Arbel Synagogue

0_23 Arbel Synagogue_0057This is one of the oldest synagogues in the world dating back to the Byzantine period. It stands amid the remnants of an ancient Jewish village on the western edge of the Arbel moshav. There is something of a mystical air about it. On one side is the site  of the Horns of Hittin and the other a breath taking view of the Arbel mountain. This Galilean style square synagogue was discovered by H Kohl and C Watzinger.
Notable features include the main entrance, an area built into the wall for the holy ark facing Jerusalem and  the arrangement of the seating.
The door of the synagogue is still standing. It was carved from a massive natural outcrop of limestone, and the synagogue itself situated so as to make use of the stone as a handsome door. It is carved with decorative floral motifs and medallions. A carved groove for a mezuzah can be seen. Three sides of the building had carved stone benches. The two story building had three rows of columns with Corinthian capitals on the first floor and Ionic capitals on the second floor. It was also a site fortified by Daher al-Omar.