“Then some boats from Tiberius landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks” – John 6:23
Tiberias (Tiberius ) is a city on the edge of the western shore of the Sea of Galilee (lake Kinnereth) in northern Israel, it takes it’s name after a Roman Emperor. Tiberias has been around since 20AD and Jesus would have spent time here as he lived for part of his life in the area and performed many of the Biblical miracles around the Sea of Galilee. Today Tiberias is one of Israeli’s most important cities both religiously, historically and culturally and is the ideal city to use as your base when exploring the area.
History of Tiberius
Tiberias, has passed through the hands of the Romans, Crusaders, Muslims and Jews as well as being home to Samaritans and Christians. Tiberias has also suffered earthquakes, floods and wars however there are still ancient ruins and beautiful structures that have survived. From Roman times Tiberias has been a center of the Jewish religion and is considered one of Israel’s Holy Cities.
What is there to see and do in Tiberias
The ancient 4th century Severus synagogue in Tiberius has beautiful mosaic floors and is popular not only with Jewish travelers; you can also visit the Turkish Baths and the Tomb of the Jewish religious scholar Rambam.
Apart from being a city with an incredible history Tiberias is a vibrant sea-side vacation spot with diverse attractions for any tourist. Walk through Tiberias’ nightly open-air flea-market on the water’s edge; enjoy one of the best fish meals in the country at one of the excellent fish restaurants overlooking the Sea of Galilee serving fish fresh from the Sea; visit the therapeutic Tiberias hot springs to relax and rejuvenate; enjoy a water park with the kids, water sports or a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
You could also visit the Dona Garcia Museum which tells the story of Spanish Jews who arrived in Tiberias having escaped the inquisition and see the 18th century Daher EL-Amar Fortress. At the Berko Archeological Park you can see what Tiberias would have looked like in the first century including the Roman Cardo, the remains of Tiberias’ Old City wall and a Byzantine Basilica.
Tiberias offers over 30 hotels one of the most luxurious being St. Andrew’s Scots Hotel, a grand building dating back 120 years and owned by the Church of Scotland.
The Christian connection with Tiberias goes back to Biblical times when it is believed to have been the village of Rakkat mentioned in the book of Joshua.
Tiberias and the surrounding areas was the site for many of Jesus Christ’s miracles and the Sea of Galilee would have been a bustling center of activity during Jesus’ lifetime with many fishermen working on the water.
Christian pilgrims to Tiberias can visit the 900 year old St. Peter’s Church which is built on the top of a boat like Crusader church. Within Tiberias there is also a Greek Orthodox Church and monastery displaying exquisite religious icons.
Today Tiberias has many churches and is surrounded by Christian religious sites where Jesus performed miracles and major Biblical events took place. Tiberias is also part of the Jesus Trail which traces Jesus’ footsteps through the Galilee from Nazareth to Capernaum.