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In this paper we present a middleware for the service oriented architecture, called the Semantic Service Bus. It is an advanced middleware possessing enhanced features, as compared to the conventional service buses. It is distinguished by the fact that it uses semantic description of service capabilities, and requirements towards services to enable more elaborate service discovery, selection, routing, composition and data mediation. The contributions of the paper are the conceptual architecture of the Semantic Service Bus and a prototypical implementation supporting different semantic Web service technologies (OWL-S and WSMO) and conventional Web services. Since mission critical application scenarios (for SOA) involve complex orchestrations of services, we have chosen to utilize semantically annotated service orchestrations as the applications to employ this middleware.