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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus



Published: 2022-07-05
             Fragments of window glass. 19th(?) century. Acc. No. VŽM 9144/288
The Great Synagogue of Vilna was built at the end of the 16th century–the beginning of the 17th century and was heavily damaged during World War II. In 1955-1957, by decision of the Soviet authorities, the remains of the buildings of the Great Synagogue and the shulhoyf were demolished.   
Archaeological research was conducted on the territory of the Great Synagogue of Vilna in 2011 and 2016-2021. During the final phase of research, fragments of window glass of various colours were uncovered. 
There is no data on the colours of the interior of the Great Synagogue, since the surviving historical photographs are black and white. However, the colours of the interior of this synagogue had been captured in the works of Marc Chagall (1887–1985), one of the most famous avant-garde painters of the 20th century. It is likely that the fragments of coloured glass found during archaeological research belong to the stained glass windows of the Great Synagogue.
Prepared by Asta Vasiliauskaitė, curator-researcher of archaeological holdings
© Photograph courtesy of Paulius Račiūnas
© From the holdings of VGMJH
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