Mount Tabor is part of the Israel National Trail and there are also many biking trails on and around the mountain. Cyclists can stay overnight at the HooHa Cyclists’ House in nearby Kfar Tavor village. Tourists can sample wines at the Tabor Winery, or make their own sweet almond confectionary at the Marzipan Museum and factory.
The 2,000-year-old city of Nazareth, with its 30 churches and monasteries, is a highlight of Christian trips to Israel. That’s because this city nine miles west of Mount Tabor is where Jesus most probably was raised. The phrase "Jesus of Nazareth" appears 17 times in Christian Scriptures.
The official symbol of Nazareth is Mary's Well. According to Christian tradition, this is where Mary used to bathe young Jesus and wash his clothes, and where Jesus fetched water. Moslems and Christians consider the well and its water to contain unusual healing properties.
Mary's Well is the centerpiece of Spring Plaza, which was renovated as part of millennium celebrations in 2000. At that time, archeologists discovered the remains of tunnels and pools from different periods, which are now described in an exhibition at City Hall. The well's current shape is based on pictures taken by 19th century Christian pilgrims.
About 100 feet south of Spring Plaza, above the actual spring supplying the well, is St. Gabriel Church of the Annunciation. Greek Orthodox tradition maintains that this is where the angel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she would give birth to Jesus.
The nearby Basilica of the Annunciation sits above the grotto where Roman Catholics believe Joseph and Mary lived and where Mary received the angel's announcement. The present building was constructed on the ruins of churches dating back to Byzantine (324-634 CE) and Crusader (1095-1291) times, some of which are still visible. A $24 million commercial complex under construction is planned to include a 186-room hotel with a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Basilica.
The Mary of Nazareth International Center was opened in 2010 by the Chemin Neuf Community, offering an audiovisual journey (in several different languages) into the life of the Virgin Mary and the Marian roots of Christianity.
Nazareth Sisters Convent offers subterranean tours of ancient tombs, columns and houses possibly dating back to the Roman period in the Holy Land, which started around 37 BCE and continued until the Byzantine conquest. There's a small museum exhibiting old coins and pottery, and an enclosed courtyard and guest rooms.
Other Nazareth sites of Christian interest are the Church of St. Joseph, built on the ruins of agricultural buildings where Joseph's carpentry shop is believed to have been located, and the Crusader-era Synagogue Church, next to the Greek Catholic Church in the middle of the old market. According to tradition, this was once the synagogue where Jesus prayed and preached.
The Mount of the Precipice (officially Mount Kedumim), at the entrance to the city from the direction of Afula, is traditionally where Nazareth's citizens took Jesus after he declared himself the Messiah. Remains of a Byzantine convent later established there are open for visitors to explore.
The city of Sepphoris, or Zippori in Hebrew, was a major Jewish city of the Galilee, home to many sages and scholars. Situated a few kilometers outside Nazareth, it was built in Jesus’ lifetime and so it is quite possible that he and his carpenter father had a hand in its construction. Christians and Jews lived together in Zippori from the fifth century on.
The Crusaders believed that Ann and Joachim, the parents of Mary the mother of Jesus, lived in Zippori. They built the Church of St. Ann here and also a fortress that was later rebuilt in the 18th century by the Bedouin ruler of the Galilee.
A walk through Zippori National Park includes many partially restored ruins: a 4,500-seat Roman theater, a Talmudic-era residential quarter, synagogues and other structures featuring some of the most significant mosaic floors in Israel, especially the famed “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” and the fifth-century Nile Mosaic.
Visitors can also see the remains of a 250-meter-long, first-century CE underground water system, which had a capacity of 5,000 cubic meters of the precious liquid.
Bethsaida (Beit Tsaida in Hebrew), the birthplace of the apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip, is mentioned in the Christian Scriptures as a place where Jesus performed several miracles. A bit north of the Sea of Galilee, Bethsaida is an active archeological site first excavated in 1987.
Underneath the first-century fishing village of Jesus’ times, archeologists discovered the ruins of an ancient city dating back to the Iron Age, approximately the 10th century BCE. The spectacular finds here include the remains of a palace and the largest and best-preserved city gate yet discovered in Israel.