Sea of Galilee Yam Kinneret
Situation and characteristicsThe Sea of Galilee or Lake Gennesaret (Hebrew Yam Kinneret) lies in the Jordan valley 210m/690ft below sea level. 21km/13mi long by 12km/7.5mi across and up to 46m/150ft deep, with a total area of 170sq.km/65sq.miles, it is Israel's largest reservoir of fresh water. Its water is piped to various storage basins and from there to the Negev.
Mount of the Beatitudes
Situation and characteristicsOn the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, rising above the ruins of Tabgha and Capernaum, is the Mount of the Beatitudes, on which according to tradition Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount. To reach the Mount of the Beatitudes from the Sea of Galilee, leave Tiberias on the road to Rosh Pinna. Soon after the road to Capernaum goes off on the right the commandingly situated domed church on the Mount of the Beautitudes can be seen to the right of the road. It is approached on a side road.HistoryFrom a very early period this hill has been identified as the one on which Christ preached his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). The event was originally commemorated by a church lower down near Tabgha, just north of the road to Capernaum. The new church, situated in a shady garden beside the Ospizio Monte de Beatitudine, was built in 1937.
Church of the Beatitudes
The Church of the Beatitudes is built of local basalt, using white Nazareth stone for the arches and Roman travertine for the columns. From the arcaded ambulatory round the church, which is octagonal in plan, there are magnificent views of the Sea of Galilee. The eight sides of the church are dedicated, as Latin inscriptions in the interior indicate, to the eight Beatitudes with which the Sermon begins (Matthew 5,3-10), blessing the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. The dome symbolizes the ninth Beatitude (Matthew 5,11-12), in which Christ addressed himself directly to those persecuted for his sake: "for great is your reward in heaven".
En Gev, Israel
Situation and characteristicsThe kibbutz of En Gev, founded in 1937, lies on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, at the foot of a tell on which are the remains of ancient Susita. The kibbutz can be reached from Tiberias either by the land route (28km/17mi) or by boat (9km/6mi). Until 1967 it was accessible only by boat: a road built in 1941 was cut in 1948, when Syrian forces advanced to the shores of the lake.
2km/1.25mi east of En Gev, on a steep-sided hill rising 350m/1,150ft above the Sea of Galilee, is the site of ancient Susita, whose name is derived from the Hebrew sus ("horse") and was altered in Hellenistic times to Hippos. In the first century it was a member of the Decapolis, a league of ten cities on the east bank of the Jordan; later it was incorporated in Herod's kingdom; in Byzantine times it was the see of a bishop; and in the seventh century it was destroyed by Persians or Arabs. On the summit of the hill are remains dating from Jewish, Roman and Byzantine times.
Some 5km/3mi north of En Gev, at the junction with the road to Afiq, the remains of a Byzantine monastic church were discovered in 1970. The heyday of the monastery was from the end of the fifth century to the middle of the sixth; it was abandoned at the end of the seventh century for some unknown reason. The remains have been excellently restored.