Yitzhak Magen

In the suburbs of the city of Samaria lies the El-Khirbe synagogue, the first Samaritan synagogue to be excavated (in 1990) within the region of Samaria. The facade of the fourth-century C.E. building faces Mt. Gerizim, rather than Jerusalem—a clear sign that this is a Samaritan synagogue.

Six-foot-thick side walls supported the roof. A paved atrium led to the entrance in the eastern wall. In the photo, a man sits in the western end of the building, on the higher of two tiers of benches that enclosed the hall. A colorful mosaic once covered the floor before him.