Highlights of Capernaum
The Franciscan Church in Capernaum was built only in 1990 and its very unusual architecture is in modern style. The hexagonally shaped building is resting on leg-like pillars over the site of Simon Peter’s house, which can be seen from within the church through the glass floor. It’s a unique solution to both protect the archaeological site below and create a place of prayer on the revered site without damaging it.
Background Information on Capernaum
On the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about one mile east of the Mount of the Beatitudes and 2-1/2 miles west of the Jordan River inlet, is the site of Capernaum – (Kfar Nachum). Today, Capernaum is a small archaeological site on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 10 kilometers north of Tiberias. The town holds significant importance to Christians and was never fortified. Though traces of occupation were discovered dating to the 13th century BC, the history of the town begins in the 2nd century BC. Upon the death of Herod the Great, his kingdom was divided among his three sons, and Capernaum fell to the lot of Herod Antipas.
Among the many Christian related sites around the Sea of Galilee Capernaum carries special importance. The little fishing village was the home base of Jesus after he started his ministry and the home of the Apostle Peter. Today the excavations of what almost certainly was the house of Peter can be seen, as well as synagogues, a later church and ruins of the ancient houses of the village. A magnificent limestone synagogue can be seen at Capernaum, as well as an archaeological museum entrusted with many excavated treasures from the area. The village of Capernaum was Jesus’ adopted home in the Galilee and several of his miracles happened here. Capernaum is mentioned 16 times in connection with Jesus’s Galilean ministry and appears in the biblical record only in the Gospels. However, there is ano significant “traditional” event related to Jesus that took place here, nevertheless it was the capital of his ministry and his adopted home (Mark 2:1) He lived, slept and ate here. Here, too, he called his first disciples, taught in the town’s synagogue and performed many miracles. Today a Franciscan church dominates the site, and the Franciscan order was the one to first protect and restore Capernaum after centuries of neglect and oblivion.
The church is open daily in the morning and the afternoon. Entrance fee to archaeological sites.