Today it was my delight to lead the course during our visit to Sepphoris and Nazareth.
We led the College around 8.00am and arrived in Sepphoris a little after 10.00am. After a brief orientation talk based around the scale model of the site and watching a 10 minute multi-media presentation, we went off to explore the site.
The highlights included the “Nile House” with its mosaics that feature scenes from the Nile, the large wealthy house with the Dionysius mosaic (including the so-called ‘Mona Lisa of the Galilee’), the Ottoman fortress, and the small Roman theatre. We then headed to Nazareth where we enjoyed lunch at the Holy Land Restaurant not far from the Basilica.
After lunch we went to the Basilica of the Annunciation to begin our walking tour of Nazareth.
From the Basilica we walked through the old market (the Souq), spending some time at the Synagogue Church and later the El Babour Galilee Mill, before arriving at the Greek Orthodox Church of St Gabriel that celebrates the Eastern tradition of the Annunciation taking place at Mary’s Well. The church features an ancient well even though the actual source of the water is a spring further up the slope.
We had about 45 minutes at the end of the day to relax and soak up the atmosphere before boarding the bus at 4.30pm for our return trip to Jerusalem. We had a good run with the traffic, arriving at the College just a few minutes before 6.30pm. After dinner, several of us gathered on the roof of the College to talk about this land, the conflict that is tearing at the heart and soul of both the communities, the meaning of life, our insights from the program so far, and much more. These are the moments that make our trips such a special time.