During the 5th Century AD there was a large and wealthy Jewish community that lived in Saranda (Ancient name: Oncheasmos); the only remains of this can be found at the Synagogue Complex in the center of Saranda, just near the city hall.

These old ruins represent what was once a community center and old school used for bible studies. During the 6th Century the buildings were converted into a basilica but later destroyed either by an earthquake or by Slavic invasion.

Initial excavations to the the site were conducted in 1984 when Albania was under Communist rule. Later, further excavations were made by the Hebrew University Institute of Archaelogy and the Albanian Academy of Sciences.

[adsense]Many different mosaics and other different Jewish symbols can be found at the site even today, noticeably the seven-branched candelabrum surrounded by citrons (lemons) and a ram’s horn. These can be seen on the two mosaic pavements.

Other mosiacs which can be seen include animals, trees, religious characters and a structure/shrine.

Further Reading: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041020094144.htm

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