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Biblical sites North of Tel-aviv

Basilica of the Annunciation

Basilica of the AnnunciationLocated in Nazareth in the Galilee, 100 Km. from our short term apartments in Tel Aviv.

Nazareth, the home town of Jesus’s parents, Joseph and Mary is the site of the Basilica of the Annunciation.

This relatively new basilica sits on the site of others that came before it and marks the site where, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of Jesus.

From Nazareth, other important Christian sites such as St. Georges Church in Akko (40 Km.), Tabcha (The Sea of Galilee (30 Km.), the Baptismal site (Qasr el Yahud, 30 Km.) and Capernaum (30 Km.) are in easy reach and well worth a visit.

Qasr el Yahud (Baptismal site)

KasserAlYahud4

Located on the banks of the Jordan River, 100 Km. west of Tel Aviv

Situated on the banks of the River Jordan in Judea and Samaria, Qasr el Yahud, in Arabic “Castle of the Jews” is the site where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Christ (Mathew 3, 13-17).

The site is part of larger complex, part of which sits on the Jordanian side of the river.  Access to the site is not always possible and today many Pilgrims use the Yardenit Baptismal Site situated on the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee where the River Jordan begins its journey to the Dead Sea.

Capernaum

Capernaum modern church interior by David Shankbone

Located on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 150 Km. from Tel Aviv, Capernaum was the base for Jesus’s ministry in the Galilee.  It was here that he exorcised a demon from a member of the congregation he was preaching to.

Then a small fishing village with a population of some 1500, Capernaum is mentioned in all the Gospels and is the site of a number of Jesus’s miracles.

Today Capernaum (Kfar Nachum in Hebrew) is a national park (entry is free) where you can see some interesting archeological remains including those of an ancient church and a synagogue.

Of special interest are the remains of what is said to have been the home of Saint Peter.

The area is rich in Christian sites but we especially recommend that you walk south along the 3.5 kilometer promenade which connects Capernaum with Ein Shema (Tabcha).

Tabcha (Ein Sheva)

TabghaLocated on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 150 Km. from Tel Aviv

Just 3.5 Km. south of Capernaum, Tabcha is the site of Jesus’s Feeding of the 5000 where Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The site is marked by the Bread and the Fish Church.

It is also the site of Jesus’s fourth resurrection after which he cooked breakfast for his disciples (John 21, 1 – 24).
Nearby is the Church of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount., the Church of the Primacy of Peter where Jesus reinstated Peter as his chief disciple and Tabgha Pilgerhaus a place of retreat for Christian pilgrims.

Saint Andrew’s Church

Situated in the ancient walled City of Akko some 25 kilometers north of Haifa, and approximately 120 Km. north of Tel Aviv, we find Saint Andrew’s Church. The Greek Orthodox Church occupies a building said to date back to 1765.

According to tradition the church, named after one of the 12 Apostles, is on the site of an ancient Crusader church which sits on the site of an even older synagogue.

The church’s interior has thick stone columns and a decorated wall containing many colorful icons and religious paintings. The church includes a second story that is due to renovated and restored in the near future.

The church also has a magnificent bell tower which rises above the surrounding rooftops. The original bell can still be seen in the courtyard before the tower.

Other churches of interest in Akko include San Andreas Church, the Franciscan Terra Sancta Church, the Maronite Church, Saint John’s Church.

The Church of Saint Joseph

Situated in Nazareth in the Galilee some 100 Km. from Tel Aviv.
The Church of Saint Joseph, not far from the Church of the Annunciation, is also known as the Church of the Nutrition because the church is built over what is reputed to be the house where Jesus lived and grew up with his family as he learned his father’s trade.

Underneath the church there is a cave that was used during Roman times to store water and food.

During the Byzantine period, after the site had become associated with Jesus, it became of worship and baptism.  A Crusader church was built on the site in the 12th century CE.

After being destroyed by the Muslims in 1263 CE, a new church was constructed in 1745 that was later extensively renovated in 1914.

Of particular interest, as well as the magnificent frescos, is the baptismal font with seven steps.  The significance of the steps is that they are said to symbolize steps towards faith – especially poignant as baptisms may well have taken place here even before the first church was constructed.

From Nazareth, other important Christian sites such as St. Georges Church in Akko (40 Km.), Tabcha (The Sea of Galilee (30 Km.), the Baptismal site (Qasr el Yahud, 30 Km.) and Capernaum (30 Km.) are in easy reach and well worth a visit.

Naim

Situated not far from Mount Tabor in the Galilee region and just 114 Km. from Tel Aviv, Naim (also spelt Nein) is one of the less visited Holy Sites.

According to writings dating back to the fourth century CE, this is the site where Jesus resurrected a widow’s dead son who he then reunited with his grieving mother.

This event is only mentioned in one of the Gospels -. Luke 7: 7 – 17.

Early Christian tombs, hewn into solid rock, have been found in the area and a church was first erected by the Crusaders in the 1100 century CE. The present church was built by the Franciscan monks despite objections from the local population in 1880 CE.

Set in the Galilee, many Christian Holy Sites are within easy reach, especially Nazareth that is just 20 Km. to the east and Tiberius just 30 Km. north west.

Close by, on the top of Mount tabor is the Holy Transfiguration Monastery and the Franciscan Monastery, the latter is said to be one of the most magnificent churches in Israel.

Saint George’s Church

Situated in the Mediterranean fishing port of Akko between Haifa and Nahariya in the north, and approximately 120 Km. north of Tel Aviv.  Saint George’s Church is a Greek Orthodox church and is thought to be the first church built in Akko during Ottoman (Turkish) rule.

The church is in honor of Saint George, an early Christian saint who died in 303 A.D.
Other churches of interest in Akko include San Andreas Church, the Franciscan Terra Sancta Church, the Maronite Church, Saint John’s Church.

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