Tabgha or Tabha, called in Hebrew Ein Sheva, meaning Seven Springs, is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel the Holy Land. It is traditionally accepted as the place of Jesus’ Miracle of the “Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes as in the New Testament Mark 6:30-46 and also the site of the fourth resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion as in John 21:1-24.
It was an Arab village since the rimes of the Ottoman Empire and during Israel War of Independence in 1948, when the villagers fled; it was destroyed by the orders of Yigal Allon.
The Church of Tabha
Origin of the name
Tabgha comes from a Greek word “Heptapegon” meaning “Seven Springs.” The name then pronounced in Arabic changed during the centuries to Tabgha.
The Seven Springs, of which only six have been discovered, produced water warmer than that of the Sea of Galilee which helped the production of algae, which in turn attracted the fish. This area has been frequented by fishermen during thousands of years.
Byzantine Mosaics at the Church of Multiplication
Church of the Multiplication
Tabha, located not far from Capernaum, has a church that originated in the 4th century AD by Joseph of Tiberias a Jewish convert to Christianity. It was then rebuilt during 478 to 486 by an Egyptian called Martyrius of Egyptian origin, thus for the beautiful Nile mosaic very popular in Byzantine times.
The Mosaic of the Loaves and Fishes that one can see in the place was built next to a rock believed to be where Jesus stood to perform the miracle and feed the crowd that came to hear him.
The Church was destroyed at the time of the Arab Conquest and the Persian Invasion in 670 AD, totally forgotten by the Crusaders and only rediscovered in the 20th century.
History says that on the 18th century, a Catholic German bought the land in order to build a hostel for Pilgrims to the Holy Land and while digging, they discovered archaeological evidence of a previous church of the Byzantine style. Due to limitations and prohibitions by the Ottoman Empire it had to wait until 1932, when the Land of Israel was under the British Mandate, two German archaeologists, Mader and Schneider, uncovered the church and the mosaics. After further excavations, finally in 1981, German Benedictines restored it to its Byzantine original form.
Today the church is maintained by Benedictine monks from the Dormition Abbey in Mount Zion Jerusalem.
Aerial view of the Promenade between Tabha and Capernaum
Tabha Capernaum Promenade
Built by the Israel Ministry of Tourism this is a popular place for visitors to take a walk and remember Jesus cooking breakfast for his disciples after the resurrection.
Tabgha is the traditional location for the “Calling of the Disciples”. It is believed that here Jesus walked along the shore and called out to Simon, Peter and Andrew who were casting their nets into the lake. Walking along, Jesus saw two other brothers, James and John who were preparing their nets with their father Zebedee. Jesus called all of these men to follow him.
Here you will also see the Church of the Primacy of Peter, a Franciscan chapel that commemorates Jesus' reinstatement of Peter after a fish breakfast on the shore.
Tabgha's Harbor on the shores of the Sea of Galilee
A harbour was recently discovered at Tabha, visible only when the Kineret (Sea of Galilee) water level is below 211 meters. The curved western breakwater was 60 meters long. Another 40 meters breakwater ran perpendicular to the shore and protected the 30 meters wide basin which was entered from the east.
I assume you are going to visit Tabha with your Tour leader or a Licensed Israeli Tour Guide, but anyway it is very easy to reach once you are on Road 90 bordering the Kineret and going north from Tiberias.
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