Mount of Beautitudes
The Mount of Beatitudes is a must-see for all Christian Israel tours, since it is the location of Jesus' most famous speech – the Sermon on the Mount. The mountain is rich in greenery and provides a perfect spot to reflect on faith and hope.
The Church of the Beatitudes was built here in the 4th century to commemorate the Sermon. Visitors can still see the ruins of the original structure. The current church was established in 1938 and designed by the famous architect Antonio Barluzzi, who also designed 16 other churches in the Holy Land. Note the symbolism of the architecture – the octagonal shape represents the eight beatitudes, and the mosaics in the floor symbolize the seven virtues. Visitors can also see Pope Paul VI's cloak, hanging in the chapel since his visit in 1964.
Although the Books of Luke and Mark don't reveal the exact location of the Sermon on the Mount, it is widely believed that Mount Beatitude was the site. It stands between Capernaum and Tabgha and is just above the "Cove of the Sower." And, as you will see when you stand atop the mountain, the peak can accommodate large numbers of people. In fact, in the year 2000, approximately 100,000 Catholics gathered for a Mass celebrated here by Pope John Paul II.
Looking down from the mountain, you can see the Plain of Gennesaret. This plain is mentioned several times in the New Testament, most notably when Mark reports that Jesus healed the multitudes there and faced Pharisaic condemnation for ritual impurity.