Tzipori National Park

Tzipori National Park

Tzipori is an archaeological site and national park in the lower western Galilee. It was once the capital of the Galilee, the seat of the Sanhedrin and the place where the Mishna was completed.

Tzipori was the magnificent capital of the Galilee already in the time of the Roman conquest, in 65 BC. In the 2nd century CE Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi transferred the Sanhedrin to Tzipori, where the Mishna was completed. The Christians also attribute importance to the city because, according to their tradition, this is where the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus, lived.

The Christians attribute great importance to Tzipori due to their tradition that in this city lived Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary, Jesus' mother. The fact that the city was a Christian center is evidenced by the remains of the Byzantine-Crusader church. In the Arabian period the city fell from its greatness and in the Crusader period "La Sephorie" was a city and fortress in the Galilean Principality.


Major Points of Interest

  • The Theater – a reconstructed remnant of a Roman theater, unique in the country.
  • The Jewish Quarter – remains of a Jewish residential quarter from the time of the Mishna and Talmud.
  • The Crusader Castle – the castle was built in the Crusader period on top of the remains of an earlier structure, and from here the Crusader force departed for the battle at Hittin in 1187.
  • Dionysus House – a Roman villa, containing a mosaic floor describing scenes from the life of Dionysus, god of wine in Greek mythology.
  • The Ancient Reservoir – an impressive, 260 m. long underground water facility, which was in operation from the Roman period up to the 7th century.
  • The Synagogue – a long narrow basilica-like structure, dated to the end of the Byzantine period, containing an impressive mosaic floor divided into four parts: the Sacrifice of Isaac, the signs of the Zodiac, a description of the Tabernacle in the desert and the Arc of the Covenant in the Jerusalem Temple.
  • Streets Layout – the remains of the intersection between the Cardo and the Decumanus were exposed on the site.

Most of the buildings found here date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods. Archaeological works at Tzipori continue today. Some of the sites where restoration work has been completed are open to visitors.