Mount of Beatitudes, a Christian Highlight
The Mount of Beatitudes is one of many Christian sites in Israel; it is located in the Galilee on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee between Ginosar and Capernaum. The mount features in the Bible as the site where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6).
The Mount of Beatitudes as a Christian Site
Although no precise location is given in the Bible for the site of the Sermon this mount has been considered by Christians as the site of the Sermon on the Mount since the 4th century Byzantine age when a church was built here to commemorate the religious location. Christian pilgrims continued to visit the church until the 7th century and today there remains of a Roman cistern and monastery can still be seen on the mount.
The spacious slopes of the Mount of Beatitudes would have been able to accommodate Jesus’ followers and almost 2,000 years later the slopes were covered with about 100,000 Catholics when Pope John Paul II held Mass in March 2000. A previous Pope, Pope Paul VI also visited the church in 1964 and gifted his cloak to the church. The cloak still hangs inside the church for all visitors to see inside. A visit to the Mount of Beatitudes will give you a better understanding of what makes this place sacrosanct.
This particular Christian site can be appreciated by visitors of all faiths for its immense beauty; picturesque church and stunning views. From the Mount of Beatitudes you can look down on the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding countryside where Jesus preached during his ministry. The beauty of this site includes the magnificent architecture of the Church of the Beatitudes.
In 1939 a Catholic chapel was constructed on the mount by the Franciscan Sisters. The construction was paid for by none other than Mussolini. It was designed by Antonio Barluzzi, a Franciscan monk and architect who also designed churches on Mount Tabor, at the Garden of Gethsemane and at the Tomb of Lazarus. The amazing design of this beautiful church includes many numerical symbols. For example the paving in front of the church represents prudence, charity, justice, temperance, faith and fortitude. The design of the present church includes elements of Byzantine architecture, giving a nod to the original church which stood here. The present church is octangular in shape, representing the eight beatitudes. The church has a gold mosaic on the inner dome and elegant arched portico. The latest alteration to the church is a stunning mosaic designed by Italian Vasco Nasorri and installed in 1984. The church is surrounded by beautiful gardens and benches where you can sit and contemplate the views.
Where: The Mount of Beatitudes is reached via Route #90 turning off at Tabcha and traveling towards Rosh Pina and the Upper Galilee.
Open Hours: The Church of the Mount of Beatitudes is open daily from 8:30am to 12 noon and again from 2:30pm to 5pm (4pm in winter).
Admission: There is free entrance to the church but a fee for the parking lot.