Archeologist Justinas Račas told BNS Lithuania that the researchers’ key goal this year to specify the location of the former Great Synagogue of Vilnius, its yard and continue researching the complex of ritual baths, the mikvahs.
Last year, archeologists completed the research of one of the baths, found a staircase and one corner of the synagogue.
“We’ll try to look into how much the existing kindergarten has damaged the synagogue,” Račas said. “In the central part of the Great Synagogue, there was the so-called Bimah – a raised platform with four columns. It was the most sacred place in the synagogue. We will uncover this area and look into how much of it remained.”
Vilnius Municipality said earlier that following the completion of the research work, a special workshop on the presentation of the Great Synagogue of Vilnius’s heritage will be held and the surrounding territory will be maintained.
The Great Synagogue of Vilnius was built in 1633 on the foundations of an older 16th-century synagogue. But the remains of the synagogue and other ritual and communal buildings were damaged considerably during WWII and were flattened in 1955–1957. A kindergarten was built on top of it in 1964.