Exploring Israel: around the Sea of Galilee
Israel is a very impressive and holy destination. There are so many beautiful places: from nature to cities and from traditional to modern. What I’ve heard, there are not many people who think about Israel when planning a trip. However, it’s definitely a destination worth the travel! During my roundtrip through the country I’ve seen many places. In this article, I’ve told you about Caesarea, Nazareth and Tiberias, which I visited the first day of the trip. In this article, I will tell you some more about the places I’ve visited around the sea of Galilee.
Mount of Beatitudes
In the morning of our second day in Israel, we went to the Mount of Beatitudes. This is believed to be the setting for Jesus’ most famous discourse, the Sermon on the Mount and is one of the most beautifully serene places in the country.
The Church of the Beatitudes is located on top of the hill. It was built in 1938 for a Franciscan order of nuns, to a design by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi. The eight sides of the light and airy church represent the eight beatitudes.
Around the church, there is a beautiful garden where you can have a serene walk. From the Mount of Beatitudes, you can have a magnificent view over the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and Capernaum; where I’m going to talk about later.
Boat trip over the Sea of Galilee
After our visit to the Mount of Beatitudes, we went to the Sea of Galilee for a boat trip. It was a very nice and warm day, so it was perfect to go on a boat!
For the ones who don’t know it yet: the Sea of Galilee is actually a lake. If you love boat trips, you should definitely consider to take one over the Sea of Galilee. You have some beautiful surroundings and can enjoy a serene moment.
In the place Tabgha, close to Mount of Beatitudes and the Sea of Galilee, you can find the Church of the Multiplication. In the courtyard of the church, you can find a beautiful olive tree. The church of the Multiplication is a catholic church and it’s seen as the place where Jesus gave food to 5000 people because of the multiplication of the bread.
The church is pretty ‘new’, due to the fact that the old church has been destroyed. The current church has been built between 1980 and 1982, but has still some excavations of the old church.
After Tabgha we visited Capernaum, which is also a holy place. Capernaum was one of the main trading villages in the Gennesaret area which was inhabited by about 1.500 people, from whom many were fishermen.
In the present day, you can visit some places in Capernaum. There is the ancient synagogue, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Bread of Life. Furthermore, in this synagogue Jesus would regularly preach. You can now only see remains of the synagogue, because it was destroyed in the past. You can see the remains, including one complete wall, the ruins of the other walls and several columns.
There is also a place in Capernaum which thought to have been the home of Peter. Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law here and is thought to have lived in this house. There now stands a modern, hexagonal, Franciscan church over the spot thought to have been Peter’s house. There is a glass floor so that you can still see the ancient original church below.
At the end of the day, we went to the Golan Heights and stopped at a place, close to the border of Syria. In the past, these heights used to belong to Syria, but during the war in 1967, Israel conquer the biggest part of the area.
It was very imposing to stand at this place, while you can see that there has been fights in the past. The surroundings showed us that there’s still a huge security around this place. At the moment there’s, like we all know, war in Syria. Our guide told us that sometimes you can see the bombs explode in Syria from the place where we stand. It’s so bizarre to think about the fact that war is so close from where I was standing..
These were the places I’ve visited during the second day of our impressive trip through the Holy Land. Curious about the next days of our trip? Stay stunned! In the next couple of weeks, I will tell you more about it.