The Jesus Trail
In 2009 the ITC (Israel Trails Committee) strategized and marked a new 65 kilometer-trail, the “Jesus Trail”, running from Nazareth to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee (pictured above). The idea was to create a long walking trail that connects historic and archeological sites, important churches and the wonderful scenery of the Galilee. The long trail passes through the birth-place of Christianity – the places and sights of the New Testament, and it takes approximately 4-5 days to walk the entire trail. The combination of scenic nature walks with frequent stops at archeological ruins, serene atmosphere of ancient churches, contrasting with the lively streets and markets of the towns and villages – it all comes together to create an experience not easily forgotten. The trail is marked with white-orange-white marks, or with an orange dot when it merges with existing trails.
In 2010 SPNI created a Hebrew-language topographical map of the Jesus Trail and is looking for a donation to translate the topographical map to English.
Sights to See on the Jesus Trail
The trail begins at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth; built on the site where Catholics believe the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she was pregnant with the Messiah, it is the largest church building in Israel. Other churches of note in Nazareth include St. Gabriel’s Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, and the Synagogue Church, the synagogue where Jesus spoke when he visited Nazareth.
It passes by Zippori, an important city during Jesus' time, where extensive archeological digs have been made. The next stop is the Wedding Church in Cana (Kfar Kana), where according to the gospels Jesus changed water to wine. The extinct volcano Horn of Hattin, where The Battle of Hattin between the Crusaders and Saladin’s army occurred, doubles as a scenic outlook with beautiful panoramic views of the entire region.
At the foot of the mountain lies the beautiful shrine of Nebi Shu’eib (Jethro’s Tomb), which attracts thousands of Druze, since it is the holiest site in for the Druze. After visiting the springs of the lush Arbel River, you'll come to an ancient synagogue at Moshav Arbel, and to the Arbel Cliffs, a lookout with a spectacular scenic view of Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee and the entire Jordan Valley. The careful descent down the cliffs to the valley below brings us to Tabgha, where churches were built to commemorate the site where Jesus performed the miracle of the fish and loaves.
Climb the Mount of Beatitudes to stand in the place where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. The four-day hiking trail ends at Capernaum (Kfar Nachum) at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee – an archaeological site and the center of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee. A church was built there in the 20th century, across the road from an ancient synagogue, rebuilt on the site of the synagogue that was there in Jesus' time.