A brief overview of the tour

Depart to Megiddo, famous Armageddon from the Book of Revelation 16, according to the Bible the site of the battle during the end times. Extensive excavations have unearthed 26 levels of ruins, revealing evidence of different civilizations of thousands of years. Then visit Beit Shearim, the Necropolis of the Talmudic period.  Here we see the ancient catacombs discovered here by a Jewish settler Alexander Zaid when digging the foundations of his home. After the destruction of the Second Temple -the Sanhedrin moved its headquarters here. People from all over the Galilee were buried here, especially  after Jews were barred from burial on Mt of. Olives in Jerusalem in135CE. Thereafter arrive at Zippori, the biblical capital of the Galilee with its beautiful mosaic floors. It was known in Ancient times as the adminastrative and intellectual capital of the Galilee. Excavations revealed it as the regional capital during Roman rule. A hilltop church and watchtower from the 6th CE in memory of Anne & Joachim the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus, can be seen.

Important and useful notes

  • The private tour price is determined by distance, vehicle size, language and duration of the tour.
  • The base price includes 10 hours a day , Each additional hour- $40
  • Entrance fees, meals, parking fees, toll roads and tips are NOT included.
  • Accommodation is not included in the price.
  • Guide's overnight is not included in the price.
  • On Saturdays and Jewish holidays a supplement of $125 per day will apply.
  • Comfortable walking shoes required.

A detailed description of the tour

There are a many sites of interest in the Lower Galilee. You can choose from those listed below to make your own personal one day tour.

The focal point of a tour in the Lower Galilee is the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and Tiberias, the 1st century pagan city built by Herod Antipas alongside the ancient Jewish city of Hamat. Both have been excavated. Those of Tiberias are in the Archeological Park and those of Hamat are in the National Park where one can see the well preserved mosaic floor of a 5th-6th century synagogue.

There is also an interesting ancient cemetery in Tiberias, where the 12th century Jewish philosopher Maimonides is buried and, above Tiberias, the tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes, the miracle worker.

Although Capernaum and Bethsaida are usually considered Christian pilgrim sites, a visit to the excavations at both reveal small towns of the 1st century onwards and are interesting to all visitors..

The Yigal Alon Museum, where the hull of a restored first boat is on display, is on the shores of the Kinneret at Kibbutz Ginossar. At the southern end, in the courtyard of the settlement Kinneret is a museum which tells the story of the early twentieth century pioneers who established the first kibbutzim and brought agriculture to what was a desolate area. Although modern cemeteries are not usually tourist attractions many of those early pioneers are buried on the shores of the Kinneret, including Rachel the poetess and Naomi Shemer, the song writer who composed the music for many of Rachel’s poems.

About half an hour drive west of Tiberias is the extensive excavation of Zippori (Sepphoris). According to the Jewish Roman historian, Josephus Flavius, Zippori was a prominent city in the Galilee already in the 1st century BCE. The city did not participate in the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 67 CE and so was spared destruction and even gained recognition from Rome when it was renamed Diocaesarea, a name which appears on coins minted during the reign of Caracalla. This was where Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi compiled the Mishnah in the second century..

The well preserved mosaic floor found in a villa in the upper part of the city depicts scenes from the life of Dionysus, popular god of vineyards, grapes and wine. The tesserae (small square stones) forming the faces are among the smallest ever found in a mosaic and there are more than twenty different colors.

On the main ‘downtown’ street, in an as yet identified complex of rooms, another unique mosaic floor has been uncovered with an unusual mythological Nile River scene alongside smaller mosaics of mythical figures including the Amazons. A small theatre has also been excavated. One of the many synagogues, with an unusual mosaic floor, has been restored and on occasion has been used for bar mitzvah and wedding services.

The size of the city of Zippori is quite remarkable as it had no natural springs or water source. The discovery of parts of an aqueduct bringing water from distant springs and a reservoir hewn into the rocky hill explained why Zippori expanded and grew while nearby Nazareth did not.

 

Picture gallery

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