Capernaum: During his adulthood, Yeshua made Capernaum, a town on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee, a center of his activities. He taught in the local synagogue. It was also the hometown of Simon (Petros), Yaakov (James), Andrei (Andrew), Yochanan (John), and the tax collector Mattie (Matthew).
Kfar Nachum (Capernaum) was inhabited continuously from the 2nd C BCE to the 11th C CE, when it was deserted just before the Crusader’s conquest of the Holy Land. The village was destroyed during the devastating earthquake of 749 CE.
The village prospered during the Roman, Byzantine periods, and its citizens were mainly fishermen, farmers, and public servants to the Roman occupation including tax collection (Matthew).
Capernaum was partially destroyed by the Parthians in 614 CE. The synagogue and church were totally destroyed by the Arabs in 638 CE.
Most of Kfar Nachum was purchased by the Franciscans in 1894 including the area of ruins. The rest was purchased by the Greek Orthodox Church.
The archaeological remains at the site is a magnificent Synagogue which was built from white limestone at the end of the 4th C CE. The building is in contrast with all the other local black basalt buildings of the village. It had a roof, that stood over the pillars that are seen in the hall.
Under the monumental building are the remains of an early synagogue from the times of Yeshua, which was built with basalt rock. This earlier synagogue was the center of activities of Yeshua, where he taught (Mathew 4:13, 18:22 and Mark 1:21)
At the back of the Synagogue are the ruins of a village, built with the local black basalt stone.
The ancient synagogue has two inscriptions, one in Greek and the other in Aramaic, which commemorates the benefactors that helped in the construction of the building. There are also carvings of five- and six-pointed stars, fruits and palm trees of the Holy Land and the most important artifact is the arch of the covenant carried inside a wagon as described in the Bible. (1 Samuel Chapter 4:1-22 – 4: So the people sent to Shiloh, and they brought from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, who sitteth upon the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.)
Petros, also known as Simon Bar-Jonah, was one of Yeshua’s 12 apostles. He was a fisherman, and his house was located close to the shores of the sea. This site is believed to be his house, as verified by the archaeological excavations. During the Byzantine era an octagonal church was built over his house erected by the early Christian worshippers.
In 1990 a modern church was built over the Byzantine octagonal church. You can walk up to the main floor, that has a glass bottom in the center, and view the ruins below.
Yosef Ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius), the Northern Commander of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66 CE, writes about the area of the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum. Josephus Flavius (Wars of the Jews Book 3, 10, 8)
By bus, taxi or guided tour.