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Around the Sea of Galilee (June 7, 2008)

Day trip around the Sea of Galilee. Traveling to Tiberias and Capernaum. The afternoon spent driving on desert dirt roads of the Golan Heights.

Tiberias and Capernaum


For this day trip in the north of Israel, Tiberias was the first stop. Tiberias was established in around AD 20 and was named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Today, the town is the capital of Galilee and a favorite vacation resort.

After having crossed the hills of Galilee, we can perceived first the great depression and then the sea. The Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias is located in a depression at 210 metres below sea level. The sea is mainly fed by the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south. No radio or TV news broadcast during the winter months in Israel would be complete without a mention of the water level in the Sea of Galilee. The lake provides the irrigation supply of the country but straight years of drought dwindle water resources. In fact, the normal level of the lake should be situated approximately 3.5 metres over its current level.

We stopped in Capernaum at about fifteen kilometres from Tiberias in the north of the lake. Gospels relate that Jesus has been living in Capernaum, taught in the synagogue of the town and performed miracles. The ruins are mostly dated from IVth century AD. Beneath the foundation of the white synagogue of the IVth century AD lies another foundation of a synagogue from the first century AD, perhaps the one mentioned in the Gospels.

Arrival to Tiberias.

Tiberias, Israel Tiberias, Israel
Tiberias, Israel Walk on the dike of Tiberias.


Capernaum, Israel Capernaum, Israel
Ruins of synagogues and churches.

Capernaum, Israel
Greek Orthodox Church near the sea.

The Golan Heights


We continued north-east, we left the sea and drove to Golan Heights. There are 500 metres high cliffs which dominate the lake. Six-Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur War in 1973 between Israel and Syria took place in these strategic highlands. The Golan Heights were captured by Israel in 1967 and could be returned to Syria in exchange for peace.

The road climbs up and goes through windswept wild and dry grasses. It is difficult to believe that the Golan Heights is often called the water tower of Middle East. From road 87, we drove toward the town of Keshet to join the road 98. It's a dirt road, there is nobody except an abandoned tank in a field.

Near Mount Paras, on road 98, we caught sight of an old little military post on a hill. At the entrance, there is a board "welcome" in Hebrew. The hill is fenced with barbed wire and signage warning "Danger Mines". There is nobody, except a guard dog. On the top, from the bunker with cannons, there is a large view on Syrian towns.

We drove back to the south, following the Syrian border then Jordan border. We went down in the fertile Jordan valley and crossed banana et palm plantations before getting back to Tel Aviv in the evening.

Golan Heights, Israel
Dirt road on the Golan Heights.

Golan Heights, Israel Golan Heights, Israel
The Golan Heights.

Golan Heights, Israel

Golan Heights, Israel Golan Heights, Israel
Two war’s marks.

Golan Heights, Israel
Mount Paras near Syrian border.

Golan Heights, Israel Galilee, Israel
The east coast of Sea of Galilee and back to Tel Aviv.

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