Dispatch #2 Homeport
Welcome to Tiberias! This will be our home port during our entire tour so we should get to know this city before we begin our sailings.
Twelve hundred years before Jesus was born, Ramses II ruled over Egypt. Ramses II would become known as the greatest of all the Pharaohs because of how he built up Egypt during his reign. Ramses II led many military expeditions that expanded his rule from Nubia to the south to Canaan to the north. Many believe Ramses II was the Pharaoh during The Exodus. In Egypt’s great army there was a scribe named Hori. Hori had a friend and fellow scribe named Amenemope. Hori wrote a letter to his friend Amenemope that was very satirical. Hori commented on his friend’s quality of work as a scribe making it appear Amenemope didn’t know what he was doing. This letter is called The Papyrus Anastasi I and you can see it in the British Museum. Among many other things, the letter contains the names of many towns of Canaan. Hori mentions Hammath as a place for excursions. So even the Ancient Egyptians knew Hammath as a place of healing hot springs. rest and relaxation.
In the year 4 BC a woman named Malthace gave birth to a boy that would be nicknamed “Antipas”. The boy’s father was none other than Herod the Great. Antipas’ real name was Herod Antipater, Tetrarch of Galilee, or as some knew him King Herod. The same King Herod that played a part in the execution of John the Baptist and the crucifixion of Jesus. Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee and chose to build his capital city on the west bank of the Sea of Galilee- near the famous hot springs. He named the city after his patron, the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Tiberias under Antipas became so great that the Sea of Galilee became known as The Sea of Tiberias.
(The Jewish population called the lake Kinneret as they always had… as we know from reading Numbers 34:11. The locals here still refer to it as Lake Kinneret. Tiberias has always been a major port of the Sea of Galilee. It is mentioned that boats were launched from Tiberias in John 6:22 and 23.)
Modern Tiberias is known as a vacation destination!
Thousands of tourists come here every year to enjoy the water sports, the historical sights, the great food and the thriving culture. There are 30 hotels here, most of them right on the beach. There is a romantic promenade that ambles by the shore. Not only the calm lake waters are enjoyed but also the thrills of this modern water park as seen in this photo by Thafer.
From the promenade the central boardwalk goes all the way to downtown. There is a lively commercial center with cafes, ice cream parlors, and bazaars. The flow of tourists, professionals, shopkeepers, bicycles, autos and horse drawn carriages is orchestrated by continuous music!
On the other side of the boardwalk is Tiberias’ famed fish market. The fishing industry is strong and dozens of fishing boats head onto the lake every morning, returning brimming with fresh fish for sale at the local market. Close to the market is a popular falafel complex that attracts thousands of hungry visitors seeking the hot, fresh, tasty morsels. Falafel stand owners will be happy to offer taste tests in the hopes you choose their wares for your lunch.
Some of the must-see tourist stops in Tiberias include:
Hammat Tiberias National Park. This is where you can indulge in the famous hot springs.
The Old Cemetery is extremely interesting as it has sites of both Jewish and Muslim residents from the past of Tiberias.
The Fish Market is something you must see… and smell… to believe!
You can rent a bicycle here and ride around the entire Sea of Galilee. I am told it can be done in one day!
We will speak more about our home port Tiberias during this tour. I am going to check on the arrangements for our first sailing which happens in just a few days. You should take a stroll on the promenade to enjoy the sunset… before enjoying a falafel to close your evening. See you next time Travelers when we raise sail!