Ein Keshatot at Golan Heights, Israel.

© LevT/Shutterstock

Umm Al Kanatir Synagogue

Golan Heights

What's truly extraordinary about this 6th-century synagogue is that after it was destroyed in the great earthquake of 749 CE, the site, because of its remoteness, remained almost completely undisturbed until the 21st century. Because none of the basalt blocks were carried away for reuse elsewhere, archaeologists have been able to reassemble the entire splendid structure using the original stones, with the help of 3D laser scanning, microchip labels and a yellow overhead crane.

The ark, oriented towards Jerusalem, is richly decorated with spread-winged eagles, grape bunches and Jewish symbols such as the menorah, lulav (palm frond) and etrog (a citrus fruit). An underground visitors centre, with spectacular views of the Sea of Galilee, was under construction at the time of research.

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