Israel 2010- Day 9- Mt. Tabor, Nazareth & Tel Megiddo

Another article published on my old blog. This was one year ago today.

Transfiguration, Annunciation & Armageddon

Early on my ninth day, I drove from Tiberias on The Sea of Galilee to Mount Tabor. Tabor is reported to be the site of the Transfiguration, when Jesus took Peter, John & James up “a high mountain apart” so that he could speak with Elijah and Moses. Tabor’s setting certainly fits the description, and today it is a pilgrimage site with one of the most attractive chapels in Israel commemorating the spot.

The Church of the Transfiguration was completed in 1924 over the remains of Caananite settlements going back almost 3,000 years. Above the central altar are is an attractive mosaic depicting Christ during the transfiguration. There are two small chapels set to the side dedicated to Moses & Elijah.

From the top there are attractive views of the surrounding Galilean countryside.

After Tabor, it was off to the chaotic center of Nazareth. It was a small village when Jesus grew up here, today it is an over-crowded city of 65,000. It is the largest Arab city in the non-Palestinian part of Israel. The centerpiece of the city is the enormous Basilica of the Annunciation, built over the site of Mary’s house, and the spot where the angel Gabriel first appeared to Mary to give her the news of her upcoming conception.

The church is built on two levels, the upper floor being the modern facility, with it’s gorgeous dome and some truly beautiful stained glass windows.

The upper floor and the courtyard surrounding the basilica also contain artwork from the church’s of many different nations depicting the annunciation.

The Grotto of the Annunciation, located below the modern facility, venerates the home where Mary lived, and contains a small chapel, which had a tour group having a service when I was there.
Central Part of the Tel
Some 15 miles south east of Nazareth is the ancient ruins of Tel Megiddo, the city of Armageddon. This site is one of Israel’s most complicated ruins, with 25 different layers of settlements having been unearthed in this one spot. The oldest excavated parts of the Tel (City) go back to the early bronze age, some 3300 years ago.
Circular sacrifice altar from Canaanite times

Israelite Public Building from King Ahab’s period (860 BC)
The spot is famous for being conquered from the Canaanites around 1000 AD by King David. The Canaanites had occupied the city since the times of the Judges. Solomon made Megiddo one of his northern fortified cities, build a large defense wall around the perimeter in the 900s BC.

The Gates Built by Solomon

It should be pointed out that while many of the locations mentioned in the Bible are subjective, Megiddo has been archeologically proven to be what it is. The site is amazingly complex, and since it contains so many different layers, a visit to the museum and a close following of the guide that is handed out upon entry was very important. There are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of ruins in Israel, but to highlight how important a site this is, it is one of the few that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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