The rolling hills of the Galilee, dotted with olive trees and tiny villages hundreds of years old, is central to many of the world’s religions.
For Christians, it's the place where the angels told the Virgin Mary that she would carry the Son of God. Later, Jesus taught his followers and performed miracles on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
In Jews, it’s a place of Jewish renaissance and scholarship during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Dozens of well-preserved synagogues and necropolises (cemeteries with impressive monuments) dot the region, a testimony to the Jewish culture that flourished here more than 1,000 years ago.
For Muslims, it is a fertile region with rich cultural and culinary traditions, where families and villages have worked traditional handicrafts and agriculture for generations.
For Druze, a minority religious sect in the Middle East, the Galilee was a place of refuge 900 years ago, and is now their cultural and religious center. Despite persecution from local governments up until the 20th century, the Druze lived in villages across the Galilee in peace and prosperity for hundreds of years.
Many other communities and minorities found their home in the mountains of the Galilee region over the last 2,000 years, and their descendants still live their today, creative a rich mosaic of history and culture in Israel’s northern region.
If you are looking to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the Galilee Mountains is your destination.
Nazareth – The place of Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she was blessed by God to carry a son with the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary received this message while fetching water from a spring you can still visit today, called Mary’s Spring.
Kfar Kana, also known as Cana of Galilee in English. This is the place where Jesus performed his first miracle in public, during a wedding, when he turned hundreds of liters of water into fine wine.
Kfar Nahum / Capernaum – This ancient port was the hometown of the Apostles Peter, James, Andrew, and John. Jesus worked three different miracles here, which is why the site later became known as “The Town of Jesus.” We will visit the ruins of Peter’s home, which later later became one of the first churches in the region, and was located at the time next to a splendid white synagogue.
Mount of Beatitudes – A beautiful hill on the northwestern corner of the Sea of Galilee is the spot believed to be where Jesus delivered his famous “Sermon on the Mount,” his treatise on ethics and morals. Today, the area boasts a beautiful church with serene gardens and a study center.
Other options for visits to areas where Jesus and his Apostles lived, worked, and prayed include Magdala, Tabgha, Bethesda, Kursi, Mt. Tabor, Banias, Yardenit Baptismal, Megiddo and many more.
All Ground Up tours are customizable according to your needs, interests, walking abilities and schedule. Contact us for more information!
Looking for archaeology or ancient Jewish life? You will find that and more in the Galilee Hills.
Megiddo – This ancient city boasts more than 25 layers of archaeological ruins, starting from the ancient Pharaohs of Egypt who plundered this region 3,400 years ago in a war against an alliance of local tribes. King Solomon built a fortress to protect his kingdom here, and an unimaginable number of chariots and horses prepared for battles in the Jezreel Valley during biblical times. Learn the ingenious ways ancient cultures collected water during the hot summer days, and why the apocalyptic battle of Armageddon will happen here, just beneath our feet.
Zippori – This Jewish Roman city was the center of Jewish philosophy and scholarship during the 2nd century. Miraculously, the most beautiful part of this ancient city was preserved: colorful and intricate mosaic floors. The spectacular mosaics include popular themes during the Roman times, including one known as the “Mona Lisa of Galilee,” in addition to depictions of African predators, centaurs, and bacchanalian celebrations with Dionysus, the Roman god of wine.
Beit Shean – At its heyday, 1500 years ago, Beit Shean was one of the most beautiful Roman-Byzantine cities in the ancient world, with marble streets, theaters, Roman bathhouses, sculptures, and impressive amphitheater. In the 8th century, a massive earthquake destroyed the city, but visitors can still appreciate the grandeur amidst the ruins. The park boasts one of the best-preserved Roman cardos (main streets) in Israel, a real gem.
Safed – Perched atop one the highest parts of the upper Galilee mountains, Safed is like no other city. Countless tiny synagogues and artist studios are tucked into narrow streets and colorful alleys. Safed was (and still is) the capital of Jewish Kabbalah – the hidden mysticism of Judaism, the philosophy uniting human beings with God and the Eternal Infinite. Many Kabbalah artists create unique artwork echoing the mystical aspects of the philosophy, adding color to the city streets. The clear mountain air, the traditional Jewish Hassidic stories, the mountain views around every corner, and the mysticism all make it a one of a kind place to visit.
Have you already been to all of these sites, or are you looking for less-visited parts of Israel? We can also take you to Montfort Fortress, Ziv Canyon, Mt. Adir lookout, Gush – Halav (Jish), Peki'ine, Bar'am Synagogue, Upper Galilee winery, Belvoir Fortress, Korazim, Nebi – Shu'ayb Holy Site and many, many more places. Contact us for more information.