blue marking.

 

  • When you come to a fork in the footpath, take the right fork down to the valley.

 

  • Cross over Wadi Meshushim on a sort-of wooden bridge. Continue ahead and you will soon see the ruins. 

  • Also look for the olive press within the ruins of a building close to the synagogue

 

  • Return to the parking lot the way you came.

Olive press.jpeg

An olive press in the ruins of a building.

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