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Ein Gedi's Ancient Synagogue

Touring Israel

Ein Gedi is an oasis in the Judean Desert of Israel, situated west of the Dead Sea. This place holds historical and religious significance for Jews and Christians alike, thanks to the ancient synagogue discovered there in the 1970s. The synagogue, dating back to the 3rd or 4th century CE, is one of the oldest synagogues in Israel and has provided valuable insights into the early Jewish communities in the region.

Ein Gedi’s Ancient Synagogue was discovered by chance in 1970 during excavations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The excavations uncovered the remains of a Jewish village that dated back to the Roman and Byzantine periods. Among the structures unearthed, the synagogue was the most significant due to its ornate mosaic floors and walls decorated with colorful frescoes.

An Inscription Thanking the Donors for the Repair of the Synagogue in Aramaic From the Synagogue in Ein Gedi, On Display at the Hecht Museum in Haifa.
Credit: Hanay, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ein Gedi’s Ancient Synagogue was built using traditional local materials, such as limestone and basalt, and was designed to face Jerusalem. The synagogue’s interior is decorated with frescoes depicting biblical scenes, such as the binding of Isaac and the story of Jonah and the whale. The walls also bear inscriptions in Hebrew and Aramaic, with some inscriptions mentioning the synagogue donors’ names.

A Burnt Scroll Found at the Site Was Deciphered in 2015 With the Help of CT Technology, and It Turned Out That the Scroll Contained the Beginning of the Book of Leviticus and It Dates to the Sixth Century.

Epihraphic Mosaic From the Floor of the Synagogue, On Display at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.

A Treasure of 5,000 Coins From the 4th Century Dated to the Time of Justinian II (565-578) Was Also Found There. This May Have Been the ‘Charity Box’ of the Synagogue, Bronze Cup, Ornaments Embroidered With Gold Threads and Leaves, and Another Tiny Seven-Caned Lamp Made of Silver.

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve 
Judaean Desert Tour - Ein Gedi Ibex

Ein Gedi’s Ancient Synagogue is a testament to the rich history of Jewish settlement in the region and its builders’ impressive artistry and craftsmanship. Today, visitors can explore the synagogue ruins and gain insight into the daily life and religious practices of the ancient Jewish community that once lived there.


Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

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