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From Bethlehem to Nazareth

Day 5

Day 5 - 9th September 2014

Jaffa - House of Simon the Tanner, Herod's Palace and the Aqueduct, Elija's Cave in Mt. Carmel, Baha'i Shrine (Hanging Gardens of Haifa), Stella Maris Monastory, Church of Annunciation and Church of St. Joseph in Nazareth and Cana

This morning we checked out of Hotel Paradise in Bethlehem. Saying good-bye to Jerusalem we drove towards Tel-Aviv, the commercial capital of Israel. We did not stop in Tel Aviv but went past to a suburb, Jaffa.
Picturesque Jaffa, on the Mediterranean Sea just south of Tel Aviv, is where the apostle Peter received a crucial vision that changed his mind about accepting gentiles into the early Christian Church.

Peter was staying in the seaside house of a tanner called Simon and went up on the roof to pray.

He fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and a sheet lowered, filled with all sorts of animals, which he was told to eat. When he protested that some of the animals were unclean, a voice told him, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane”.

Realizing that “I should not call anyone profane or unclean”, Peter accepted an invitation to visit a centurion called Cornelius at Caesarea, about 48 kilometers up the coast, and accepted Cornelius as the first gentile to convert to Christianity (Acts 10).

Called Joppa in biblical times, Jaffa is one of the oldest port cities on earth.It was here that the prophet Jonah embarked for his fateful encounter with a whale (Jonah 1:3), and for centuries it was the arrival port for pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.[/i]

Jaffa offers no original sites to visit, but a disused private residence (formerly a mosque) behind Jaffa’s lighthouse is believed to stand on the site of Simon the tanner’s house.

Peter’s vision is commemorated at St Peter’s Church, on a Catholic property that overlooks the waterfront just off Kedumim Square. In this church you find pictures of Peter's vision, rasing of Tabitha and an uncommon pulpit depicting a tree.

Some connection to Greek Mythology
A chain of reefs protects the port, the northernmost called Andromeda’s Rock. Here, according to Greek mythology, the princess Andromeda was chained as a sacrifice to a sea monster, but was rescued by the monster-slayer Perseus, who then married her.

Mediterranean Sea



Archaeological site of Herod's Palace by the Mediterranean sea at Jaffa


and the Aqueduct that brought fresh water from the Mount Carmel, a long way off (some 16 km) to the pools of Herod,s palace.

I wanted to take a photograph of me by the Mediterranean Sea. I managed that one with the help of another tourist but forgot to get one from the other side with both the aqueduct and the sea behind me. May be next time, hopefully!

Open end of the aqueduct and its continuation through the country side.


Mount Carmel

The prophet Elijah’s fire-lighting challenge — one of the Old Testament’s most spectacular contests between Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, and a pagan deity — took place on the south-eastern summit of Mount Carmel.
Elijah called fire from heaven

Elijah’s challenge came during a period after successive kings “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (1 Kings 16:30).

King Ahab had married the Phoenician princess Jezebel. She turned his allegiance from Yahweh to her god Baal and had Yahweh’s prophets slaughtered.

So Elijah called on Ahab to assemble the 450 priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. There he challenged the priests to call on fire from Baal to light a sacrifice.

As the book of 1 Kings relates, Baal failed to respond to the priests’ cries. Then Elijah rebuilt the ruined altar of the Lord and offered a sacrifice. Immediately fire from heaven consumed the offering, even though it had been soaked in water.
It is marked by a dramatic stone statue of Elijah, sword raised to heaven as he slaughters a Baal priest,
................and a small Carmelite monastery, surrounded by a nature reserve.

A superb view takes in the plain of Esdraelon and southern Galilee.
On the plain below is the Kishon brook, where Elijah took the priests of Baal and had them put to death.

Mount Carmel’s most spectacular religious memorial, however, is the Baha’i Shrine of the Báb, which runs in manicured terraces up the northern slope. The site is a sacred place for Baha’is around the world.

Baha’i Shrine
also known as Hanging Gardens of Haifa

A golden dome, marble walls, granite pillars and manicured gardens cas===Your subheading here...===cading down a slope of Mount Carmel make the Baha’i Shrine in Haifa a spectacularly colourful attraction for visitors.

The shrine is the world headquarters of the Baha’i faith, a monotheistic religion committed to the unity of humanity and the fundamental oneness of all religions.

The shrine, built in 1953, contains the remains of Siyyid Al Muhammad (1819-50). Known as the Bab, he is revered as the prophet-herald of the Baha’i faith.

The shrine’s nine sides represent the nine major religions of the world. Its dome is covered with 14,000 gold-coated bricks.

Around the shrine are several other buildings of classical design, including the Universal House of Justice, the seat of the Baha’i governing body.

The shrine and its elaborate gardens are an important place of pilgrimage for Baha’is, who number more than 5 million worldwide. They also attract many tourists.


A view from the lower end of the garden

At the western edge of Mount Carmel is Stella Maris Monastery, the world headquarters of the Carmelites, a Catholic religious order.


A small cave under the monastery is held by a Christian tradition to be a place where Elijah occasionally lived — as people on Mount Carmel have lived in caves since prehistoric times.


Nazareth in Galilee is celebrated by Christians as the town where the Virgin Mary, aged around 14 years, agreed to become pregnant with the Son of God. It also became the home town of Jesus, Mary and her husband Joseph after the Holy Family returned from fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod the Great’s soldiers.
But being hidden from the public eye, nestled in a hollow among the hills of Galilee, it provided an ideal setting for the years of preparation Jesus needed as he “increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour” (Luke 2:52). It was also a place from which a young boy could watch the world go by: South of the village, a vantage point overlooked the Plain of Jezreel, where traders and travellers passed along a great highway between Babylon and Cairo.

Modern-day Nazareth is dominated by the towering cupola of the Church of the Annunciation. It is an Arab city, mainly Muslim, with an adjoining Jewish upper city of Nazareth Ilit, but a profusion of churches, monasteries and other religious institutions make it a major centre of Christian pilgrimage.

Church of the Annunciation

The massive two-storey Church of the Annunciation, in strikingly modern architectural style and colourfully decorated, is the largest Christian church in the Middle East.


Crypt that is traditionally held to be the house of Virgin Mary


Close by is the church of St. Joseph. Tradition says that this is built over the carpentry of St. Joseph but without much evidence.
A stairway in the church descends to a crypt where caverns can be seen through a grille in the floor. Seven further steps lead to a 2-metre square basin or pit with a black-and-white mosaic floor. This is believed to have been a pre-Constantinian Christian baptistry, perhaps used as early as the 1st century.


the place of first miracle of Jesus, turning water into wine.


Findings of excavations under the Franciscan church including a stone vessel


Having visited the house of Simon the Tanner, Herod's palace and the aquaduct in Jaffa, Elijah's caves, Stella Maris and hanging gardens of Haifa in Mt. Carmel, Nazareth and Cana we reached the new resting place at Tiberius by the sea of Galilee. Hotel Golan too was a good hotel. We had a very good view of the see of Galilee.

A view of the see of Galilee from our room at the hotel at dusk......

......... and dawn.



Posted by MILROYW 03:12

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