Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Sunday, 7 August 2016

{postcards from Israel-Nazareth and Galilee}

Well,  Jerusalem feels like it was ages ago, but the memories are still rather vivid and it's the kind of place that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
This will be my last post on my trip, and it covers the excursion to Nazareth and Galilee. If you recall, in my first post I included an extract from my Grandpa's book on the life of Jesus Christ:
The story begins at Nazareth, a small town in Galilee, in the land of Palestine, concealed in the hollow of the hills at the head of the busy Plain of Esdraelon. A climb up the hill that hides and shelters the town gives a rewarding view on all sides. To the north, beyond a richly fertile plain, on a clear day, snow-tipped Hermon can be seen. Westwards towards the Mediterranean, the purple of Mount Carmel is an inviting reminder that just beyond are the busy ports and ships. In the days of which we are writing, winding caravans carrying commodities of the famous city of Damascus could be seen. One of the three trade routes from Accho on the seacoast to Damascus passed six miles south of Nazareth. 
It was in this small insignificant town of Nazareth that Mary lived...

Nazareth is where Christ grew up and where his mother and father lived. His most famous and numerous miracles happened nearby around the Sea of Galilee, where he turned water into wine at Cana, fed the 5000, and walked on water, to name only a few. I have to admit that the tour we went on wasn't very good but it did pack in a lot and it was neat to see these historic places, even though tourism has really taken over in some areas. In the case of Nazareth, I was sorely disappointed by the choice of architecture around the humble structure that is reportedly the site of the Annunciation--a modernist concrete monstrosity, which detracts from what would have been a rather beautiful, simple stone structure, in keeping with Christ's humble origins.

We woke up early to catch the coach, walking through the quiet streets of Jerusalem as the sun began to rise:
{Damascus gate at dawn}
 We drove to Nazareth, where we visited the Church of the Annunication
{the possible site of the Annunciation shrouded in modernist concrete architecture}
The driving in this area takes in stunning views:

{Mt Tabor, believed to be the site of the Transfiguration}
 We then went to the Church of the Multiplication, where ancient mosaics depict bread and two fishes, to convey the miracle of Christ feeding 5,000 with five loaves & two fishes:
{detail of mosaic with fish & loaves, at the altar}
 We then travelled to Capernaum, right on the Sea of Galilee, where ancient ruins are all that is left of a once important city.

{the remains of the Great synagogue still stand}

{touching the Sea of Galilee}
and then we drove to the River Jordan, taking in breathtaking scenery:

The River Jordan is where Christ was baptised by John the Baptist:

Today it is heavily commercialised and the hoards of people getting baptised seems a bit phoney, but the setting is stunning if you can block out the mass religious tourism.
{my feet in the River Jordan}
 The drive back to Jerusalem was absolutely beautiful. Arid landscape, dotted with crops and farmers, and at a pitstop we even came across a camel named Pistachio:

{Pistachio, the camel}

Alas, that ends my blogs on Jerusalem and Israel. A fantastic place filled with so much culture and history--a place I think everyone should go, at least once in their lifetime.

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