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The Sea of Galilee

Galilee is a historical region in the northern Israel on the border with Lebanon.
It’s the most northern part of Israel is bordered in the south with the valley of Harod and Beit Shean, in the west with the Mediterranean cost, in the east with the Jordan Valley and from the north with the state border of Lebanon.
In the Old Testament this part of Israel was called “Ha Galilee ha goyim – a land of different peoples.

Lake Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee, The Tiberias Sea) is the main source of water for Israel. There are 22 species of fish in the lake, among them Tilapia, better known as St.Peter’s Fish.
In the ancient times the famous Seaway (“Via Maris”) laid through the banks of the Sea of Galilee, which contributed to the welfare of the coastal cities.
There are many hot springs on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the healing properties of which were mentioned since XIII century BC. During the Roman rule, King Herod received from the Romans the city of Hippos (Sussita) in the east of Galilee. His sons Antipas and Philip had founded the city of Tiberias and Beit Saida.

The Sea of Galilee

Single boat on the Sea of Galilee with Golan Heights in the background

2000 years ago the area of the Sea of Galilee was a main site where Jesus read His sermon, performed miracles and later this area became the center of activity of His students and followers. All these events are marked on the shores of the Sea of Galilee by numerous churches and religious shrines.

In the era of Jesus Christ the western coast was thickly strewn with Jewish towns and villages, while the eastern coast remained sparsely populated, mostly by Greeks and other foreigners. For this reason, Christ chose the West Bank and in particular, the Jewish city of Capernaum as His residence and for the messianic activity. It is from the Western Bank of the Sea of Galilee He gathered most of His students.

Since the old times the area of the Sea of Galilee was rich with fish. The first disciples of Jesus were local fishermen. He often preached sermons standing in a boat, and crowds of people were listening to Him from the beach: “Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge” Mark 4:1

The sea is known for its sudden storms, one of these storms is described in the New Testament:
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped” Mark 4:37.
In the city of Capernaum Jesus performed many miracles. In the place of the Orthodox Church in Capernaum, was the house in which Jesus had taught and where he healed a man stricken with paralysis. All that remained from the glory and greatness of the richest cities of those times is archaeological site with excavations. The city of Bethsaida, the home of Apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip, is situated near Capernaum, in the place where the Jordan River empties into the Sea of Galilee. This whole area is recognized as a holy place since IV CE and filled with Christian places of pilgrimage.

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