Jul 03

Christian holy sites in the Galilee – Holy Land Christian Sites

Christian Holy Sites in the Galilee

The Galilee area is where Jesus grew up and began his teachings. Many of the miracles that He performed were in this region. There are a number of prominent Christian holy sites in the Galilee.

Yardenit

The revered Baptismal site of Yardenit (meaning “little Jordan” in Hebrew) is visited by many thousands of Christian pilgrims every year when touring the Holy Land. A large number of whom choose to have second baptisms or rededications at this charming location.

This significant site is located in a beautiful setting on the banks of the Jordan River, not far from where it flows out of the Sea of Galilee on its way to the Dead Sea, and is set amongst splendid eucalyptus trees and other natural river plant life which makes it an idyllic spot for recollection in peace and calm.

Church of the Annunciation

Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth

photo: www.goisrael.com

The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth was consecrated in 1969 and was built over the Byzantine and Crusader foundations and is today the central point of Christian and Catholic pilgrimages to the holy land.

The remains of the previous churches are visible in the lower church which is centered on the Cave of the Annunciation which is believed to be the place where the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to Jesus.

The beautiful very large upper Church is decorated with mosaics of the Virgin that worldwide communities have donated and is noted for its 55 meter concrete dome, shaped like a Madonna lily, which is a symbol of the Virgin Mary.

Tabgha

Tabgha originates from the Greek word Heptapegon meaning “seven springs” and
is located in a tranquil cove on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes and not far from Capernaum. According to the Gospels this is where the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes took place that fed a multitude. It is also remembered for Jesus’ third appearance to his disciples after his resurrection.

Church of Transfiguration

photo: www.goisrael.com

Mount Tabor

This gently inclined mountain, approximately 1800 feet high, located in the Jezreel Valley to the west of the Sea of Galilee attracts numerous pilgrims visiting the holy land, due to its importance in both the Old and New Testaments alike.

Mount Tabor is also known as the Mount of the Transfiguration because of the belief that it is the place that Jesus was recognized as the Son of God.In 1919 the building of the “Church of the Transfiguration” an imposing Catholic church began on the peak of Mount Tabor. Aside from this Franciscan Church there is also a more modest Church dedicated to the prophet Elijah.

Capernaum

Capernaum

photo: www.goisrael.com

This ancient fishing village is located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and is the place where Jesus first began to preach in the ancient synagogue and where he made his home during the years of his ministry after leaving Nazareth and is often referred to as Jesus’ “own city”. Many miracles occurred here and it is here that “walking in the footsteps of Jesus” takes on an awesome meaning.

Excavations have uncovered the original synagogue and the surrounding ruins are powerful reminders of Jesus’ life. An interesting feature is Peter’s house which was a minimal dwelling similar to others unearthed in the village and yet differs because of the many inscriptions and blessings written on the walls by pilgrims showing both Jesus’ and Peters names.

Today the ruins are owned by the Franciscans who manage the western part including the synagogue and the Greek Orthodox Church whose portion includes the white church with red domes.

 

Banias waterfall - Caesarea Philippi

photo: www.goisrael.com

Caesarea Philippi- Banias

The ancient site of Caesarea Philippi (Banias) is a place of extreme natural beauty as well as having an exciting history with an express connection to Jesus’ life as it is the place where he asked his disciples to tell him who people believed him to be.

It is located 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee at the base of Mt. Hermon and it is here that one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River is to be found and the plentiful water supply has resulted in lush vegetation and beautiful shady hiking trails as well as interesting archeological remnants from a variety of time periods.

When visiting Israel don’t forget to make sure to visit these Christian holy sites in the Galilee.

 

Apr 21

Israel – Northern Israel – Cities and Sites

Cities and Sites in Northern Israel

The North of Israel comprising of  the Golan Heights and the Galilee region is filled with Jewish and Christian Biblical and historical places of interest. There are an abundance of National Parks and archeological excavations as well as beautiful scenery and rich plant life.

The Sea of Galilee area and Nazareth are of particular interest to Christian Pilgrims who flock here every year to visit the sites where Jesus grew up and performed his miracles.

The whole North of Israel is full of spectacular views and during spring the flowers that bloom  cover the ground with beautiful colors.

Lake Kinneret

Choose a city or site in the North of Israel and click on the  link to read more about it.

Acre
Atlit

Banias
Caesarea

Capernaum
Golan Heights

Haifa

Megiddo

Metula

Nahariya

Nazareth
 

Rosh Hanikra
Safed

Tiberias

Zicron Yaakov

Apr 01

Israel – biblical and historical sites – Capernaum (Kfar Nahum)

Capernaum (Kfar Nahum) is situated on the shores of Lake Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee), in the north of Israel. This ancient fishing village was inhabited between the years of 150 BC up to approximately AD 750.

Capernaum in IsraelCapernaum is mentioned a number of times in the New Testament however the earliest references to the ancient town were made by the Jewish historian Josephus who at the time of the Jewish-Roman war spent a night there and wrote about a connection with the village to a fertile spring.

Remains of a Synagogue in Capernaum IsraelIn 1838 the biblical scholar Edward Robinson while visiting the holy land identified correctly the remains of a synagogue at the place that is now known to be Capernaum. A partial excavation took place around 1865 but it was only in the early 20th century that more extensive excavations began to take place and the Synagogue was partially restored.

More recently it has been discovered that there were in fact two synagogues, the earliest from the first century CE and built from Black Basalt, the later one built sometime around the 4th century CE and built from white limestone. A major discovery was also made of a house believed to be St Peters house and an octagonal church.

The Franciscans and Greek Orthodox Church own and control the ruins. The area itself is considered holy by Christians and Jews alike however it has special interest for Christians because Jesus made it his home after he left Nazareth and the place where he performed a number of miracles.  He also chose his first four disciples from Capernaum, Peter, Andrew, James and John, and later on Matthew.The modern Franciscan church was built in 1990 on the site of St Peters house.Capernaum with and the Sea of Galilee in the background

The area of the Capernaum National Park is operated under the auspices of The Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the archeological part with the ruins is managed by the Franciscan Church. The Parks authority has constructed a walkway of about 3 ½ km connecting Capernaum to the Taghba churches that are situated nearby as well as a landing for boats that bring visitors from Tiberias.

When Pope John Paul II was in the Holy Land in March 2000, he paid a visit to Capernaum.

Feb 15

Israel – Cities in North Israel – Nazareth

The Israeli city of Nazareth is located in Northern Israel in the heart of the Galilee region. Approximately 25 km from the Sea of Galilee and 9 km from Mount Tabor, it is the largest Arab city in Israel inhabited by both Christian and Muslim Israeli Arabs. There are also many Jewish Israelis living in Upper Nazareth.

View of NazarethNazareth is regarded as “the Cradle of Christianity” because it was here, according to tradition, that the angel Gabriel announced to Mary the news of her conception by the Holy Spirit’s power. It was also the place where Jesus spent the years of his childhood and youth.  Most people who come on a tour of the Holyland will visit Nazareth.

Basilica of Annunciation Nazareth, IsraelAbout 2000 years ago Nazareth was a small Jewish village which, during the Byzantine period, became a Christian stronghold and soon became a very popular place of pilgrimage because of its connection to Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Soon the building of churches began, the first being that of the Church of the Annunciation which was placed at the site of the home of Joseph and Mary. Many churches were built over the years, destroyed and rebuilt as the rulers changed from Christian to Muslim over the centuries.

The 19th century bought about renewed interest as Christians returned to take up residence in Nazareth and began to rebuild the Churches and monasteries.  Today there are approximately 30 churches as well as mosques and ancient synagogues. The Basilica of the Annunciation heads the list of places to see. It is modern and was consecrated in 1969 after being built over the foundations of previous structures from the Byzantine and Crusader periods. The dome of the Basilica rises 55 meters high and shaped like a Madonna lily which symbolizes the Virgin Mary.

Other places to visit in Nazareth are St Joseph’s Church located next to the Basilica of the Annunciation. This church has an underground cavern that is believed to contain Joseph’s workshop and the Synagogue Church traditionally thought to have been the original synagogue where Jesus studied, prayed and preached when he was young.

The Nazareth Village is well worth a visit. It is a reconstruction of Jewish lifestyle at the time of Jesus and what Nazareth was like 2000 years ago. Visitors are greeted by authentically dressed inhabitants and the parables of Jesus are brought to life in their original setting.

A tour of Nazareth’s old city is completed by a visit to the market with its colorful souvenir, artwork, spice as well as lovely fabric stalls and enjoying some of the local foods. Your authentic Middle Eastern experience will be complete.

Accommodation is available in Christian Hostels and excellent Hotels to serve the needs of the tourists who visit the area in large numbers especially around Christmas time when the city is really beautiful with wonderful decorations and its holy ambience. There are also many restaurants serving delicious foods that attract visitors throughout the year.