|Courtyard in the Church of the Annunciation|
This morning we headed out from St. Gabriel's to northern Galilee at the uppermost frontier. Before leaving Nazareth, Dr. Wright stopped for pieta bread near the Church of the Annunciation, so several of us ran in to catch a glimpse of the church in the daylight. This time pictures were permitted and the upper chapel was open. After a few minutes we were headed out to our first official destination at Baram on the Lebanese border. Biblically, this area would have been referred to as Lebanon, although actual power control varied on the strength of Tyre. Baram was inhabited up until 1947. After Israel took the land during the war, they gave citizenship to the Arab Christians living here, but required that they move in order to create a border zone between Israel and Lebanon. Most of those who come back here are the second and third generations of those who lived here. They are still petitioning the government to allow them to move back. Many can still point to where their dad or uncle used to live in the village. The significance of the site is the synagogue found here. The style of synagogue is from either a Roman or Nabeataon form. The question is raised as to whether it was a synagogue built like one of the pagan basilicas or if it was converted later. We really do not know much about the site's history. Baram is not really mentioned until the 16th century. By then, the site was already in ruins. The style is from the first few centuries, but we cannot really say for sure. It would have been somehwere "like this" that Jesus would have talked to the Canaanite Phoenician women about the healing of her son.
Our next stop was at Kadesh in the ancient Tyre district. Here we have an unexcavated Roman Temple in a very similar design as to that at Baram. The site has changed little since Edward Robinson was here in the late 1800's. As there had been a recent fire in the area, the site was very easy to look across and see the features. Again the temple built here is very Roman in style which would lend us to believe that the other temples / synagogues in the area were at least patterned after if not converted pagan temples.
Our next stop was at the base of Mount Herman at Caesarea Philippi or Panius as it would have been called in more ancient days. Although Jesus was probably not here specifically when addressing his disciples, he was in the district – enough that the worldview and connotations thereof would be associated with Christ's conversation. We once again hiked to the Banyis falls. From here, we headed out to Omrit - a site I am willing to guess very few people have visited. It is off the beaten path of the tourist. Omrit has only been excavated in the last fifteen years and is still well under way. Prior to the recent discoveries at Omrit, it has been believed that one of Herod's three temples to Augustus was at the mouth of the stream at Caesarea Philippi. However, it would be odd for Hared to build a temple in a place already devoted to the god Pan. Rather, Josephus says it was nearby the source of the Jordan river. Omrit fits this location. Here at Omrit, three temples have been discovered – each an expansion of the other. The first expanstion is certainly Herodian in style. The molding around the outside is the same style found on the Herodium itself. It appears the temple was expanded again, perhaps under Herod's grandson King Agrippa, but the expansion could not match Herod's quality and splendor. Again, this is a new dig. Much of what has been found has not yet published. It is exciting to step into the middle of such an archeology dig and publication process. From here, we headed an hour south to Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee for our remaining two nights here in the region of Galilee.
|Church of the Annunciation|
|Just about every nation has donated an image of Mary to the church. Here|
is Ukraine's contribution.
|The modern church is built on the remains of the Byzantine Church.|
|Inside the grotto is the supposed location that the angel|
Gabriel visited Mary with the news of the Son.
|The upper chapel.|
|Looking up into the dome.|
|Images of Mary and Gabriel everywhere ... even in the floor tile.|
|Here is American's image of Mary ... rather "unique"|
|Outer courtyard of the images of Mary from all over the world.|
|At the Church of the Annunciation.|
|Driving North, passing the Arbel Cliff (Just on the other side is the Sea of|
|Entering Biblical Lebanon - (Modern day northern Israel) - Notice the|
"Cedars of Lebanon"
|The main Synagogue at Baram|
|Inside the Synagogue (was likely a Roman Temple before it|
was converted into a synagogue).
|Remains of the second synagogue|
|The Maronite Arab Christian Church at Baram. The Maronites are largely|
independent, but kept their allegiance to Rome after the Great Schism.
|Outlook from Baram|
|This region of "Lebanon" shifted back and forth between Israel and Tyre|
depending on the strength of the nations.
|Overlooking the Baram country side|
|Heading further up into the biblical region of Tyre (still on the Israeli side)|
|Way over there - with the bare mountain - that's Lebanon.|
|Arriving at Kadesh - a city within the borders of biblical Tyre|
|Due to a recent fire over the tel, the stones and structures are easily visible|
|Edward Robinson visited here back in the 1800's. The site is largely unchanged|
since his visit. What he describes is exactly what we see. Robinson thought
the remains here were Jewish in origin, but the modern consensus is Roman.
|Sarcophagus at the site.|
|The remaining wall of the temple.|
|Again, this site has not yet been excavated by archaeologists, but detail|
drawings of what is visible above ground have been made.
|Outlook from Kadesh|
|The actual entrances are on the right and left sides. The big opening in|
the middle appears to have been blocked for entrance - used rather to light
up the temple - particular with the morning sunshine.
|The left entrance.|
|Just don't push on the wall too hard ... there isn't much|
keeping it up!
|Arriving back at our bus, we found the Israeli military are apparently|
doing some training in the area.
|Looking out over the rift valley.|
|Back at Caesarea Philippi - Ionic Capital|
|The mouth of the ancient spring at Caesarea Philippi|
|Taking in the beautiful views|
|While hiking to the Banyas Falls, we stop at an old mill grinder - this one|
turned by water.
|By re-routing the water, one could turn the the mill|
stone without the use of animals.
|Walking to the bus, one can make out the Nimrod Fortress on the far hill.|
|In the middle of nowhere ... where are we going?|
|Ah, I see a few remains in the distance.|
|The site is Omrit - a fairly recent archaeology project|
|Looking over the remains - builders used lots of Basalt stones (the black ones)|
|Here at Omrit are the remains of three temples - each an expansion of the|
|Close up of the expansion wall.|
|Here we can see the third expansion - the molding around the bottom is|
certainly by Herod the Great - it's exactly the same as the Herodium. This
means that this is the only surviving temple built by Herod the Great.
|Better shot of the molding and expanding "fill" to the right - presumably by|
Herod's grandson, King Agrippa
|Here we can contrast the Herod's molding and the third|
addition molding - Herod's is far superior in quality.
|Archaeologists have uncovered many excellent frescoes.|
|Here I'm peaking through to get a glimpse of some of these "unpublished"|
frescoes at Omrit
|Some blue coloring ...|
|Dr. Wright next to the original temple|
|Oooh! There's an inscription ... to bad I'm not any good with Greek|
|Another shot of the original temple at Omrit - just recently discovered|
|Looking out from Omrit|
|Standing in the remains of Omrit|
|Scenic view around Omrit - the main road used to pass this way as it headed|
to Caesarea Philippi and on to Damascus
|The Sea of Galilee is once again in site.|
|The sun is getting ready to set ...|
|And has now setting over the Arbel Pass - view from Ein Gev.|