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View of the Galilee from Mount of BeatitudesBy Itamar Grinberg [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

View of the Galilee from Mount of Beatitudes
By Itamar Grinberg [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

The Mount of Beatitudes has a strong significance in Christian and Jewish history; many of the faithful believe that it is the location where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Located in Tabgha, Israel, The Mount of Beatitudes is quite the tourist attraction on the northwestern shore of the Galilee.

 

 

Structures and Attractions near the Mount

The Mount is approximately 17.5 meters above the Sea of Galilee and from the Mount; visitors can see the eight-sided Church of Tours a Israel en Español-Israel Dorado (Mount of Beatitudes)Mount of Beatitudes. The Church is located on the slope of the mount. According to some sources, the basilica of the church was built sometime between 1936 and 1938, designed by Antonio Barluzzi, a famous Italian church architect.

The eight sides of the church are symbolic of the eight beatitudes:

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
  2. Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.
  3. Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth.
  4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.
  5. Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.
  6. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God.
  8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Gardens and a monastery have been erected in the area of the Church of Mount of Beatitudes; visitors can gather in the gardens to contemplate or to listen to sermons or observe other religious rituals. The monastery was completed in 1922 and houses the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There, visitors can attend prayer courses and study. There are plans to expand the housing facility to increase the number of rooms for visitors in the guest house and to create a retreat center.

Notable Sites Visible from the Mount and the Church of Beatitudes

CapernaumBy Bon Adrien [CC BY 2.0], via flickr

Capernaum
By Bon Adrien [CC BY 2.0], via flickr

From the Mount of Beatitudes and the church, visitors can see the locations where Jesus ministered in Galilee, including his home, three kilometers away in Capernaum; Sower’s Cave, where Jesus is said to have taught the Parable of the Sower from a boat in the bay.

The Mount of Beatitudes is believed to be the site where Jesus came to his disciples after his resurrection and instructed them to go out into the world. Monuments on the crest of Eremos Hill feature quotes delivered by Jesus – including Matthew 28 16-20, when Jesus told his disciples to “go teach all nations.”

Located along the Jesus Trail in the Holy Land, the Mount is open to visitors from 8 am-11:30am & 2:30pm-4:40pm and admission is 5 shekels per car.

 

If you’re interested in scheduling a vacation to explore the Mount of Beatitudes and the nearby locations, we can help you to create the perfect Christian Israel tour to the Holy Land.

We would like to offer this selection of churches in the Holy Land that are off the beaten trail for you, please click to download.

 

This is part of our Travel Diary series where our travelers write about their experiences abroad and share it with our readers.

Thank you very much Stacey, for sharing and allowing us to share with all of our readers! 

Click here to read Part I - Thoughts of a Traveler: Settling in to Tel Aviv

———-

Shalom from Israel—we are now reaching the end of our second week, and just came back from spending several days in the North, including along the Syrian and Lebanese borders. Israel has so much more going for it than its complex geo-political situation though; one could easily come to Israel for a month and focus on any of the following pursuits:

Archaeological Study
Beit Shean Ruin archaeological

Bet She’an National Park
By Gil Travel

Israel has among the most significant archaeological sites in the world, many of which are UNESCO Heritage Sites. Israel supervises about 300 annual excavations. We visited one of these sites last week–Bet She’an, an ancient city in the northern Jordan Valley dating from the 5th century BCE.

Eating
israel street food fair spices and food

Israel Street Food Festival
By State of Israel [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

You could literally eat your way through Israel. It is a major foodie paradise largely because of Israeli creativity, the mélange of middle eastern cuisines (Arab, Persian, Iraqi, Moroccan, and Yemeni), and strikingly fresh produce.

The “street food” alone is amazing, and we find ourselves having far too many choices and not enough days! U.S. gourmet magazines have ranked Tel Aviv-Jaffa among the world’s most serious culinary destination. In TA alone, there are 4,536 eateries and three enormous fresh food markets.

Active Travel
Hula Valley crane migrationBy Itamar Grinberg [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

Hula Valley crane migration
By Itamar Grinberg [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

Israel is a hikers’ paradise with 5,500 miles of marked trails. We did hikes this week at the Agamon Hula Nature Reserve (stopover point for 20,000 cranes migrating to North Africa) and Banias Nature Reserve, both of which were well-marked, clean, and replete with interesting tidbits about what we were seeing.

Israel is undergoing a biking renaissance, which has led to thousands of  trails being marked across the country from the Negev to Galilee in the north.  In TA, biking has become a popular means of getting around the city with a fairly functional bike rental scheme called Tel-O-Fun.  I say “fairly functioning” because Ira and I have had some amusing struggles trying to use the system!

Holy Sites
Approximately, 3.5 million tourists come to Israel each year (2014 being an aberration), many of whom come as part of a religious pilgrimage. Many sites are pilgrimage destinations for Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Bahá’ís.

Israel has a Gospel Trail which incorporates over 60 kilometers of specially sign-posted footpaths and roads so that visitors can experience the biblical landscapes and sites in which Jesus and the early Christians lived. Ira and I stayed in Tiberias at The Scots’ Hotel, which is owned and managed by the Church of Scotland, based on its earlier use as a “mission” hospital set up by a Scottish surgeon in 1894.

We are heading South next week to the Negev and Jordan.

Sending you much love.

Stacey

market stall casablanca morocco

A market in Casablanca
By Luc Legay [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

Although the region was made famous by “Casablanca,” the 1942 classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, there’s so much to know about Morocco than the name of the largest city within the kingdom.

Did you know that it is ruled by a royal figure, not a political appointee? As you plan your trip to the North African city, test your knowledge of Morocco!

 

Moroccan Trivia and Facts

  • Casablanca is the kingdom’s largest city, but it is not the capital. Morocco’s capital is
    Fort de la CaletteBy nedim chaabene [CC BY 2.0], via flickr

    Fort de la Calette – Rabat, Morocco
    By nedim chaabene [CC BY 2.0], via flickr

     Rabat, which is also the country’s second largest city, following Casablanca.
  • The 30 million inhabitants of the country speak a variety of languages. Arabic is the most widely-spoken language and the official language, while French is considered the second unofficial language, because of its wide use in business. English, Spanish and Berber dialects are becoming more popular.
  • From 1912 until 1952, Morocco was controlled by France and Spain. Although French interest in the region dates as far back as 1830, the “interest” of France related to the North African country led to a so-called crisis that was resolved in 1906 by making Morocco a region of special interest, entrusted to France and to Spain. Morocco became a protectorate of the two countries on March 30, 2012.
    Snails in the night marketBy Dominik Golenia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

    Snails in a Marrakesh night market food stall
    By Dominik Golenia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via flickr

  • Snails are a common dish. Although many think of high-priced restaurants with five star chefs when they think of escargots as a meal, in Rabat and around the kingdom, travelers will find snails available at roadside stands and in the souks.
  • In 1960, the city of Agadir was leveled. The event killed 15,000 individuals. When it was rebuilt, the city was relocated approximately two miles.
  • Primary education is free. In Morocco, youths must attend school until they are 15 – from early childhood education through the age of 15 schooling is free, although many (especially girls in rural areas) do not attend school.
  • Morocco has more than a dozen public universities. Around the country, there are 14 public universities, including the Mohammed V University in Rabat.
  • The Moroccan Dirham is a closed currency – you can’t bring much into the country or take it out. Your best bet for spending money in Morocco is to obtain the Moroccan Dirham when you get there. Many hotels and shops will take major credit cards, but not all.
  • There are two types of taxis for travel in the country. You can use a petit taxi (for up to 3 individuals) within the limits of a city or town. A grande taxi suits larger groups of people or trips outside of the city or between towns.

For more traveling tips to Morocco, check out this post

If we have piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about our special small group Jewish Heritage Morocco Tour, contact Gil Travel or email Sue E. at susane[at]giltravel.com for more information!