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Remains of Great Synagogue of Vilna Unearthed

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lithuania Vilna Synagogue Mikva Floor


VILNIUS, LITHUANIA—Archaeologists have unearthed remains of underground ritual baths at the Great Synagogue of Vilna, according to a report from Haaretz. The synagogue was completed in 1633 and, since it was not allowed to be taller than the city’s churches, it rose only three floors aboveground, but extended another two stories underground. The Nazis occupied Lithuania in June 1941, and burned and ransacked the synagogue later that year. The Russians razed the building in 1965 as part of an effort to erase all vestiges of the Jewish people from the city. The excavation, led by Jon Seligman of the Israel Antiquities Authority, followed a late nineteenth-century architectural plan for restoring the ancient bathhouse. The archaeologists found just two ritual baths, known as mikvehs, and are unsure whether more remain. To read about another recent discovery in Vilnius, go to “The Grand Army Diet.”