Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Capernaum, Tabgha & Mount of Beatitudes

Israel is not only a land filled with holy sites for the Jewish faith, but also for the Christian and Muslim faiths. When my recent guests were here last week, a Christian and an Episcopalian, they of course wanted to get their fill of everything they could see in a limited amount of time. Somewhere I had never been before was to visit the Christian sites atop the Sea of Galilee, which is exactly where we headed over the weekend (among several other pistops).

CAPERNAUM: Located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum is a place where Jesus is said to have lived and prayed during his lifetime. Main attractions in the area are the ruins of Peter's dwelling where the apostle once lived and also the neighboring synagogue where Jesus is said to have prayed and healed.
 Located atop the Sea of Galilee on the lake's northern coast, Capernaum sure has an idyllic setting if this indeed was a place Jesus once called home.


Here is the entrance to Capernaum's little village, which you saw in an aerial shot in the above images.

 And this is the ruins of Peter's dwelling, on top of which a church has been built in more recent years. This site holds a lot of symbolic healing for people of the Christian faith. The third picture down are the ruins of the synagogue where Jesus is said to have healed his followers.


As you can see, Capernaum sits perched directly on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee, as seen in the images below.


 TABGHA: The quite cove of Tabgha is just minutes away, literally, from Capuernam. It was here that many important Gospel stories took place including the most well-known at this site, the Multiplication of Loaves & Fishes. All those New Testament stories started coming back to me on our visit here.

Christians have marked the miracle of the loaves and fishes with this iconic church, which is the heart of Tabgha. In the church you will find a mosaic with loaves and fish, identifying the spot where the multiplication is believed to have happened.


As you can see, Tabgha, like Capernaum, is situated right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It was brutally hot during our visit there (because the Galilee is located below Sea Level, just like the Dead Sea) and so many people opted to put their feet in the water for a dip. After all, why not go for a dip in the holy waters of the Galilee, Israel's most beautiful body of water?


MOUNT OF BEATITUDES: Even if you're not a Christian, you've probably heard of the Sermon on the Mount, and this spot on the Mount of Beatitudes is exactly where the sermon is believed to have taken place. It is perhaps Jesus' most famous sermon. This setting overlooks both Capernaum and Tabgha, just minutes away by car.  

 The Byzantine style church is the central spot to visit atop the Mount of Beatitudes. As you can see, it's a lovely view looking out over the calming Sea of Galilee.



 And that sums up our visit to the trio of holy sites atop the Sea of Galilee. Not far from here is Tiberius which you can get to easily by car, the largest city in the Sea of Galilee region. If you're ever in Israel and wanting to visit these sites, I will tell you that they're open on Shabbat, which is a luxury because most things are closed on the weekend. Hope you enjoyed seeing this small part of Israel, where I hadn't yet visited previously!

1 comment:

  1. Terrific reporting on the area. We were taken by this beautiful & historic region when we visited many moons ago.


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