Korazin dates back to Byzantine period. The old synagogue and several houses have been reconstructed. The town flourished in the third and early fourth centuries, when its population was estimated at 5,000. The town was destroyed in the fourth century probably by an earthquake, and rebuilt in the fifth or sixth century. In recent years many significant buildings have been reconstructed.
Mikva – The Ritual Bath
The mikva is about 60 meters past the entrance.
Just past the mikva and the to the right follow the path which bears right to the front of the synagogue. The original structure was built of black basalt; the restored portion is gray. Its decorative cornices are similar to those at Kfar Nachum. The synagogue’s outer walls are of finished stone, while the unfinished stone inside was plastered and probably frescoed. It faces south, toward Jerusalem, with a courtyard in front.
Inside, the stone on the left along the wall is engraved with an arch and the top scooped out, may have been for incense. The shell and doorway motif on the far wall facing the entrance is common in synagogues and Roman temples. A stone chair bearing the inscription, ‘This is the chair of Moses,’ was uncovered here. The chair and the inscription have been removed to museums.
Exit the synagogue and walk toward the sign reading , ‘view of the southern part of town.’ The hill ahead and to the left is how the site looked before excavation. Turn right and walk to the town’s western quarter. The grey line on the restored houses indicates the original and reconstructed portions of the walls.
The industrial area begins at the oil press. The Mishna (Baba Batra 2:9) prescribes confining industries to the edge of town, so that unpleasant smells would be carried away from the homes.
Return the way you came, pass the synagogue’s right wall, turn right at the fountain and enter the ‘town centre’ at the blue arrow pointing right. If rains did not begin in early winter, fasts were decreed and the Torah was brought into the courtyard for public prayers and calls to repentance. (Mishna, Taanit 2:1)
Relations between neighbours
Visit the restored houses east of the synagogue. Many homes shared common courtyards. Privacy was ensured by laws forbidding construction of windows opposite a neighbour’s window. If noise of craftsmen working in the courtyard bothered the neighbours, the craftsmen could be forced to relocate. If there was a school in the courtyard, even if children made noise the neighbours were forbidden to close the school. Other laws cover common walls and their maintenance. (Mishna, Baba Batra ch.2)
The rabbis ruled that trees should be planted in towns, and that scholars were permitted to live only in towns with a law court, an organized charity (money and food were collected daily), synagogue, a mikva a public toilet a rare amenity in those days!), a doctor, a scribe, a shochet licensed to slaughter animals for food according to ritual), and schools. (Sanhedrin 17b)