National park and remains of a fishing village from the time of Jesus
By Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
and remains of a fishing village from the time of the Second Temple, on a site that was the focus of Jesus’ Galilee ministry The antiquities are under the aegis of the Franciscan Church. The national park around the antiquities site is under the aegis of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority Capernaum fulfilled such a central role in the life of Jesus that it was sometimes called “the town of Jesus". As the New Testament describes it: “And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea...”.
Here in Capernaum and its surroundings Jesus chose his Apostles.
Remains were unearthed here during excavations of a residential quarter from the time of the Second Temple. Its private dwellings were usually built out of basalt, which was the most common local rock. A typical home consisted of an unroofed courtyard surrounded by rooms that opened onto it. Rooms occasionally opened outward; these were apparently shops. The quality of construction shows the community was a simple one.
Remains of the synagogue discovered in Capernaum, however, were more opulent.
The synagogue was built of well-carved limestone, its facade adorned with floral, faunal and geometric patterns. Some of the designs, like the seven-branched candelabra carved onto a Corinthian capital, clearly show their Jewish origins. One unique stone relief is a cart bearing a structure that looks like a shrine. Some scholars believe the image was meant to represent the Ark of the Covenant being borne into battle against the Philistines.
The synagogue that visitors see today was in use during the Byzantine period. An earlier synagogue also stood here; scholars are divided over whether it was built in the third or the fourth century.
A very exciting site for Christian pilgrims is one that started out in the first century CE as a dwelling.
he floor of one of the rooms was covered with white plaster and its walls were adorned with plaster painted with geometric patterns and colorful flowers. Apparently as early as the first century, the building served as a gathering place for the first Christians (Judeo-Christians). Discovered at the site were 173 plaster fragments bearing inscriptions, mostly in Greek. Some, like “our Lord; "the Nazarene", “the greatest of all " and "Simon”, attest to the existence of a Christian community.