Magdala: A Jewel on the Sea of Galilee

Just a few miles north of Tiberias, the largest city on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, lies the ancient city of Magdala. Recently excavated and opened to the public, it has become one of my favorite places to visit.

Often, Israeli tour guides describe three types of sites: “A” sites are places Jesus was absolutely known to have been; “B” sites are those Jesus very well could have been, but we can’t say for sure; and “C” sites are areas in which there is little to no evidence that Jesus was ever there. Magdala is an “A” site. In fact, it is believed Jesus taught in the recently-found synagogue in Magdala, and likely spent a good deal of time with His disciples and followers in and around Magdala. Not surprisingly, historians believe Mary Magdalene was likely born and lived in Magdala.

Today, tourists have the opportunity to view the remains of the small synagogue, which contains the Magdala stone, bearing a very clear and distinct seven-branch menorah. It is the earliest menorah of the Second Temple Period found outside of Jerusalem, and provides very strong evidence of Jewish presence in the 1st century. (Believe it or not, that fact is being disputed more and more as evil foes attempt to wipe out any Jewish history in Israel.)

Boat-shaped altar in Duc in Altum church at Magdala (

A very unique boat-shaped altar sits front and center in a newly-built church with a gorgeous view of the Sea of Galilee. It provides a quiet, peaceful place to enjoy private moments contemplating our Savior’s ministry in the Galilee area.

Here is a peak at what Magdala has to offer:

Makes me want to be in the Holy Land. How about you!

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