Archeoderi Archaeological Park holds significant evidence of Calabria’s history.
The land of Calabria, with its thousands-years-old history, has been visited by all the Mediterranean peoples. All of them have found means of sustenance here, leaving behind traces of their presence.
The Jews deserve special mention.
Traces of Jewish Settlements in Calabria
The Jews deserve special mention. Their presence in Calabria is evidenced by numerous references, in documents and in the many household tools found almost everywhere in the region. But the most amazing proof of their presence, and a visitor’s must, are the monumental traces of a Jewish settlement preserved in Archeoderi Archaeological Park, in Bova Marina.
These Jews lived stably in this most southern tip of Italy, where they also built a synagogue. The remains of this Synagogue came to light during excavations triggered by accident. The patterns and depictions of a mosaic floor have allowed archaeologists to identify this place of worship as a Synagogue.
Archeoderi and the Oldest Synagogue in Italy
This is the oldest Synagogue in Italy, after the one in Ostia: dating back to the 4th century A.D., its mosaics depict typical Jewish worship items a seven-branched candelabrum, a ram’s horn, Solomon’s knot, a cedar. But what was a synagogue doing in the deepest part of Calabria?
San Pasquale – the site where it was built – is a bay with very ancient traces of human settlements. In this site there used to be shrines of other cults as well. It was thus an important place, where the presence of man was closely linked to the benevolence of deities.
In this place in Roman times there was a rest station; finds of Italic inhabitants before the Greeks have been found here; the name ‘Deri’ itself suggests the toponym ‘Delia’, a city of which no traces have yet been found.
What is certain is that a sea current flowing from Alexandria to Egypt and crossing the Mediterranean reaches this very part of the coast. Its natural position might have made it the logical site for a Jewish settlement, perhaps of Alexandrian Jews, who used it as a landing point before sailing off again to the Western and Northern Mediterranean.
Wouldn’t it be nice imagining to be part of an affluent community gathered to the sound of the horn praying to their God! Yet another testimony to the multicultural wealth of Calabria.