Now an archaeological park, Capharnaum was a fishing village of the Hasmonean period between 140 BC and 116BC and its located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The layout of the village was quite regular with small districts bordered by small cross sectional streets. The houses were constructed with good quality mortar and the walls with basalt blocks!
The village remains here are protected well and its spectacular! The village is now called as the Fisher’s Village. One of the houses in this village is believed to be that of St Peter. A church is build over it. Archaeological excavations have also revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other!
All these archaeological sites stand quite close to each other and near the shore of Galilee……
This ruined, but now well protected building, is among the oldest Jewish synagogues in the world! It’s huge and ornately carved. It stands on an elevated position and is build of imported white limestone.
The synagogue appears to have been built around the 4th or 5th century. But beneath this white stone building, there is a layer of local black basalt blocks which is said to be the foundation of another Synagogue from the 1st Century ,i.e., from the time of Jesus! In Bible, a synagogue in Capharnaum is mentioned now and then. So, this must’ve been the place where Jesus taught and healed the sick. This thought crossed my mind as I was in this synagogue and it gave me trills!!
There are two inscriptions in the synagogue. One in Greek and the other in Aramaic.
This building was identified by Charles William Wilson, a British military officer and geographer of the 19th century. In 1926,the restoration of the synagogue began.
The building has a great beauty and status!
In contrast with the synagogue white stones, the village remains are made of local black basalt. The village remains dates back to the time of the Roman invasion even before the birth of Jesus.
St Peter’s House
After the excavations done here in 1984, an octagonal church like remains was found and after further research, it was concluded that the area within it was the house of St Peter. St Peter (Simon Bar-Yohan) is one of the twelve disciples of Christ and he is the first Pope of the Catholic Church. Later during the 1990s, a modern church of octagonal shape was build above it.
There are mosaics within having geometric patterns. There is a central octagonal glass window in the church that enshrines the venerated room from Peter’s house. I walked up to the main floor and viewed this historical site.
The Church has full-length windows on the eight sides of it through which one could have a complete view of the lovely countryside and the sea. The use of wall and ceiling coverings in white stone is splendid!