Dura Europa side wall
The Dura-Europos Synagogue
In 256 CE the Dura-Europos synagogue was filled in to housetop level with an earthen embankment intended to stave off a Persian invasion. The city ‘s defenders may have destroyed the synagogue in the short term, yet they preserved its beautiful wall – paintings for posterity by protecting them from rain and sunlight.
The synagogue, discovered in 1932, consists of a Forecourt and House of Assembly measuring 14 x 8.7 m (please see the plan of the synagogue). The ornate Torah shrine in the western wall faces Jerusalem. Kraeling estimates that the synagogue ‘s benches could seat 65 people. The presence of the wall – paintings on Jewish themes and the Torah shrine help in identifying the building as a synagogue.