Chorazin's ancient synagogue was first excavated in 1905-1907 by a German expedition headed by H. Kohl and C. Watzinger, and in the 1920s and in 1939 by the Mandatory Department of Antiquities and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After 1962, extensive excavations and reconstruction were conducted by Z. Yeivin of the Department of Antiquities. The synagogue was built in the center of the town, on an elevated platform, in close proximity to the ritual bath and amidst residential buildings.
The ancient Jewish town of Chorazin was built at the edge of a basalt hill, broken abruptly on its west by the Chorazin Wadi, which carries a large quantity of water into the Kinneret in winter. The houses were built along the slopes on both sides of a main north-south road. Most houses were adjacent to one another, forming residential units or quarters, separated by narrow lanes.
Many synagogues have been uncovered in the Galilee. The earliest among them, such as Chorazin and Bar'am, date to the 3rd and 4th centuries CE. These had stone paving and an entrance facing south (toward Jerusalem).The later ones, such as Hammat Tiberias and Bet Alpha, date to the 5th and 6th centuries and usually had mosaic pavements.
This synagogue was probably built in the early 4th century CE, a period of
extensive synagogue building in the Galilee. Devastated by an earthquake, its building was discontinued, but it was later restored and used as a synagogue until the 8th century.
The synagogue had twelve columns arranged in a U-shape, subdividing its interior into 4 spaces - a large central hall, surrounded by three narrow aisles. The columns supported the central ceiling and high roof.
Windows, installed in the upper sections of the building, provided light and ventilation.
The synagogue is 23 meters long from north to south and some 17 meters wide. In its southern section a monumental staircase ascended to the open square in front of the entrance.
The entrance faced Jerusalem. Its facade was lavishly decorated, including a richly adorned gable, the reconstruction of which now stands near the entrance. Worshippers entered via three doorways - a high, wide central entrance and two smaller lateral ones.
The bimah and the Torah Ark were set inside the hall on either side of the main entrance. Worshippers sat on benches placed alongside the walls and turned toward Jerusalem during prayer.
The synagogue functioned not only as a place of worship but also as a center for the community. Public meetings were held here and people would gather to discuss political and social issues, as well as study the Bible and pray.