Nazareth

Although Nazareth was the home of Jesus and believed by some scholars to be His birthplace, the main event in Nazareth is the Church (or Basilica) of the Annunciation. The current church is a two storey building opened in 1969 on the site of an earlier Byzantine and later crusader era church.

Roman Catholics believe that this is the place where Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would conceive Jesus.


The exterior and main entrance to the church


The interior and lower level of the church




Located in the lower level of the church, The Grotto of the Annunciation, probably built in the 4th century, is believed to incorporate the cave where Mary lived.


The inside of the chapel 

On the second level, above the original chapel, is a more modern church.


In front of the altar is an opening in the floor which allows for a view down to the old chapel.


Around the upper church are various depictions of Mary from many different countries, including the United States




Not to everyone's taste !


Kibbutz Degania Bet

Technically, this was only a lunch stop, but in fact gave us an opportunity to visit a working Kibbutz. The original concept of a Kibbutz was a communal settlement, based on farming and the early kibbutzim were established well before Israel became a country. The original kibbutzim were almost Utopian but in recent years, they have become much more businesslike and much of the farming is done by by hired help, often Palestinian.

This kibbutz established in 1920 was the first planned kibbutz.

Pictures on the walls of the museum show how it used to be!



Now the grounds of this kibbutz are quite park like and the living conditions have been much improved.  




The air raid shelters from the War of Independence are still in place, although they haven't been needed in recent years.

Air Raid shelter dating from 1948


On our way to Capernaum, we stopped to see a commercial baptism site, run by Jews, for Christians


There's no fee to enter, but you have to rent ($10) or buy ($25) one of the white gowns they offer if you want to be baptized. It's run by a local kibbutz and was opened in 1981. It currently receives about 500,000 visitors a year.



Baptism in the River Jordan

The Mount of Beatitudes

The Mount of the Beatitudes is where "The Sermon on the Mount" is believed to have taken place. There's a small chapel and nice views of the The Sea of Galilee. 

There has been a church or chapel on the site since the 4th century. The current chapel was built in 1938.


More like a park than a religious site





Kris with The Sea of Galilee in the background


Capernaum

Capernaum which is mentioned in several of the gospels was discovered in 1838 by an American explorer, Edward Robinson. It was originally a fishing village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and was continuously occupied from the 2nd century BCE to the 11th century CE. 

Part of the village is venerated as the house of Peter and a modern memorial has been built above the ruins. It looks a little as though a spaceship has landed!





Statue of St Peter

There are also ruins of the village which include the remains of a 5th century church.

The village ruins with the Sea of Galilee in the background


The 5th century church