The Sea of Galilee, also known as the Kinneret, a name that dates back to the Old Testament, is a large body of freshwater used as the country’s main source of drinking water. To the east and west, the lake is overlooked by the Galilee Mountains while to the north is the Beit Tsida Valley and to the south is the Jordan estuary. The Sea of Galilee is primarily fed from the Jordan River but also from streams that flow into the lake from the Galilean hills. The Sea of Galilee is situated 209 meters below sea level and has a surface area of 64 square miles. The region has been inhabited for many millennia, as indicated by the prehistoric finds dating back around 500,000 years ago.
Today the beaches are a tourist attraction for water sport enthusiasts and families, while holy land tours continue to arrive here to visit the many places of religious interest situated around the lake.
Sea of Galilee and early Christianity
The Sea of Galilee played a pivotal role in the days of early Christianity. According to tradition, Jesus lived, taught and performed miracles here and in the surrounding areas. He is said to have walked on water, and baptized John the Baptist at the Sea of Galilee. He is also believed to have carried out the miracle of the loaves and fishes from nearby Capernaum. Christian holy sites include, Kfar Nahum (Capernaum), the Mount of Beatitudes and the wooden boat on display at Kibbutz Ginosar.
The Sea of Galilee and the surrounding area are full of fascinating nature sites including the Jordan Park, Hamat Gader, Beit Tsida Nature Reserve and Naharayim. The Golan Heights which overlooks the Sea is home to impressive streams, waterfalls and beautiful natural habitats.