Korazim (also spelled Korazin, Chorazim or Chorazin) is an archeological park overlooking the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret). You can see there the remains of an ancient village, which was built during the third to fifth centuries CE.
The park is maintained by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. There's a nice grassy area with picnic tables and large, shady trees. From the lookout point, you have a great view over the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), which is one of the reasons the park has become a popular venue for Jewish weddings and barmitzvahs.
The modern settlement of Korazim (or Chorazim) was founded near the site in 1983 and you can find there a choice of zimmers (country lodgings) for overnight accommodation.
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The main point of interest is the remains of an ancient synagogue in the middle of the village, which served as the centre of Jewish life in its day.
The synagogue dates back to the Talmudic era - it is estimated that it was built during the 4th century or beginning of the 5th century CE. This impressive building was constructed from local basalt rock and was decorated with motifs depicting the agricultural life of the period, which you can still see today.
One of the outstanding artefacts found on the site is a basalt stone chair with words engraved on it in Aramaic. It is thought to be where the Torah reader sat during religious services and is known as the "Chair of Moses". You can also see the remains of a mikveh (a ritual bath), which was discovered next to the synagogue, and among the other buildings, an olive press.
Korazim is an important historic site also for Christians and Muslims. It was mentioned in the New Testament as one of the cities that Jesus condemned for not accepting his teachings: "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida!".
Adjacent to the entrance of the site lies the grave of a Bedouin Sheik, who is believed to have been one of Saladin's warriors from the Mamluk period. Local Bedouins visited this grave to make vows and offerings. They also came to settle disputes and establish the guilt or innocence of suspected liars and thieves.
During the 16th and 17th centuries the site was settled sporadically. Later, Bedouins from Syria moved in and lived here till 1948.
During the War of Independence in 1948, the region was the arena of many fierce battles with the Syrian army, which managed to capture Mishmar ha'Yarden. In May that year, the whole area was conquered by Israeli forces with the participation of the "Palheib", a Bedouin platoon of the Arab el-Heib tribe. After the signing of the ceasefire agreeement in 1949, the Syrian army retreated and the region became a demilitarized zone. Settlement continued despite the security problems. Kibbutz Gadot was established in 1949 near the destroyed village of Mishmar ha'Yarden and Moshav Eliphelet near Korazim.
The draining of the Hula Valley and preparation works for the National Water Carrier led to many border incidents, which reached a peak in May 1951 when a Syrian force crossed the Jordan River and seized Tel Mutila (today Givat Kella) near Moshav Almagor. The Syrians retreated after a week of heavy battles but continued to shell the area and lay landmines, so the region remained largely undeveloped until the Six-day War in 1967.
Where? North of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), about 10 minutes from Amiad Junction on route 8277. Going in the direction of Moshav Almagor, you will see the park on your right.
When? All year round. Opening hours: 08.00 - 17.00 (April-September), 08.00-16.00 (October-March). There is a small entrance fee. For more details, call: 04-6934982.
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