Capernaum National Park

Capernaum National Park

Capernaum, an essential point of interest when touring the Holy Land, is known as "the town of Jesus," since this is where he took up residence after departing from Nazareth. Matthew describes how Jesus settled at Capernaum, by the sea (of Galilee) and chose his disciples there.

The most exciting archaeological find in Capernaum for Christian pilgrims is a public building, which apparently served as a gathering place for the very first Christians. The building is decorated with geometric patterns, colorful flowers and Greek inscriptions. These inscriptions include phrases such as "our Lord," "the Nazarene," "the greatest of all" and "Simon," which point to the Christian beliefs of the community.

Christian pilgrims have visited this site for centuries, and a church was built over the assembly room during the Byzantine period (the structure has since been replaced with a modern church). A synagogue was built during the same time period, and its excavation can also be seen today at Capernaum.

Aside from the elaborate synagogue, excavations have also revealed private dwellings from the period of Jesus. The quality of the construction and the building materials used demonstrate that the community was a simple one. There are some rooms that face outwards, and these were apparently shops.

Once you have seen the archaeological site, wander around the national park to see the plant-life, both wild and domesticated. One species that grows wildly in the area is known as "the Christ-thorn jujube," from which the crown of thorns of the crucifixion was made.

You can reach Capernaum by land or by sea. A new dock allows visitors to sail across the Sea of Galilee from either Tiberias or Ein Gev and land right at the site, just as Jesus and his disciples would have done when traveling around the Galilee.

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