Beit Alfa Synagogue
The Beit Alfa Synagogue is an ancient Byzantine-era synagogue located in Heftziba, at the foot of Mount Gilboa in northern Israel. It was constructed in the 6th century CE and is famous for its mosaic floor which was uncovered in 1928.

A courtyard, separated by an entranceway, led into a central nave, measuring 5.4 metres wide. The building also contained a second-floor balcony and an additional room. The synagogue is aligned south-west, facing Jerusalem. A hoard of 36 Byzantine coins were found in a shallow depression in the floor apse.

The mosaic was discovered in 1928 by Jewish farmers digging an irrigation ditch below Mount Gilboa in the Valley of Jezreel. Professor Elazar Sukenik from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem was called to supervise the subsequent excavations of the synagogue in 1929. Two inscriptions were found on the entryway floor. The Greek inscription is in memory of the artists who made the mosaic, Marianus and his son Hanina. The Aramaic inscription reads: This mosaic was laid in the year of the reign of Justinian the emperor for the sum of one hundred measures of wheat donated by the people of the village. The central nave floor is divided into three panels: a depiction of the Binding of Isaac; a representation of the sun pulled by a star chariot surrounded by the constellations and signs of the zodiac; and a tableau representing the Temple of Jerusalem and religious objects associated with Judaism. The zodiac has the names of the twelve signs in Hebrew. In the center is Helios, the sun god, being whisked away in his chariot by four galloping horses. The four women in the corners of the mosaic represent the four seasons.


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