Travels

Nazareth, in the footsteps of Jesus

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13 of Nisan of 5773. Today we leave the Mediterranean area of ​​Israel to enter the beautiful region of Galilee, full of history, sacred places and spiritual corners. It is an area of ​​hills, roads and opposite the steep basalt plateau of the Golan Heights that we will touch, coastal cities or deserts in the south of the country. Today has been our route ...

The truth is that we have slept in luxury. Are around 7 when we can heading to the first town we will stop today, Safed. It is in these moments of travel when the route changes again, leaving aside the Mediterranean coast to enter a green area of ​​mountains and valleys. Very close to here are the Golan Heights, Upper Galilee, a land of disputes that we will not be able to step on. What we do see are small villages at the foot of the really picturesque slopes


 

We are separated 55 km (about 1 hour) but the circulation is very fluid at this time.

Safed, the bohemian mountain town

Safed is located on the third highest peak in all of Israel, although not all of this idyllic and trickster atmosphere that is breathed today remained throughout past times. Today the heritage leaves us with magical views, a Jewish neighborhood, one of artists and a mystical one, which we will see on a route similar to the following

Almost unintentionally we have managed to park the car in the Davidka Square, at the top of the old area. With the help of a kind gentleman we put 6 ILS in the little machine to get a parking ticket. We are next to the Davidka monument that has a mortar used in 1948. Curious way to start.


 

And is that Safed had a sad chapter in his past The Safed Massacre occurred in 1929 during a Palestinian mutiny. 20 Jews were killed and 80 others injured, events that also affected other communities such as Jerusalem or Hebron.

But today we have come to know your old zone, its neighborhoods, and the first picture that we find at this time of the morning is of cobbled streets with really picturesque stone houses still wet with the dew of the night


We started down the Jewish Quarter and we found a multitude of synagogues, some with especially striking details such as Ha'ari. It is also curious to see how they are already open and it is very very early.


 

Safed, however, is one of the four holy cities of Israel. It has been a spiritual center since 1600 when the Cabala (Jewish mysticism). It is said that the mysticism of the Cabala developed, studied, taught and wrote in this city.

Zionism is growing in the city, the Jewish movement whose supreme purpose is to defend Jewish interests of all kinds. Here in fact it is the place where the jewish prototype we all know the most we have seen so far.


 

But Safed is more. Beit Yosef, the street that separates the Jewish Quarter from the Mystic Quarter, is a covered street full of truly amazing art galleries (and unfortunately many beyond our reach).


 

As we descend through the narrow streets into the Mystic Neighborhood, we can see more picturesque corners, mixed with some isolated and demolished, and even dirty. This is perhaps something that we have encountered since we landed in the country that perhaps we are missing, that balance between the taste for things and protecting them from not neglecting them in their surroundings.


 

We passed by Kikar Hamiginin, narrow streets with all kinds of artistic businesses and fabulous houses where their own artists work and reside


And we continue descending through the Mystic Quarter, possibly the one with the most religious halo.


 

Paula wanted to see a synagogue inside, except in Prague (and they were museums) she has not had occasion to do so. Thus, becoming the clueless at this time of the morning we have entered the one with a certain esoteric touch, that of Kokor and we have been able to appreciate the simplicity with which it is organized inside


 

But what has made me especially excited about Isaac has been to find one of the famous dairies in one of the lowest alleyways. Kadosh It is called, although it is closed. However, from the half-open window of the first floor, an old woman tells us to wait. Run down and open us. There is a kind of kitchen with chairs and bowls with cheese to taste. We tried several and there are some really exquisite. Here we go ... for the snack (30 ILS), haha


 

We said goodbye to the lovely old lady and headed towards him Artists Quarter with prints that are to frame in any laminate at home (we also climbed the car for a moment to add 1 hour to the parking lot for 3 ILS because we are loving this town)


We had also read that this area of ​​Israel gives really good Israeli wines, increasingly appreciated internationally, and almost by chance we find a kind of cellar.


 

For 10 ILS two kids make us a small tasting of a white, a pink and a red wine, and although we do not understand too much, if we can say that in Galicia we have better whites and in Spain better reds (at least in that aspect if we have a product well in our country, won't it be the only thing not? haha)

And how could it be otherwise, Paula succumbs to "artists" charm and decides that this is a good place to take a souvenir (140 ILS) home. Valeeee ... we take it !!


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After a small breakfast (28.80 ILS), and going up again through Ma'alot Olei HaGardom, we are already in the vicinity where we park the car. We will continue our route to the shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee, about 25 km (about half an hour) from here. We go to Capernaun (Kfar Nahum on the GPS - this has cost us -), although on our way with the beautiful Sea of ​​Galilee in the background, we leave aside the Church that looks on the Mount of Beatitudes (it will be a reason for an upcoming trip, right Paula?)


 

Capernaun, the home of Jesus Christ

They say that this small town of ancient Galilee, today Israel, was known by Christians as "the city of Jesus", named in many occasions in the Old Testament as the chosen place to convey their message and perform some miracles. It is here that we begin our journey "in the footsteps of Jesus" (6 ILS both).


 

Today, and almost (surprisingly) without people, we can enjoy and even feel at that moment in history


 

It was in 1838 when a North American biblical geographer discovered the ruins of this place. Little by little, and based on literary sources, part of the history of this town has been reconstructed. Can you imagine how a sermon of Jesus could be here to his apostles?


The most interesting thing about this place, in addition to several important events that happened (the call of the disciples, the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, the miracle of the paralytic, ...) is that it was the authentic home of Jesus mentioned many times in the gospels after leaving Nazareth. Today Pedro's house is under a huge octagonal temple that venerates him


 

It is true that this temple with the shape of… mmm… “UFO”, may not be the one that we liked the most (Paula often says that she prefers much simpler things) if it shows perfectly what could be the interior of this house a couple of millennia ago.


 

Adjacent you can see a synagogue dating from the 17th century that was abandoned next to the first Byzantine octagonal temple over time, which suggests that during the period of Muslim occupation this place fell into oblivion.


After the visit, and after taking some soda (23 ILS) not far from here, just 3 km (about 5 minutes) is Tabgha (Ein Sheva), another essential place.

Tabgha, the miracle of catching fish

We park in the parking lot where it says "only bus" (we don't see many options, so we'll say we don't speak Hebrew and that's it, haha). The Sanctuary of the Primate that we see here seems to have remained abandoned until 1933, when the Franciscans of the Holy Land built the current church on the ruins of the ancient chapel.


This chapel, and many buildings that we have seen throughout today, retain this dark ballast-like color that we also saw in cities like Bosra in southern Syria and which seems to be abundant in the Golan Heights. He Sea of ​​Galilee It is beautiful on this shore, completely calm.


 

As soon as we enter inside, we hallucinate. We are in a small, really charming little chapel that venerates Jesus' miracle of catching fish.


 

The name of Tabgha it is a corruption of the Greek name Eptagofonque which means Seven Sources. Be that as it may, here we stay for a while, walking and reflecting on how this could have been 2000 years ago.


 

We are in an area of ​​fantastic places, really beautiful, so we take the car and continue along the sea of ​​Galilee. Our next stop is 15 km (about 15 minutes) from here.

The city of Tiberias, the Tomb of Maimonides and the lake, heart of Galilee

The Tiberias city o Tiberias is today an immense set of resorts adjacent to a large and untidy city, a holiday center for many people a year. It is possible that as we write these lines it is full of occupation.


We did not plan to stop here, but we read that it is another of the holy cities of Judaism, home of tombs of venerated sages and ancient ritual baths, so as GPS has allowed us, we have stopped to visit the tomb of Maimonides, become one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Israel. Of course it will be so but today there was not even the tato


 

Anyway, our thing is to continue towards the height of the day, and for this we leave the city ascending back up the mountain, and leaving behind the Sea of ​​Galilee that looks beautiful from a small viewpoint at the exit.

He Sea of ​​Galilee is also known as Lake Tiberias and its surface of 21x13 km and 48 m of maximum depth is associated with the tectonic movements of the Rift Valley that we already saw the summer of 2011 in East Africa at Kivu Lake, for example, and that reaches the Lebanon. It is believed that here Jesus walked on the waters on his shores, and hence its importance for Christians. We also know that it is below sea level, like the Dead Sea, among other things because we just stopped at level 0, hehe.


 

The journey continues to enter a maremagnum of disorderly towns with houses in any small corner possible, more Muslim style than any other found in the world.


 

35 km (and 40 minutes) separate us from the city where Jesus spent his youth, in this particular journey behind the footsteps of Jesus we are doing today. Are we leaving Pauli?

Today we carry all day following in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (which we will try to see in this adventure) but it was in Nazareth where Mary received the news that she was carrying the son of God himself through the archangel San Gabriel and where Jesus lived with his parents and worked as a carpenter. It was on the Mount of Well-being where he gave his Sermon on the Mount, it was on the Jordan River that we visited in Jordan 2006 where John the Baptist would baptize him, in Canfardum where he went to preach and Tabgha where he performed the miracle of catching the fish. And it is in this small high where we see the immensity of this city in modern times


 

GPS plays a trick on us and we get lost in the streets. But is this a road or is it a free fall between houses? It has always been said that the shortest distance between two points is the line, right? Well, here we go, haha ​​...


 

Today Nazareth barely has a fuss. It's Sunday and when the souk is closed, people rest quietly in their homes. Nor do we see tourists, and there are free parkings to bore you. Is it really Easter already? Are all tourists in Jerusalem crowded together? We did not take long to park and enter the old city, to follow some small instructions of the accommodation that will house us today to reach your little door in the middle of the souk.


 

We are in the Fauzi Azar Inn, an Arab mansion of aladdin tale with 200 years old, which offers both private and shared rooms, and that is in the heart of ...! EVERYTHING !!. And our room? Better a photo ...


We get lost in the narrow streets between white stone houses and ornate streets of olive trees. The route we have followed in Nazareth, where Jesus lived in his teens, has been something like this ...

We pass between the souk with some open stand despite being Sunday until the Modern Church of the Annunciation. Paula's face changes at times ... she's really mimetized with the story we're living today


 

Is to arrive and ... !! buaaaaaaaa !! How to describe it We are facing one of the most spectacular and outstanding architectural complexes that we have seen in a matter of churches and cathedrals. However, it is one of the great sacred places of Christianity, a basilica consisting of a low and a high church, being the most modern and the one below ... the one below must be seen


 

Between bars, in a little grotto, and again WITHOUT ANYONE AROUND, we can feel those chills of the great moments of the adventures. We are facing a small house where they go down some stairs, which seems to be the house of Mary where the Archangel Saint Gabriel announced that from her the son of God was going to be born


 

After having a good time there, calm and going back to the moment, we continue our march to the floor above. The largest Christian Shrine in the Middle East could not be less. Leaving the simplicity of the small lower cave we find again a basilica decorated with beautiful stained glass windows and all kinds of mosaics, although far from the opulences of some Catholic places ahead there ...


 

This area is used of parish church for public religious services and also enters through the West.


 

On the outside, surrounding the imposing building and on the white stone walls like all Nazareth, we find a multitude of mosaics donated by different countries that represent advocations of the Virgin Mary


 

This Church was consecrated in 1964 by Pope Paul VI during his historical visit to the Holy Land and sanctified in 1969. Its pyramid-shaped and copper-covered ornamental dome can be seen from many parts of the city and is unmistakable


Within the same complex, in the West also, is the Church of San José, where the Christian tradition says that St. Joseph himself worked the wood as a carpenter in his workshop


 

Again the most interesting thing is the lower crypt, where there is a set of caves that should be said workshop. Who was an archaeologist right now!


 

We go up the street towards the end of our route but ... now yes! Our body asks for food. Today breakfast has not been the feast of other days so you have to let go of your wallet and we go to the most famous restaurant in the city, the Tishreen


Squid, prawns, chicken in mushroom sauce, local beer and local bread. What a hit we have hit (so we have also been charged 252 ILS, hehe)


 

Full belly we get a little higher to the Church of San Gabriel, already closed, of the 18th century, where there are those who believe that it was where the Archangel San Gabriel appeared to the Virgin (Greco-Orthodox beliefs)


In the lower part is the Mary's well known as the Virgin's Fountain, in a huge square. It is also said to have healing powers.

Perhaps there are already too many "dogmas of faith" for today to assimilate, so with the ground feet we return to Fauzi Azar to take a jacket for the night that refreshes


 

We have barely gotten confused for a while and it has got dark. The little lights of the old city where at another time is the souk now leaves a really beautiful picture


The silence is absolute at this time, and you hardly hear anything but our steps and that of some locals preparing their stand for tomorrow


 

Each alley seems more charming than the previous one and it is inevitable to take a picture, but the stellar moment comes when we come back almost by chance with the Church of the Annunciation that has the area of ​​the cave open. Paula can't help re-entering. The picture from outside is also worth mentioning


 

After catching something to dine on stand (40 ILS), and as we get up early tomorrow, we have returned to our small mansion where we slept. The day ends for us but not adventure, which tomorrow promises new emotions.


 

The truth is that Nazareth was a forgotten city until it came out of its ostracism thanks to the Christian cult of the proclamation, such as Bethlehem or Jerusalem. Today Nazareth is a more modern city, which fascinates the Christian world, but above all it has fascinated us. This in terms of history, and, to be honest, believers should live this once in a lifetime and for non-believers this is the ideal place to have the odd doubt. Family, we are still great. Friends, readers ... excuse me if we do not answer the comments but tomorrow we get up early ... !!


Isaac and Paula, from Nazareth (Israel)

EXPENSES DAY: 398.80 ILS (approx. 85.21 EUR) and GIFTS: 140 ILS (approx. 29.91 EUR)

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