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Galilee Lake Attractions

The Kinneret is an important national symbol due to it being Israel's largest and most important source and reservoir of drinking water. Each year thousands of tourists visit the Kinneret region and revel in the beauty and history of the site.
For both Christians and Jews, the Kinneret region is of utmost importance. There are a number of revered Jewish figures who were laid to rest in the region, such as Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes and Maimonides and their graves attract huge numbers of people who wish to pray at these auspicious places.  The Kinneret also has special significance in the Christian religion because it is believed that Jesus performed many miracles in the region. Therefore, Christian pilgrims also make their way to the area, visiting sites such as the Church of the Multiplication, Mount of Beatitudes and the baptism site, Yardenit.
The Kinneret region also played an important role in Jewish history, from Talmudic times until the early years of the State of Israel and sites such as Korazim, the Kinneret Courtyard, Ginosar and Ein Gev provide visitors with the perfect opportunity to understand and re-experience the rich history of the region.
Modern attractions such as the irresistible Galita Chocolate Farm, the exhilarating Start Point Sailing Club and the Abu Kayak Sailing experience also supply the visitors who are seeking a unique experience with just that.
The Kinneret is often automatically associated with sunny, sandy beaches and there is good reason for that but for those searching for the historical or outdoorsy or adrenalin-filled or gastronomical side of the Kinneret, look no further; the Kinneret region is just waiting to be explored.
 


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South of the Old City of Tiberias is the Hamat Tiberias National Park, home to seventeen hot springs- the 60-degree Celsius waters are infused with about one-hundred minerals that have unique therapeutic qualities. The healing capabilities of the site have been known for two-thousand years and the baths have attracted visitors since time immemorial.  The water from these springs feed the Tiberias Springs Spa.
Hamat Tiberias was discovered in 1920 by members of the "Labor Battalion" who paved the road from Tiberias to Tzemah. A year later a ritual candelabra was found what had seven arms that is today displayed in the Israel Museum. Another interesting find is a stone chair.
The remains of the local synagogue seem to be part of the synagogue of Severus, a building that was set up between the years 337-286 BC, during the period when the Sanhedrin was present in Tiberias. The synagogue was so called due to Greek lettering found at the site. The synagogue has a mosaic floor, the earliest-dating mosaic floor of all those revealed in ancient synagogues in Israel.
 




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Kursi is the Arabic name given to the valley whose western side touches the lake shore and where the remains of a Jewish fishing village from the times of the Mishnah and Talmud were found. On the eastern side of the valley, at the foot of the Golan heights, a monastery was discovered by accident during road construction after the Six Day War.
The monastery measures 123 x 145 m, making it the largest one found in Israel. It was built together with its church in the fifth century CE and was damaged during the Persian invasion in 614 CE. The church was restored only to be abandoned again in the eighth century. A mosaic floor depicting animal life and plant designs was uncovered here and an inscription in Greek can be found on the floor of the baptistery.
In 1980 a small chapel was discovered near a promontory, whose apse was incorporated into a cave- this cave is identified by Christians as the place where Jesus performed a miracle for man plagued by unclean spirits.
There is a bench in the park known as "the magic bench" and it is popular among visitors, many of whom claim that wishes they made while sitting there came true.
 




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The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes is located in Tabgha on the northwesterly shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is a modern Church that stands on the ruins of 4th and 5th century Churches and houses a splendid Christian mosaic as well as the stone on which the miraculous mal was allegedly laid.
According to Christian belief, five thousand people had come to greet Jesus who had tried to seek out some peace and quiet. By the time they met him it was dinnertime and since there was nowhere in the village where food could be easily bought Jesus fed them all by miraculously multiplying his disciple's five loaves and two fishes so that there was enough food for everyone present.
Although there is a possibility that this is the actual site of the miracle, there is reason to believe that it is not so likely. It is hypothesized that due to the area being well-watered and proving shade, many Byzantine pilgrims would have sat here to eat and rest and perhaps the tradition that two miracles involving food was tied into this place.
On site there is a block of limestone found under the altar table that is believed to be Jesus' table. In front of the altar is a beautiful restored mosaic that portrays two fish flanking a basket of loaves. The lovely 5th-century mosaic floor is the earliest known example of a figured pavement in Palestinian-Christian art.
 




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Along the promenade that is found south of Tiberias, one can't help but notice a large cemetery that climbs the slope across the street. Some of the tombstones in the cemetery are so old that the inscription upon them can no longer be read. Others are more recent as the cemetery is still in use.
There is a tradition that the resurrection of the dead will begin here. The tradition is rooted in the Babylonian Talmud which notes that Tiberias is the lowest of all cities and will arise even before Jerusalem. Maimonides, in his writings, wrote that the resurrection in Tiberias will begin forty years before anywhere else.
Herod Antipas founded Tiberias in the hope that it would be a showcase Roman city but built the city on top of graves, an act that is forbidden by Jewish law. As a result, no self-respecting Jew would live there. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was known as a rebel against the Roman leadership as well as the author of the mystical Zohar and he bathed in the hot springs in Tiberias and was subsequently cured of a skin ailment. He then conducted a ceremony to purify Tiberias and soon after Tiberias rose to prominence.
Many famous, holy Jewish personalities are buried in the cemetery. Rabbi Isaiah ben Avraham HaLevi Horowitz- also known by the acronym "Shlah"- was a renowned leader, kabbalist and hlachic guide from the seventeenth century. Rabbi Nachman Horodenker was a student of the Baal Shem Tov and paternal grandfather of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. Numerous other students of the Baal Shem Tov are also buried in the cemetery.
 




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Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes is considered to be one of the greatest Tannaim of the fourth generation. A very close disciple of Rabbi Akiva, he was one of the five students of Rabbi Akiva that survived the plague that killed twenty-four thousand. According to the Talmud his father was a descendant of the Roman Emperor Nero who had converted to Judaism. His wife Bruriah is one of the few women mentioned in the Talmud.
The name "Meir" is a sobriquet- his real name was Nehorai. The name "Meir" means "illuminator" and was given to him because the enlightened the eyes of the scholars and students of Torah study. The epithet Baal Hanes means "he who does miracles." He was called so due to miracles that he performed in his lifetime. Many Jewish households have a Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes charity box and on happy occasions, in times of worry or when anticipating a birth, a few coins would be placed in the box and the phrase, "G-d of Rabbi Meir, answer me!"
Rabbi Meir passed away outside of Israel but was brought to Tiberias, the same city where his teacher Rabbi Akiva died, and was buried there on the shores of the Kinneret.
The grave can be found on the right side of the road at the southern exit from Tiberias, going towards Tzemah, opposite the Tiberias Hot Springs.
 




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The Tomb of Maimonides is located in central Tiberias on the western shore of the Kinneret. Maimonides died in Egypt in 1204 and was briefly buried there before being reinterred in Tiberias. The tomb of Maimonides is one of the most important Jewish pilgrimage sites in Israel and one of Tiberias' most visited attractions. Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz and Yokhanan Ben-Zakkai are also buried on the same site.
There are a number of legends told about the burial of Maimonides. Firstly, according to Jewish tradition his bones we placed for a week in a small shrine where he had studied and healed strangers. Some believe his bones never left Egypt whereas others believe that he was then buried in Tiberias.
Another legend tells of a group of Bedouins who came to attack the funeral cortege as it marched through the desert until they realized that it was the funeral of the man who had attended to them and their families for free. As a result, they formed a protective guard instead for the procession as it made its way to Palestine.
The Tomb of Maimonides is found a mere five minutes from the Central Bus Station in Tiberias. Walk up Yokhanan Ben-Zakkai Street from haYarden Street; the tomb is two blocks up on the right up a wide stairway.
•    Please respect the sanctity of the place by dressing modestly- scarves are available to borrow at the entrance.
 




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In 1908, the Kinneret Courtyard farm was established next to the Moshava Kinneret. During the period of the Second Aliyah (1904-1914), the Agricultural Training Courtyard served as an agricultural  and social laboratory, with the first pioneers coming here and it serving as the birthplace of social experimentation with ideas such as "Kvutza" (one such example being Degania), "Kibbutz" (an example being Ein Harod) and "Moshav" (for example Nahalal) being coined here.
The feminist revolution also played a role in the Kinneret Courtyard which was home to the "Chavat Ha'almot," a women's training farm. The first agricultural schools were also started here. The site was renovated and restored and one can take part today in guided tours that acquaint one with the heroes of the time and the great ideas of the pioneers who established the country.
 




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The Galita Chocolate Farm is a charming place, located on Kibbutz Deganya Bet in the Jordan Valley, approximately 300 meters from the shores of the Kinneret. The farm is housed in a lovely old stone building that functioned as the first cowshed of the Kibbutz about 85 years ago! Snuggled between the banana groves and the luscious lawns, Galita offers a sensory pleasurable experience and true heaven for chocolate lovers!
Included in the Galita Chocolate Farm experience are;
•    A film depicting the story of chocolate- from the fruit on the tree to the chocolate melting in your mouth,
•    Plaques relaying  legends and tales related to chocolate,
•    Chocolate workshops that teach participants how to work with raw materials so as to produce chocolate at home. The workshops are designed for groups and last three hours.
•    A factory outlet that includes a display window where one can view the factory in action,
•    A coffee bar with a variety of delicious treats, including homemade ice-cream.
 




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Maagan Eden is a stunning resort located on the shore of the Kinneret. It is located next to Kibbutz Maagan, with a breath-taking view of the Golan heights and the Galilee. The Maagan Eden Resort offers top-class accommodation on the luscious, rolling lawns by the lakeside beach and a swimming pool.
The Start Point Sailing and Windsurfing Club was established in 2008 near the resort and has become a unique attraction for guests to the resort. The club offers a variety of sports including windsurfing, sailing, volleyball, table tennis, soccer and  paddle-ball, to name just a few. The specialty of the club is nautical sports with windsurfing courses, catamaran sailing, single and double kayaks, paddle boats and hassake boats all on offer.
If you are passing through the area and/or fancy your hand at some thrilling water sports, make sure to pop in to the Start Point Sailing and Windsurfing Club.
 




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"The Jordan Carriages" company offers a unique experience of exploring the southern Jordan River area on a horse-drawn carriage, singing the songs of the famous poetess Rachel, hearing local stories and walking to breath-taking lookout points over the Jordan Valley. Special rides are provided for children.
Visitors are treated to authentic traditional refreshments, including Pitta bread baked on an outdoor stove, served with soft goat's milk cheese, olive oil, hyssop and hot herbal tea.
The activities include:
•    Learning about horses and their care
•    Arts and crafts with natural materials
•    A short walk in water
•    A trip to Yavniel Creek
•    Baking Pitta bread in a traditional outdoor stove
•    An option walk along the Jordan River.
 




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Visit the Noah's Ark site in Kvutzat Kinneret Kibbutz in the Jordan Valley for the ultimate tomcar (off-road utility vehicle) and biking experience. There are a range of trails available to explore in tomcars, with each outing led by a professional, qualified guide. The tomcars are all insured and the trails carefully tested. Those who want to drive a tomcar must have a license. The tomcars have been approved by the Technion and meet the strictest European and American standards.
There are also bicycles available for rent including child seats that can be attached to the bicycles. It is also possible to arrange specially-planned activities in the Jordan Valley and Golan heights area in advance. Picnics can also be included for twenty people and more, including vegetarian options.
 




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The Yigal Allon Promenade in Tiberias is more commonly known as the Tiberias Promenade ("HaTayellet" in Hebrew. The Promenade offers a pleasant stroll by the water, allowing visitors to take in the beautiful view and to eat their fill at one of the many fish restaurants which fill it. Sunset and the evening are particularly special times to visit the Promenade, with a multi-colored sky tucking way the sun.
The Yigal Allon Promenade is located near to the Old City of Tiberias and the small Marina. in the tourist seasons there are stalls that line the Promenade, offering arts and crafts items, house decorations, henna tattoos, beads and other similarly inessential but unique souvenirs.
In recent years the Yigal Allon Promenade has been renovated and it is well worth visiting this site, finding a quiet spot and simply taking in the gentle breeze that blows over the Kinneret.
 




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Along the promenade that is found south of Tiberias, one can't help but notice a large cemetery that climbs the slope across the street. Some of the tombstones in the cemetery are so old that the inscription upon them can no longer be read. Others are more recent as the cemetery is still in use. There is a tradition that the resurrection of the dead will begin here. The tradition is rooted in the Babylonian Talmud which notes that Tiberias is the lowest of all cities and will arise even before Jerusalem. Maimonides, in his writings, wrote that the resurrection in Tiberias will begin forty years before anywhere else. Herod Antipas founded Tiberias in the hope that it would be a showcase Roman city but built the city on top of graves, an act that is forbidden by Jewish law. As a result, no self-respecting Jew would live there. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was known as a rebel against the Roman leadership as well as the author of the mystical Zohar and he bathed in the hot springs in Tiberias and was subsequently cured of a skin ailment. He then conducted a ceremony to purify Tiberias and soon after Tiberias rose to prominence. Many famous, holy Jewish personalities are buried in the cemetery. Rabbi Isaiah ben Avraham HaLevi Horowitz- also known by the acronym "Shlah"- was a renowned leader, kabbalist and hlachic guide from the seventeenth century. Rabbi Nachman Horodenker was a student of the Baal Shem Tov and paternal grandfather of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. Numerous other students of the Baal Shem Tov are also buried in the cemetery.



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The Abu Kayak Company offers Kayak sailing for couples and families on the Jordan River. Abu Kayak is located on the northeastern shore of the Kinneret in a beautifully calm natural setting, and offers shady lawns, picnic tables, a snack bar, restrooms and a mini-aviary. The routes of both the kayaks and the boats are pleasant, lasting about an hour and making their way down the Jordan River through thick vegetation. Children from age four and up can take part in activities, making for a wonderful family day out. There is also a more challenging route for inner-tube rafting- participants must be at least twelve years of age. Groups must be booked in advance and can include other activities including meals.



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On the shores of the Kinneret is the wonderful Tiberium attraction. The southern promenade houses a multi-sensational show that integrates a breath-taking fountain that spurts water up dozens of meters along with pyrotechnics, an elaborate sound system and fantastic lighting that changes in time with the music. All in all, a fantastic show, no matter which one of the four shows you catch- "My Sea of Galilee" describing the development of the Sea of Galilee, "The Artistic Presentation" that is a fabulous experience of sound, color and rhythm, "From the Past Grows the Future," that deals with the conservation of tradition by the younger generation and, "The Classical Show," that features classical music creations alongside international artistic creations. Entry: Free

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