On this Saturday we decided to visit several tourist attractions next to Sea of Galilee A.K.A Kinneret. There are many Christian attractions, let’s start with the first one.
Map of the area:
Church of the Beatitudes
Our first stop was Church of the Beatitudes. Here is a short extract from Wikipedia:
Located on a small hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and built on the traditional site of Jesus delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, pilgrims are known to have commemorated this site since at least the 4th century. In her itinerary of the Holy Land, after describing the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, the pilgrim Egeria (ca. 381 CE) writes, “Near there on a mountain is the cave to which the Savior climbed and spoke the Beatitudes.” The current church sits near the ruins of a small Byzantine era church dating to the late 4th century, which contains a rock-cut cistern beneath it and the remains of a small monastery to its southeast. Part of the original mosaic floor has also been recovered and is now on display in Capernaum. Both Popes Paul VI and John Paul II celebrated Mass at the church during their pastoral visits to the Holy Land.
This is not a big place. We wandered around, took some photos and read a little. The whole visit took us around an hour.
The Bread And Fish Church
Our next stop was The Bread and Fish Church, A.K.A. Church of the Multiplication, which is located within a five-minute drive from Church of the Beatitudes.
The earliest recording of a church commemorating Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is by Spanish pilgrim Egeria circa 380:
Not far away from there (Capernaum) are some stone steps where the Lord stood. And in the same place by the sea is a grassy field with plenty of hay and many palm trees. By them are seven springs, each flowing strongly. And this is the field where the Lord fed the people with the five loaves and two fishes. In fact the stone on which the Lord placed the bread has now been made into an altar. Past the walls of this church goes the public highway on which the Apostle Matthew had his place of custom. Near there on a mountain is a cave to which the Savior climbed and spoke the Beatitudes.
This is also a small compound and you can cover it within half an hour. And close to it you can find the Mensa Domini Church.
Mensa Domini Church
This church is located right on the beach and it commemorates, and allegedly marks the spot, of Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter as chief among the Apostles.
Another nearby attraction is Capernaum.
Capernaum actually stands for two words: “Kfar Nahum” which means “Nahum’s Village”. It’s was a small (population of about 1,500) fishing village during the time of the Hasmoneans.
Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A church near Capernaum is said to be the home of Saint Peter.
Statue of Saint Peter:
Orthodox Church of the Twelve Apostles
Within several minutes drive from Capernaum you can find Greek Orthodox Monastery called Greek Orthodox Church of the Twelve Apostles. The church marks the site of the ancient village of Capernaum, which is an important place in Christianity.
Though the Orthodox Church of the Twelve Apostles is quite small it is beautiful and photographers would appreciate it 😉
Our last stop was Tiberias Promenade. On the promenade, you can find this sign which tells you water level of Kinneret. Up until recent years, most Israelis were very concerned with water level, since Kinneret is a major source of water in Israel. Even today during summer’s hot days of after winter’s rains you can hear in the news what is the water level. I’ve said up until recent years since Kinneret could not supply enough water. And water level dropped constantly. Thus in recent year desalination stations (where sea water converted to regular water) were built. Today, ASFAIK less than half of Israeli’s water is taken from the sea of Galilee (comparing to more than 90% just a decade ago).
Besides this sign, you can find there many restaurants and remains of ancient buildings.
We hoped that Tiberias Promenade would be a nice place for a walk and grab something to eat. But, since it was Saturday almost everything was closed (well, it is not Tel Aviv). And the promenade itself was quite short and looks half abandoned. Maybe on weekdays, it will look better.
Our sightseeing included mostly churches. All of these sites are not big and you can cover each of them in an hour. Plus, most of them are free or almost free (the entrance to Capernaum costs 10 NIS per person). Another convenience is their closeness to each other. Thus, you can visit all of them within one day. Our whole visit lasted about 8 hours.
The bottom line, if you love archeology or religion then consider a half day visit. Moreover, while we were there I saw many buses of organized tours. Thus, you can join one of those.
That’s all for today and I’ll see you in future travels!