Galilee is the go
We have made it to the Sea of Galilee! Now our guide, David Goldberg, reckons it is more like a big lake and maybe so but it still looks great late in the day with the afternoon sun lighting up the Golan Heights. It has been a long 10 hour day on the road getting here from Tel Aviv, with plenty of on and off the bus stuff to wander around various sites.
First stop was Caesarea. Now this was a town built by Herod the Great as a port city and very much designed on a Roman plan.’ It was the place where The Holy Land connected with the outside world. Outward flowed the agricultural trade with Rome and inwards the things to keep the Romans in the Holy Land happy! Helped keep Herod in a job too.
Caesarea is remembered for a number of things. Among them the story of the conversion to Christianity of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, by Peter following the insight he received in Joppa (see yesterday’s notes). It is also the place from which Paul was sent by boat to Rome by the authorities. At one point today we were standing on a spot where the biblical and archaeological evidence suggests Paul was questioned by the Roman authorities, if not that spot then within yards of it.
Caesarea, is also the place where we have a clash of two cultures. The rather blood thirsty Roman existence, gladiator games, chariot racing etc where blood and gore was entertainment; but to the Jews blood (whilst being involved in sacrifice ) was considered to be life. Little wonder the Romans and the Jews did not see eye to eye. The Caesarea that Herod the Great built has long gone and what we walked over were the not insubstantial remnants uncovered by archaeologists and now protected within a National Park.
From Caesarea we moved onto Mt Carmel. This was after a short stop at the aqueduct that carried water to Caesarea from a spring at Mt Carmel, a distance of about 80 km. A very significant piece of engineering. At Mt Carmel Elijah dealt with the Baal worshippers. Our guide is pretty convinced that the biblical and archaeological evidence points to Mt Carmel, perhaps not exactly where we were but not far away, for this event in biblical history. The linkage is the reference to the spring on top of the Mt. Mt Carmel is quite high up and looks over the Jezereel Valley, which connects the coastal area to the inland, the Jordan River and Sea of Galilee.From here we headed off to Mt Megiddo. This is a largish hill which has been built up by 25 layers of historical occupation. From memory the guide suggested 5000 years of history is lying underneath. This is also the place which overlooks the plain of the Jezereel Valley where John in Revelations claims the battle of Armageden will be fought. Not sure I will be around to see it. The big event here was wending our way down 270 odd steps to the bottom of a shaft that was dug to connect via a tunnel at the bottom to a water sorce outside the walls of the city. Leanne (true to form) and a couple of others got a bit twitchy here descending these steps, but all made it! Including getting out at the other end up 80 steps.
From Megiddo we headed off to Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and our beds for the next few nights….