Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jericho Oldest and the Lowest City on Earth

References of sheep in Bible is common. Old testaments reads Abraham was given large herds of sheep, oxen, asses and camels for the sake of his fair and beautiful wife Sarai. (Gen 12: 14-20) View during our journey
References of sheep in Bible is common. Old testaments reads Abraham was given large herds of sheep, oxen, asses and camels for the sake of his fair and beautiful wife Sara. (Gen 12: 14-20) View during our journey

Israelite were crossing from the east to the west bank of River Jordan on their way to Canaan the land promised to them from God. Miraculous event narrated in Bible reads the water in River Jordan stopped flowing before the Ark of Covenant of Jehovah and the river remained dry until all the 40,000 people and the priests carrying the Arch had crossed the river (Joshua 4:10-18)

Fall of Jericho to Israelite
Israelite after crossing the river camped at Gilgal, place closer to the Canaanite city of Jericho. God said to Joshua, the leader of Israelite after Moses, to fight against the inhabitants of Jericho and occupy the land for them. Further, God assured Joshua "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it, as I spoke to Moses" (Joshua 1:3). "Be strong and courageous there shall be not any man be able to stand before you all these days of your life" (Joshua 1:5)."Your wives, your little ones and your cattle shall abide in the land which Moses gave you beyond Jordan" (Joshua 1:14)
Another beautiful sight at the planes of Jericho. Jericho is known as the oldest and the lowest town in the world
Another beautiful sight at the planes of Jericho.
Jericho is known as the oldest and the lowest town in the world
Walls of the fortified city of Jericho collapsed and came tumbling down at the sound of Israeli trumpets. Entire city was burned, except Rehab a prostitute who favored Israelite, all the inhabitants were killed (Joshua 6: 20-25). 

Believe it or not, according to archaeological survey the remnants of the ruined city of Jericho and its fallen down walls still exist in the deserts of Judea even after a period of 3000 years.

Inheritance of Jericho an interesting story
Later, during the height of Roman Empire, Mark Antony gifted the land of Jericho to his Egyptian lover Cleopatra. In a civil war with Octavian who became Augustus Cesar after the assassination of Julies Cesar, Antony got defeated and fled with Cleopatra back to Egypt (Alexandria) where they both committed suicide (You may watch the most celebrated movie of Cleopatra acted by Liz Taylor and Richard Burton for viewing this pivoting point of Roman history). 

My daughter Asha who accompanied me on a ten day journey to the Holy land. Here our journey descends through the Judean desert from Jerusalem to Jericho.
My daughter Asha who accompanied me on a ten day journey
to the Holy land. Here our journey descends through
the Judean desert from Jerusalem to Jericho.
Jericho was then leased to Herod, the Judean King and he kept the city as a private hide out for him away from Jerusalem. King Herod instituted an excellent irrigation system and converted Jericho to a beautiful garden with lots of vegetation which is continued until today though the city is now in Palestine territory.

Journey to Jericho
Jericho claims to be the lowest and the oldest inhabited city on earth and it locates about 55 km away from Jerusalem towards the east. Jerusalem is situated 400 meters above and Jericho is about 250 meters below the sea level. Jericho's moderate climate makes it a favorite winter resort. It is an area for agriculture, producing fresh fruits and vegetables year around. Our journey from Jerusalem to this beautiful ancient land in a multi axle Mercedes bus on steeply descending modern high way was a journey to remember.

We drove through the west bank, a Palestine administered area where we could however see many Israeli settlements on the terraced slopes of mountain on to our left. The settlement contained aesthetically built concrete villas having terracotta tiled roofing located in the middle of beautiful small gardens and the individual villas were compounded by white stone walls. Well arranged lush green trees on the sides of the winding roads going up to the villas were adding immense grace to those hill top settlements.

Inn of Good Samaritan located on the ancient road to Jericho off to new high way. It has the museum seen in the front and a church seen behind the museum
Inn of Good Samaritan located on the ancient road to Jericho
off to new high way. It has the museum seen in the front
and a church seen behind the museum

I was enjoying drive in the company of my daughter watching pine trees on the side of the road running backward one after another as the bus was speeding up through the high way until I was put to a cat's nap by the cool breeze entering through the little opening of the bus window.

Good Samaritan Inn
19 century Turkish building called the Inn of Good Samaritan is located on our way but little off on the ancient Roman road between Jerusalem and Jericho. Some Christians like to believe the parable of Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-37) told by Jesus Christ is a true story that took place on this road so they built the Inn of Good Samaritan here in the Judean desert. Crusaders after the period of Jesus Christ built a fortress in this area and maintained a garrison of army to protect the road from desert robbers who frequently attacked the travelers as said in the parable of Good Samaritan.

Close up view of St. George Monastery belongs to monks of Greek Orthodox order.
Close up view of St. George Monastery belongs to monks
of Greek Orthodox order.
High above the Inn on the other side of the road are the remains of the crusader fort. Beside having a church here built by the Greeks, there is also an archaeological museum with large collections of ancient mosaics retrieved from Judean area.

St. George Monastery
Another amazing place of interest on the way to Jericho is St George Monastery that clings to the rocks of Wadi Qelt (Valley of the Shadow of death) in the Judean desert. King David ran in to Judean wilderness when Saul was after him, Jesus Christ came out here for solitude and to get away from worldliness before starting His ministry. Monks of Greeks origin continue to live in this place of solitude and extreme isolation right from 5th century. 

The road newly built connects the monastery to the civilization now, otherwise it used to be reached by walking across the Judean desert. A beautiful stream of water flowing through the valley makes inhabitancy possible at this totally isolated location.

Mount of temptation, 5th century Greek orthodox monastical caves where christian monks lived for their life time and died. The cave is cut on to the face of the mountain of temptation.
Mount of temptation, 5th century Greek orthodox monastical
caves where christian monks lived for their life time and died.
The cave is cut on to the face of the mountain of temptation
Mount of Temptation 
We have reached the mount of temptation in the Judean desert where Jesus Christ believed to have stayed in a cave on the mountain for 40 days fasting to overcome the temptations from Satan. Greeks have built a monastery here and few monks lives here from 5th century.
There are steps cut from the plains to the cave for the visitors to reach the monastery and a modern cable cart system enables to go on to the summit of the temptation mountain. You will have an extremely beautiful panoramic view of old Jericho by standing at the monastery.

Journey to Jerusalem from Jericho
Driving back to Jerusalem was through the banks of Jordan River before it falls in to Dead Sea. We had the river flowing on to one side of the road while other side was covered by cliffs of yellow colored Brimstone (Phosphorus rich lime stone). I stopped the bus during our drive and shot some beautiful pictures here out of excitement.

People believe a portion of the lime stone standing above is the Pillar of Salt belongs to the wife of Lot. Geographically speaking the place of Sodom and Gomorrah is located around this area at the plains of Jordan River and the Dead Sea. Therefore reasons to believe the story of Lot's wife transforming in to the Pillar of Salt has taken place around here (Genesis 19: 1-26).

Lime stone (Brimstone, yellow colored) cliffs above the Qumran site. People beleive the portion of lime stone standing is the pillar of salt belongs to the wife of Lot.
Lime stone (Brimstone, yellow colored) cliffs above the
Qumran site. People believe the portion of lime stone
standing is the pillar of salt belongs to the wife of Lot.
Dead Sea
On our way back another interesting place we visited is Dead Sea. The Sea of Salt also known as Sea of Death is 377 meter deep and it is the deepest hyper salt water lake in the world. Because of its hyper salinity no living organism can live or flourish in it hence the name Dead Sea.

But the most interesting situation is you remain floating in the sea water, however you try to get below the water surface, you will be pushed upward because of the high density of water due to hyper salinity. So you can be sure that you will not be drowned in Dead Sea even though it is dangerously deep.

Dead sea mud bath - the mud of the Dead Sea has health and cosmetic uses.
Dead sea mud bath - the mud of the Dead Sea
has health and cosmetic uses.
It is learned more than 35 different types of minerals are found in the Dead sea water; Mud bath in Dead Sea is famous for health and cosmetic reasons. There are many expensive hotels on the sea shore where people from different parts of the world arrive to get treated by the mud bath and to lie down on the sea shore because of the high oxygen level in the area. You need not have to stay in hotels or in private resorts around, there are well organized public amenities provided for enjoying the Sea floating and for the mud bathing.

Also you can buy Dead Sea mud in small gift bottles for nominal price or you may as well collect some fresh quantity direct from the sea for giving out as present to friends back home.

Qumran Caves
Our journey continued and we reached Qumran on our way back. This is an archaeological site in the west bank of Jordan River closer to the Dead Sea. It was the settlement of Jewish people who ran away from Jerusalem during their persecution. They carried many of their records and documents along with and kept them safe in the caves around here. Numerous scrolls written on papyrus and copper sheets were found from Qumran caves and most of them were well preserved in side sealed earthen pots and Jars.

This is Qumran cave no. 4 and it is famous because numerous scrolls were found from this cave and most of them were well preserved inside sealed earthen pots
Qumran cave no. 4 and it is famous because numerous
scrolls were found from this cave and most of them
were well preserved inside sealed earthen pots
Dead Sea scrolls are collection of over 970 texts consisting of biblical manuscripts from what is known as the Hebrew Bible and extra biblical documents. Scrolls were found between 1946 and 1956 from 11 caves in Qumran located in the west bank. Qumran scrolls after finding were scattered at different places in the world with different people. However they are bought out by Israeli government at the cost of large sum of money and presently exhibited at the Shrine of Books in Israel.

Sycamore fig tree of Zacchaeus. 
The last leg of our journey was visiting the Sycamore fig tree - Jericho. Bible narrates since Zacchaeus, the tax collector was short he climbed on to a Sycamore fig tree to see Jesus while He was moving in a crowd of followers passing the streets of Jericho. This is one of such trees and location is believed to be the same where the original tree stood (Recommended to read Luke 19: 1-10 for the interesting story)

Qumran scrolls written on papyrus and copper sheets were well preserved in earthen pots when discovered.
Qumran scrolls written on papyrus and copper sheets were well
preserved in earthen pots when discovered.
Having a little background knowledge, a drive in Judean deserts and back to Jerusalem through the banks of River Jordan and Brimstone cliffs is an experience of a life time. It takes a full day to visit the places as explained if you are staying in Jerusalem or at near by places.

Brlmestone (phosphorous rich lime stone) cliffs at the bank of river Jordan. On our way back to Jerusalem from Jericho
Brimstone (phosphorous rich lime stone) cliffs at the bank of river Jordan.
On our way back to Jerusalem from Jericho

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Road to Jerusalem

Google map of Road to Jerusalem 
(the narrow black line on the right side shown as Road to Mount Olive) 
Notice how it reaches the lions gate on the Jerusalem city wall.

There is an old narrow road steeping down from Mount Olive, passing through the valley of Kidron and going until the Stephens gate, also known as the Lion gate, of the old city of Jerusalem. The road is fairly broadened now and controlled under tight Israeli security. Many historical events have taken place around this road according to the old and new testaments of Bible. I am making an effort in this episode to walk you through the road where Jesus Christ once believed to have walked many times to Jerusalem when He arrived from Galilee.

Road to Jerusalem, steeping down from olive mountain.

I feel it is worth including a small spell of history here enabling all of my readers to understand the background. Judea (Major portion of present day Israel) was a princely state ruled by King Herod under Roman Empire during the time of Jesus. Jesus was arrested and crucified; Practicing Christianity was getting forbidden, Christians were persecuted severely they were arrested, tortured, mutilated, burned, starved and condemned. Frightened Christians assembled in caves and mountain hide outs for praying. Similar situation went on for over 300 years until freedom of worship was granted to Christians in Israel by the Roman Emperor Constantine I.

Ascension Church at the summit 
of Mount Olive
       Through a deceleration (Edict of Milan) issued by Emperor Constantine in AD 313 Christianity was granted official tolerance in Roman Empire. It was during Emperor Constantine period Christianity became the dominant religion of Roman Empire. So this deceleration of Milan is referred to as mile stone to early Christendom. Constantine as the first Christian Emperor of Rome sent his mother Queen Helene to Jerusalem for finding out the tomb of Jesus. She found the cross used for crucifying Jesus and reclaimed the entire quarry of Golgotha to establish the Church of Sepulcher the spot where Jesus was crucified and buried. She built number of historical monuments in and around Jerusalem such as Church of Nativity in Bethlehem where Jesus was born, Mary's tomb where Mary the mother of Jesus was laid etc. History also revels Queen Helene searched out Mount Olive for the place from where Jesus was finally ascended to heaven and the cave where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.

Point of Ascension
Minaret of Muslim Mosque at the Ascension 
church compound

Before getting down on to the Road to Jerusalem let us halt for a while at the point of ascension located in the summit of Mount Olive. As I explained, this place was originally built by Queen Helene but after continued Islamic domination the place now looks like a mosque with minaret constructed in the same compound. Treasure of this church until today is a stone marked with foot prints of Jesus, the point where Jesus Christ believed to have lastly touched the earth prior to His ascension to heaven. 

    There were two of such stones but one of them is removed and placed in Al- Aqsa Mosque on the temple mount since Muslims also acknowledge the sanctity of Ascension.
    Closer to this location there is also a place, according to Russian Orthodox Christians this is the place from where Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after the resurrection. They also believe the head of John the Baptist, beheaded by King Herod Antipas was found here in a jar. 

Russian Orthodox Ascension church

John the Baptist is an important character in Christianity; he was the forerunner and elder cousin of Jesus who baptized Jesus and proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. In the compound of Russian location there is a convent and a 64 meter high bell tower which is supposed to be the tallest monument in Jerusalem. Church is located in the center of the compound and there is a venerated point near the church where Mary, mother of Jesus believed to have stood at the time Jesus ascended to heaven. Also there is a cemetery dedicated to John the Baptist.

Pater Noster Church
Pater Noster
Walk down a little on the main road before getting on to the Road to Jerusalem, you come across another important place at the corner. Queen Helene located this place on the Mount Olive as the cave where Jesus Christ taught His disciples how to pray. 

Lords prayer "Our father in heaven" encrypted 
on marble slabs in various world languages at Pater Noster Church.
A beautiful church is erected above the cave and it is known as the church of "Pater Noster". The prayer "Our father in heaven" encrypted on marble slabs in various languages are exhibited in the compound.

Gold topped "Dome of the Rock" located on the "Temple Mount". 
Old Jerusalem or Mount Moriah in the back ground.
Panoramic View from Olive Mountain
Now you enter the road to Jerusalem and take the panoramic view point on to the left side of the road. I assure that you will be transported to a new world of ecstasy by the sight you are going to see standing from here. Jerusalem, Zion, Temple mount where King Solomon built the first temple, Kidron Valley and hundreds of such historical monuments all that you probably have learned from the child hood are suddenly opened to you in one single frame with out any obstruction. To me such all in one exposure, with my daughter Asha standing beside me on the cliff of Mount Olive was truly a dream, all of a sudden came true. For a live experience, you may spend hours together sitting under the shade of an Olive tree here by relating the places that you see in front with the incidents that are explained in the Bible.

Valley of Kidron. On the left is the Jews cemetery and grave of Absalom 
is like a conical pillar in the center. Area where Olive trees are standing on green grass 
used to be deeper and water flowing. The ascend on the right reaches to Jerusalem wall.
Kidron Valley
An important location you see from here is the Valley of Kidron. This is a place I always wished to see for its very name and the place being a valley attracted me every time I read the old testament of the Bible. Kidron is a valley located in between Mount Moriah and Mount Olive where you are standing. As per records Kidron used to be much deeper than the present time, a stream of water used to be flowing here so it is referred as "brook" in the Bible. The valley once upon a time used to be a dumping place of blood and other impurities collected from the sacrifices performed in the Israeli temple. So also obscene idols collected from idol worshipers used to be burned over here.

Jews Cemetery a close view
Jews believes when their Messiah comes on the day of judgement, He will descend from the Mountain of Olive and He will judge their dead ones in the valley of Kidron and the righteous will be taken to the "temple mount" (Joel 3:12). Worlds oldest probably the largest Jewish cemetery there fore is located here waiting for the Messiah to arrive and resurrect the sons of Israel.

Mount Moriah

When you stand at the panoramic view point on Mount Olive what you see right in front across the valley of Kidron is the Mount Moriah. I am little bit brushing up the memories for some and narrating Biblical history to others. Mount Moriah was the place where Abraham was asked by the God to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Sacrifice of Isaac is the Christian belief, while Muslims believes it was Ishmael, also the son of Abraham, was taken for the sacrifice)

Location of three mountains - 1 Mount Olive, 2 Mount Moriah, 3 Mount Zion. 
Temple mount is marked on Mount Moriah. 
Between Mount Olive and Mount Moriah Valley of Kidron located

"Dome of the Rock" above and the wall 
below is the western wall, remains 
of the old temple. Notice Jews praying 
by hitting their head on to the wall
Moriah was a large property of land King David had purchased from Ornanan the Jebusite for a price of 600 shekels of gold and it was here on the grain threshing floor where King David erected an alter and offered sacrifice to God. It was the place where King Solomon, son of King David built the original temple of God. It was also the location where many events have taken place during the ministry of Jesus Christ.
       To day, Mount Moriah or the Jerusalem is divided in to four quarters between Muslims, Jews, Christians and Armenians. The temple Mount where King Solomon built the temple for God is now under the control of Muslims. The gold topped "Dome of the Rock" built on the temple mount is a Muslim monument. Jews prey by hitting their head on to the western wall, the remains, of their temple. Jews are not permitted to enter the premises of the temple mount now, but they do believe their third and the final temple will be built and it will be built on the same temple mount one day. We are viewing the eastern side of the Temple mount standing from panoramic view point, western wall of the temple sacred to Jews, cannot be viewed standing from this point as it falls on the directly opposite side.

Temple Mount and the Dome of the rock is seen 
through the Altar window of "Church of the tear drops"
Church of the tear drops
From the panoramic view point we cross the Road to Jerusalem and get in to a beautiful Roman Catholic Church on the Mount Olive is "Dominus Flevit" or the "Church of the tear drops". This is the place Jesus wept by looking at the temple of Jerusalem. The church is located in such manner so that you can look at the temple mount through the Altar window and pray while worship is in progress. After the fall of Jerusalem to the Turks, a Mosque existed here according to Jerusalem history. The view of Jews cemetery from this spot is also beautiful. A large ancient tomb excavated is exhibited here in the compound of the church.

An ancient tomb opened in the premises of "Church of the tear drops" . 
Favorite personal belongings of the person also buried along with body. Notice the boxes

When we walk through the Road to Jerusalem a little further we reach at the cross road and from here a road used to lead to Bethany (Bethanya), a favorite place of rest and refuge for Jesus Christ. Jesus' friend Lazarus and his two sisters Martha and Maria lived here and now they have the Tomb of Lazarus located in Bethany. When Jesus traveled from Galilee for coming to to the temple of Jerusalem, He believed to have taken this narrow Road to Jerusalem and rested at His friends' house before entering the temple.

Lazarus tomb in Bethanya
Though Bethany is located close to Mount Olive, it is a town now under Palestine control and separated by a huge wall; there is no direct access to Bethany from this road now, however you can go there and visit Beth phage the village close to Bethany and the "Lazarus Tomb" by hiring a taxi form here or from Jerusalem.
In commemoration to Jesus' ride on the donkey, decorated donkey placed 
at the cross road to Bethany in front of Mary Magdalene monastery, Kidron
Jesus was taken in a procession riding on the donkey through this road from Beth phage to Jerusalem during His triumphal entry to the temple. It is a tradition, now they keep a decorated donkey at this junction of the road in commemoration to Jesus' ride on the donkey through this road.
Church of Mary Magdalene in Kidron Valley, Jerusalem

Mary Magdalene Monastery and Church

According to the gospels of Mathew and Mark, Jesus' feet were anointed by Mary Magdalene at the house of Simon the leper in Bethany. Though Bethany is just on the other side of the Palestine wall, Russian Orthodox have built a church and a monastery dedicated to Mary Magdalene on either sides of the Road to Jerusalem where we are now standing. This is one of the most beautiful monuments Russian Tsar Alexander III built in Jerusalem to honor his mother. Its seven onion shaped domes are covered with pure sheets of gold.

Age old Olive trees in the garden of Gethsemane
Garden of Gethsemane
It is on this road to the left where the Garden of Gethsemane situates. We will be amazed when we learn the age old Olive trees we see in the garden could have been much younger trees when Jesus entered here with His disciples for praying on the fateful night after His last supper (Mathew 26:36) They say the Olive trees never dies, new shoots keep coming as the old one dies.

All Nation Church in the garden of Gethsemane
A beautiful church built here is by the donation of all nations in the world so it is called All Nation Church. The slab exhibited in the garden will attract your attention, so did mine. It reads "My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but thou wilt" (Mathew 26:39) It also reads underneath "Jesus, in deepest night and agony you spoke these words of trust and surrender to God the father in Gethsemane. In love and gratitude I want to say in times of fear and distress, my Father, I do not understand you, but I trust you"

Entrance to the tomb of Mother Mary in Kidron Valley
Mary's Tomb
Mary's tomb originally built by Queen Helene during 4th century is located on the Road to Jerusalem in Kidron Valley at the foot hills of Mount Olive near Gethsemane garden. According to Orthodox Christians this place is regarded as the burial place of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary, as per tradition was ascended to heaven and the tomb there fore became the shrine for assumption.

Crowd of visitors at the tomb of Mother Mary
The place is a large cave below the surface cut in to the rock like the shape of a cross keeping the tomb in the center of the cross. There is a wide stair case leading down in to the tomb. The tomb have been destroyed and expanded at different periods and now it attracts visitors from all over the world.

Visitors comes out after kissing the tomb of Mother Mary
Monastery of Stephen
After Jesus' crucifixion there happened a great persecution of Christianity. People ran away from Jerusalem and went in to hide outs. Saul, who later became the soldier for Jesus Christ and spread Christianity far and wide among gentiles under the name of Paul, was one of the chief architects of these atrocities. He ravaged the church and the people by entering house after houses and dragged off men and women and closed them in prison.

Monastery of St. Stephen located in the Valley of Kidron
Stephen was one of the seven deacons chosen by the apostles to help them in the ministerial activities. During the time of Christian persecution Stephen was caught and stoned to death out side the city gate, in the condemned Valley of Kidron. The city there after known as Stephen gate or the lion gate. Orthodox Christians established a very large monastery in the name of St. Stephen where 10,000 monks lived once upon a time. As the time passed it was destroyed and now exist comparatively a smaller monastery and a Bible college just at the end of the Road to Jerusalem closer to Stephen gate in the valley of Kidron.
Stephen Gate also known as the Lion Gate

Note: I am attaching some 3D virtual tours relating the holy land tours. Keep watching one by one by clicking on to the link given below. It will be a great experience for those who have already made the visit as well for those who intend to visit. Have a blessed time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cana the place of Miracles

Painting of wine pots - Franciscan Wedding Church, Cana
Location of Cana 
Closer to the town of Nazareth in the northern region of GalileeIsrael there is a small village exist and its name used to be "Cana" and presently it is known as Kafr Kanna meaning "village of Cana". 
Passage to lower level of Franciscan Wedding Church
First Miracle
During Jesus' time there took place a marriage and Jesus' mother Mary lived in Nazareth was already attending to it and Jesus was also invited to the marriage. During the feast wine that being served ran out and the host was in difficulty. Realizing the embarassment, Mary told her son "they have no more wine". Why do you involve me Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come". Mother instead of pleading to son asked the servants "Do what ever he tells you".
One of the six big stone jars that converted water in to wine - Site Excavation

There were six big stone jars placed near by and Jesus said to the servants to "Fill the jars with water" so they did and he then asked the servants to "draw some out and take to the master of the banquet" 
Old vessels of various dates - Excavation findings at Franciscan Church
The master of the banquet tasted it and realized it was wine but he did not know from where it had come, however the servants knew about it. The master said to the bridegroom "Every one brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guest have had too much to drink, but you have saved the best till now " such was the quality of the wine the master had tasted. 
Old cisterns and other remnants excavated - Franciscan Church
This turning water in to wine was the first miraculous signs Jesus performed in Cana. He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in Him.
Excavation findings - Franciscan Church, Cana
The story is said in the Bible (John 2: 1-11) but the exact location where the event had taken place is disputed, but traditionally the most accepted and venerated place is in Kafr Kanna. A narrow gully branching from the main road that leads to Tiberius, takes you to a beautiful Franciscan church.
Franciscan Wedding Church, Cana
Wedding Churches
Inspired by the miracle of wine couples from all over the world reach here for getting married or for renewing wedding vows to strengthen their existing marriage. The church has a lower level where the excavations are exposed and articles derived from excavations like wine press, cisterns and vessels of various dates are preserved here. An old stone jar said to be one of the six jars used to transform water in to wine is also exhibited there. 
St. George Orthodox Wedding Church, Cana
Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, Cana  is located in the same site just opposite to the Franciscan Church. Orthodox Christians from different parts of the world arrive here to get married as well. Both of these churches are known as the "Wedding Churches of Cana". Two large stone jars believed to be the jars used during the first miracle are also exhibited here. 
The narrow gully separating Franciscan and Orthodox Wedding Churches
Both the Franciscan and Orthodox Churches are located on the same place on either sides of the small gully. Excavations and geographical evidences stand in favor of this site where the first miracle took place.

St. George Orthodox Wedding Church, Cana
Wedding wines
Wedding Wine for shopping
Tourists in large number visit here in Kafr Kanna (Kafr Cana) every year. On the streets there are plenty of shops selling "Wedding wines" to take home for the friends and family. It is sweet red wine bottled in regular and small bottles. They sell varieties of good quality wines. Wine making is traditional business in Cana and nearby places.

Second Miracle in Cana
Healing of the son of a noble man (Roman centurion) was the second miracle Jesus did in Cana. (John 4: 46 -54) Noble man pleaded to Jesus for saving the life of his son who was at the point of death. Jesus upon seeing the belief of the noble man said to him "go home your son lives". The man believed the word of Jesus and reached home to see his son lived. The noble man along with his whole house there after believed in Jesus. This is not to be confused with the second miracle of Jesus but this was the second miracle Jesus performed in Cana. These two signs given in Cana created a new nation of believers for Jesus in whole of Galilee.

Bottle brush flowers - on the pavements of Cana