Along the way:
After a morning pick up from the port we’ll drive east toward the Lower Galilee area, Passing by the north border of Jezreel Valley, crossing the Tabor Oaks Forest of Alonim Heals to Sephoris. On your way back to the port enjoy a breathtaking view from up Mt Carmel over the Baha’i Gardens
What you see:
♦ Sephoris: or Tzippory in Hebrew, is located in the lower Galilee, halfway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee. This city was the administrative capital of the Galilee in the 1st century. It features an impressive archeology site dating back to the Hasmoneans who settled there in the 2nd century BC, as well as subsequent Byzantine, Arab and Crusader ruins. The name comes from the Hebrew word tsipor which means “bird,” presumably for the birds-eye view afforded from its hill. While Sephoris is not mentioned in the New Testament, the city was under construction during the lifetime of Jesus. Some scholars speculate that Joseph may have worked as a Tekton (or “builder”) in the construction of Sephoris. Oral tradition sites Sephoris as the hometown of Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim. Perhaps Joseph met his bride-to-be working in Sephoris and may have laid some of the stones there! Sephoris is most famous for its Byzantine mosaics and in your visit you are going to see:
- The Synagogue: The Mishnah describe Sephoris as a city with no less than 18 synagogues, however this synagogue was built in the late fifth or early sixth century, at a time when the town’s Christian population was increasing and the strength of the Jewish population was diminishing. A mere 20.7 meters long and 8 meters wide, it is the narrowest ancient synagogue yet uncovered in the Land of Israel. It was located at the edge of the town. The Bimah was located in the western wall, not oriented towards Jerusalem as was done in other synagogues in that era. The mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue was rediscovered in 1993 by a crew building a new parking lot at the edge of the well-visited national archaeological park of Sephoris. It is one of a handful of illustrated synagogue mosaics uncovered in Israel and it has a well-preserved zodiac featuring Greek deities on the synagogue floor.
- The Roman theater: located between the Synagogue and the Acropolis of the city, it was built in the beginning of the 2nd C AD and contained 4,500 seats. The size of the theater is 70M wide. The center stage had a stone base with a wooden platform above it. The theater had 5 entrances, three of them pass through the rows of the seats and two on both sides of the stage.
- Dionysus House: This building, located at the top of the hill, was a mansion that was built in the 3rd C and was destroyed at the earthquake of 363 AD which affected the Galilee and other parts of Israel. The rooms in this Roman villa were richly decorated with colorful mosaic floors, many of them with mythological scenes related to Dionysus (God of wine). One of the famous findings in Sephoris is the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee“, mosaic that was discovered in the banquet hall portraits a beautiful woman – probably an illustration of the Roman Goddess Venus.
- The city Excavations: located at the bottom of the hill is downtown Sephoris. Stones paved street, colonnades, public and buildings, all decorated with beautiful mosaics, including Morpheus Mosaic, The Nile House with the Nile Mosaic and the Amazons, etc..
♦ Mt Carmel: Probably the most outstanding viewpoint in Israel. Your way will take you from the port up the mountain top, Via Stela Maris, to Lui Promenade right above the Baha’i Gardens, for a breathtaking vista of the city, the bay and far beyond to the Galilee mountain and all the way to Lebanon.
- To fully participate may require periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces. There are steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and periods of standing.
- The price include guiding and transportation only.
- The price does not include admissions and meals.
- Extra cost expected for admissions – 29/15₪ per Adl/Chl