Capernaum, in the Galilee of northern Israel is a Biblical village, located not far from other important Christian sites in Israel such as Bethsaida, the Mount of Beatitudes, and Tabgha, as well as the Jordan River and Tiberias on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
We visited Capharnaum on our trip to Israel and were very inspired and pleased to be there. We were on a guided tour and learned this was where Jesus lived for a while with the apostle Peter’s mother-in-law. The opportunity to walk where Christ walked two thousand years ago is so awe inspiring and unique that it should not be missed. Viewing the remains and ruins of the ancient town gives one a completely different concept of how Our Lord and the people of His time lived. It is much different from the classical pictures and mental images that one might have from grade school. Even a so-so spiritual person can feel closer, and more understanding of the New Testament and the Life of Christ after walking the lanes of the ruins of Capharnaum.
Brief History of Capernaum
Caperneum or Kfar Nahum was a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading center. This place is of special interest to Christians because of its frequent mention in the history of Jesus Christ. Peter, Andrew, James and John also lived here. It played a unique and important part in Christ’s life and ministry, and in his outreach to the people of Israel. The inhabitants of Capernaum, including various high ranking citizens, were given unique and abundant opportunities to hear Jesus Christ’s message firsthand.
The dating of this synagogue is debated, but it is clearly later than the first century. Excavations have revealed a synagogue from the time of Jesus with walls made of worked stone and 4 feet thick.
These earlier walls were preserved up to 3 feet high and the entire western wall still exists and was used as the foundation for the later synagogue.
The House of Peter
Excavations revealed one residence that stood out from the others. This house was the object of early Christian attention with 2nd century graffiti and a 4th century house church built above it. In the 5th century a large octagonal Byzantine church was erected above this, complete with a baptistery. Pilgrims referred to this as the house of the apostle Peter.
Interior of the modern Memorial built over the house of St Peter
Foundations of octagonal 5th-century church, visible through a glass floor
CAPERNAUM THE TOWN OF JESUS
Address: Northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, on road 87
Operation: Daily 08:00 AM -5:00 PM.
Entrance fee: 10 NIS.