The northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee is a fertile plain where the feeding of the 5,000 likely took place. There is good reason to doubt the current belief that et-Tell is Bethsaida, and a better candidate for the fishing village may be el-Araj near the shoreline. [Bible Places]
Situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mt. Hermon, Caesarea Philippi is the location of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River.
This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. [Bible Places]
In existence from the 2nd c. B.C. to the 7th c. A.D., Capernaum was built along the edge of the Sea of Galilee and had up to 1500 residents.
Today the ruins are owned by two churches: the Franciscans control the western portion with the synagogue and the Greek Orthodox's property is marked by the white church with red domes. [Bible Places]
One of the "Galilean" type of synagogues with typical characteristics:
Basilica shape - three hallways separated by two rows of pillars
Three doorways; central one is largest
Benches around side; not much remains of the benches here.
Stylobate - to support weight of arches
Cove of the Sower
Located mid-way between Capernaum and Tabgha, major centers of Jesus' ministry, this cove has been noted for its acoustical properties.
Mark 4 records a time when Jesus was teaching to a large crowd and pushed out in a boat in order to teach them. Some suggest this cove is an ideal location for teaching the crowds. [Bible Places]
The largest of four sources of the Jordan River, the Dan Spring emerges at the base of Mt. Hermon next to Tel Dan. It flows for four miles before joining the second largest source of the Jordan River, the Banias Spring. Together the four sources (also the Iyon and Hasbani) of the Jordan River drain a total area of more than 2700 sq. kilometers.
Known sometimes as the "Masada of the North," Gamla is most famous for its strong defense against the Romans in the Jewish Revolt in 66 A.D. The site is bordered on all sides by deep wadis of the Golan Heights and is approachable by only one footpath from the northeast. The earliest settlement was in the Early Bronze Age and the site was reinhabited by returning exiles from Babylon. Herod the Great settled Jews here to populate his border cities.[Bible Places]
Known in Joshua's day as "the head of all those kingdoms," the tell of Hazor is today the largest in Israel at 200 acres.
At its height in the Canaanite period, the city encompassed the entire tell. Later when it was inhabited by Israelites, the fortified city included only the Upper City.
Mt. Hermon is the southern tip of the anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its highest peak is 9230 feet and the highest point inside Israel's borders today is Mizpe Shelagim at 7295 feet.
The mountain is the only place with snow skiing in the country.
Mount of Beatitudes
The so-called "Sermon on the Mount" is recorded in Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6. The alleged discrepancy between Matthew's version being on a hill and Luke's being on a level place is easily reconciled with observation of many level places on the Galilean hillsides. Scripture gives no indication of the exact location of this event, but the Byzantines built a church to commemorate it at the bottom of the hill. Some of Napoleon's men placed it on the nearby Arbel mountain.
Situated inside a bowl atop the Nazareth ridge north of the Jezreel valley, Nazareth was a relatively isolated village in the time of Jesus with a population less than two hundred.
Today Nazareth is home to more than 60,000 Israeli Arabs, and Upper Nazareth is home to thousands more Jewish residents.
Sea of Galilee
The Plain of Gennesaret spreads out below the Arbel cliffs. About five miles long and two miles wide, this stretch of land alongside Galilee's northwest shore was renowned for its fertility. Josephus wrote that it was "wonderful in its characteristics and in its beauty. Thanks to the rich soil there is not a plant that does not flourish there, and the inhabitants grow everything: the air is so temperate that it suits the most diverse species."
Two miles west of Capernaum is what Josephus referred to as the "well of Capernaum." Undoubtedly a popular fishing spot of the locals because of its famous "seven springs," Heptapegon (today the name has been corrupted to Tabgha) is the traditional location for several episodes in Jesus' ministry.