Mount of Beatitudes

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The Mount of Beatitudes is a hill in Northern Israel on the Korazim Plateau. It is the spot where Jesus is believed to have delivered his Sermon on the Mount. Overlooking the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, the mount offers enchanting views of the northern part of the lake and across to the cliffs of the Golan Heights.

Inside the Mount of Beatitudes church

History

There is archaeological evidence of an ancient church near to the current building dating from the late 4th century, which coincides with the pilgrimages that were recorded around the same time. Its rock-cut cistern and the remains of a small monastery can still be seen. Part of an original mosaic floor from Capernaum is also on display. Although the specific site where Jesus stood and delivered his sermon has never been confirmed through physical evidence, the location of the Mount of Beatitudes is entirely reasonable, as Jesus was based in Capernaum, which is located just a few miles away and is clearly visible from the mount.

While religiously significant for obvious reasons, one does not have to be religious to enjoy the beauty of this site. Although a visit to the church will make clear why it is so special in Christianity, non-religious visitors can also admire and appreciate its unique atmosphere and incredible architecture.

How to get there

Public transport: The site can be reached via Route 90, a steep road that climbs up from the Sea Of Galilee from Tabcha Junction. From Tel Aviv there are regular trains to Tiberias central station and from there you can take a bus.

The site is open from 8am-11:30am & 2:30pm-4:40pm and admission is 5 shekels (approx $2USD) per car or free if on foot.

Take a tour: By far the best to reach the Mount of Beatitudes is with our Sea of Galilee tour. All travel arrangements are handled for you while you sit back and enjoy. Also, one of our knowledgeable guides will walk you through the sites and tell you all the fascinating history and information you need to know.

The Church of the Beatitudes

The Church of the Beatitudes is an imposing octagonal building designed to blend into the surrounding slope. It was built in 1938 according to the design of Italian architect, Antonio Barluzzi, and was partly financed by Benito Mussolini. The eight sides of the church represent the eight beatitudes – eight blessings recited by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount – which are also in the church’s stained glass windows, one in each of the church’s 8 sides. The central altar is made of alabaster and onyx and is surrounded by the seven virtues (justice, charity, prudence, faith, fortitude, hope, and temperance) depicted in the mosaic floor. The pristinely  landscaped garden in front of the church has three additional altars for group worship. The church’s entrance displays two precious, original palliums (white cloaks) that were donated by visiting popes: Paul IV in 1964, and John Paul II in 2000.

On the peak of the Mount of Beatitudes is a Christian center called Domus Galilaeae (House of Galilee), which opened in 2000 for meetings, study, and retreats. The center and adjacent monastery belong to the Neo-Catechumenal Way, a Catholic movement for Christian reformation. The center’s library is dedicated to books about the Sermon on the Mount and the chapel has a large painting by Argüello that pays homage to the church’s Jewish roots. Adjacent to the church are a functioning monastery and hostel.

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