Bethsaida Nature Reserve

Bethsaida Nature Reserve

A popular point of interest for people touring the holy sites of the Galilee, this nature reserve is breathtakingly beautiful, with lagoons, waterfalls, streams and greenery, and it's the site where two of Jesus' miracles took place.

If you're adventurous, you can walk through the "wet route" of the Majrase, to wade through a stream filled with fish. There are even areas for swimming, where it gets deep enough. If you prefer to stay dry, you can take the path adjacent to the stream, under the towering eucalyptus trees. This is an excellent hike for children; not too challenging and a lot of fun. It is also highly recommended in the summer months, since it is cool and pleasant even on the hottest days.

While in the reserve, visit the archaeological remains of the Bethsaida, site of two miracles performed by Jesus. Tours to the Holy Land often include a stop here, to see where the feeding of the 5,000 most likely took place. The expanse of the plain and the streams and aqueducts that crisscross it match the biblical description. Also on view are a fishmaker's house and a winemaker's house, which help you imagine what first century daily life was like in the Galilee.

Serious hikers (who also don't mind getting wet) will enjoy the Zaki trail. This is a 3-4 hour trail, partially through a stream. The trail is dotted with pink oleander and sweeping willow trees. Birds such as the grey heron, cattle egret and kingfisher flit among the trees and Caspian turtles swim on the edges of the water. To hike this trail, make sure to bring plenty of drinking water, good hiking shoes and waterproof bags for your belongings.

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