Much of the New Testament takes place in and around the Sea of Galilee, the region of Israel in which Jesus spent most of His life. For this reason, the Galilee region is one of the most popular spots for Christian tourists to visit while in the Holy Land. Many churches, monasteries and shrines were built in the Galilee area to pay homage to Jesus in the spots upon which He performed many of His miracles and spoke to His many disciples and followers.
Capernaum, the ancient town in which Jesus lived after leaving His hometown of Nazareth, sits on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. Today, Capernaum offers visitors a view into the ancient synagogue as they walk through the building's remains on a well-preserved archaeological site, in this environment Jesus did most of His teachings ("He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum"- John 6:59). Other important sites like the spot where Jesus exorcised a demon from a possessed Mary Magdalene, the home of Peter’s family and Magdala, the ancient town once home to Mary Magdalene, are all close to Capernaum.
On the opposite shores of the Sea of Galilees sits Tabgha. This was the site of the Church of the Multiplication, where Jesus fed 5000 individuals with just two loaves of bread and five fish. Today, visitors can walk through the church built on this miraculous spot, and see the beautiful building adorned with mosaics depicting the incredible events of Jesus’ ministry. The Mount of Beatitudes, found just a few kilometers up the mountain on the same road, is traditionally believed to be the location of Jesus’ infamous Sermon on the Mount. Today, the site hosts beautifully-manicured gardens, a hostel, monastery, farm and striking Church that looks out over the Sea of Galilee.
Water is abundant in the Galilee area and also played an important role in Jesus’ life. The Sea of Galilee is the site of Jesus’ walk on water. For this reason, most groups of pilgrims enter the city of Tiberias and from the port, take a boat ride across the water, enjoying time for contemplative prayer and worship. Yardenit is the point at which the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee meet; The Jordan River is where John the Baptist is believed to have baptized Jesus. For this reason, Yardenit holds great magnitude for Christians, as most groups visit this spot in order to perform baptisms.
Other significant Christian pilgrimage sites in the Galilee include Korazim - an ancient Roman city described in the New Testament as a city condemned by Jesus, Kursi – traditionally believed to be the location of the Miracle at Gadarenes when Jesus saved a man possessed by devils and displacing them into pigs who later drowned in the Sea of Galilee, and Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle and turned the water into wine (John 2:10).
When in the Galilee, it is worth wile to visit Nazareth, the birthplace of Jesus. Here, tour groups traditionally visit the Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well and Saint Joseph’s workshop.
A trip to the Galilee is important for any group of Christian believers interested in walking in the Footsteps of Jesus while in the Holy Land. The Galilee is where Jesus spent most of His life, therefore, many Christians love to come here and be enchanted by the spirit of the land.
For information about hotels in the galilee area, visit BookingIsrael.com's Galilee Hotels page.