"Every summer, the joint research team unearths a new piece of the Great Synagogue of Vilnius, showing the importance of this building. This year brought a very exciting moment as we were finally able to see the central part of the synagogue demolished more than 60 years ago, its most important and holiest places," Faina Kukliansky, chair of the Jewish Community of Lithuania and the Good Will Foundation that finance the excavation work.
"Many rabbis and leaders of the Jewish stood on the unearthed floor," she noted.
This year's archaeological excavation has focused on the analysis of the key part of the Great Synagogue as the Aronm Kodesh (an ornamental chamber in the synagogue that houses the Torah scrolls) and the Bimah (a raised platform in a synagogue from which the Torah is read) were fully unearthed during previous excavations.
The Great Synagogue of Vilnius was one of the most important Jewish religious institutions in Eastern Europe and was known as an important Jewish spiritual and educational center giving the name of the Jerusalem of the North to the Lithuanian capital.
The Great Synagogue of Vilnius was built in 1633 on the foundations of an older 16th-century synagogue. The Nazis burnt the synagogue, and its remains were flattened and a kindergarten was built on top of it in the 1950s.