Ancient synagogue at Korazim National Park.

© Barbara Gabay/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Korazim National Park

Sea of Galilee

On a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Korazim is a good place to get an idea of the layout of a prosperous, midsized Galilean town in the time of Jesus and the Talmud (3rd to 5th centuries CE). The synagogue is known for its extraordinary basalt carvings, which depict floral and geometric designs – permitted by Jewish law – as well as Hellenistic-style representations of animals, humans (eg people stomping on grapes) and mythological figures (Medusa!).

Two extraordinary objects were found inside the synagogue: a richly decorated column thought to have held up the table used to read the Torah; and an armchair bearing an inscription in Aramaic. The originals are now in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (in situ you can see replicas). The people of Korazim – along with the inhabitants of Capernaum and Bethsaida – were denounced by Jesus for their lack of faith (Matthew 11:20–24).

The park, which is wheelchair accessible, is on Rte 8277, 2.5km east of Rte 90 (Korazim junction, ie Vered HaGalil), and 8km west of the ruins of Bethsaida (in Park HaYarden).

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