A short account of Tabgha, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide
Tabgha is a small, lovely area on the shore of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Today, it is owned and kept by the Catholic Church. Thousands of tourists visit this area because of its tremendous importance to the Christian faith. Tabgha has two churches and some beautiful gardens. In the vicinity of Tabgha you can find other important sites as: Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum and Magdala
A bit of history
The name Tabgha comes from the ancient name of the area – Heptapagon (seven springs in Greek). Indeed, springs run through the area and make it beautifully green. Perhaps the beauty of the area is the main reason why during early Christianity, two churches were built during the 4th and 5th centuries CE.
Why was it so important then?
All four gospels of the New Testament tell about the miracle of the multiplication of bread and loaves – Jesus feeding 5,000 people with only two fish and five loaves of bread. This story repeats itself six times through the Gospels, attesting to its tremendous importance. For that event, a church was built in the 4th century, and then a bigger one on the same site. The only remnants that survived from these churches are a few pieces of the walls and a beautiful mosaic floor, in particular, a piece that shows the fish and bread. In 1981, the current Benedectine church was built – a magnificent and exact replica of the old one.
On the other side of the fence, stands another church – a Franciscan one – dedicated to Jesus’ last appearance at the Sea of Galilee, after his death and resurrection in Jerusalem. It is called the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter or Mensa Christy. The story tells us that he fished and ate with his disciples, then appointed Peter as his successor. Some remains of an old church are seen in the new one, among them a rock in the church that was in the shape of a stone table.