Exploring Israel: Caesarea, Nazareth & Tiberias
At the end of June, I went to Israel together with my sister to do a roundtrip through this impressive country. We only had a time of eight days (from which two were travelling), but we’ve seen so many beautiful places during our trip! That’s why I decided to split my trip into several blogposts where in each I will tell you about the places I’ve visited per day.
The first day of our trip, we went to the north of the country. After a day of travelling, we spent one night in Netanya, just above Tel Aviv. The next day, we left early to go exploring the north of Israel. We visited Caesarea, Nazareth and Tiberias.
Not that far from Tel Aviv, you can find Caesarea. It’s one of the most important excavation sites of Israel. Sometimes, Caesarea is also called Maritima, because there are more places with the same name and in this way, people can distinguish the different places. The remnants you can find in the park date from the 3rd Century before Christ until the 13th Century after Christ, when the crusaders settled in the place. The crusaders have made the city a fortified city with thick walls and deep canals. When you go and have a look at the remnants of Caesarea, you can also find a big amphitheatre and hippodrome. It’s also very beautiful to walk through the old port. When you go a little outside of the city, you can find some aqueducts which provided the water supply to Caesarea. The aqueducts are beautifully located at the sea.
I find it very imposing to walk through the ruins of Caesarea. That it’s located next to the sea makes it even more beautiful. There are also some shops and restaurants at the port where you can buy some souvenirs or where you can drink or eat something.
After we visited Caesarea, we drove further towards Nazareth. In this place, we visited the Basilica of the annunciation, which was very impressive. The church is the biggest Christian church of the Middle East and was established at the site where, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Annunciation took place. The annunciation from the angel Gabriël, who told Maria that she would give life to Jezus. At the bottom of the basilica you can find a cave where, as said, Maria lived.
In 570, the construction of the church began. During the centuries, the church have been rebuilt and eventually, the construction was finished in 1969.
At the end of the afternoon, we arrived in Tiberias, where we would spend two nights. In the evening, we decided to walk to the city center of Tiberias. It was a 20 minutes’ walk from our hotel. The city center of Tiberias is located right next to the sea of Galilee, what gives a beautiful view and a very nice and lively little boulevard with many restaurants and bars. The old city center of Tiberias also has some shops, which are easily reachable by foot. During your time, you can also pay a visit to the St. Peters Church. You can enter the church for free in the morning and late afternoon.
Tiberias is a holy place in the Judaism, because of the many graves of, so-called, ‘tzadiks’ (religious figures) and the hot springs. Besides, the sea of Galilee (and some other places around the sea) is very important in Christianity, because the sea of Galilee is the sea where, according to the Bible, Jezus walked over the water.
If you have more time in Tiberias and would like to see more, also outside the city, you can think about visiting Hamat Terveya National Park and the hot springs. These are definitely worth the visit, but approximately 2 kilometres outside the city. Unfortunately, we didn’t had the time to visit these attractions.
Are you curious about the other places I’ve visited during my trip through Israel? Stay stunned; the next few weeks I will keep you updated with new blogposts about Israel.