“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin (Korazim)! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” (Matthew 11:21-22)
Hours: April – September 8 am to 5 pm, October – March 8am to 4pm, Fridays & holidays 8 am to 3 pm
Entrance fee: 20 NIS
Korazim sits on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. It is currently in ruins and dates back to the Roman and Byzantine eras. Korazim rose to infamy as one of the cities condemned by Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible. Jesus did this because Korazim is listed among the cities that treated him poorly.
The houses and other structures in this seaside town were made of black basalt stones, as were most on the shores of the Sea of Galilee because basalt was so abundant in that area. Korazim still displays basalt buildings and a 4th century synagogue, which has been restored. This grand church sits in the central quarter of the town. This historical site is located 4.5 kilometers north of the Sea of Galilee and is 300 meters above the level of the lake. Pilgrims can visit Korazim by walking east from the intersection of Vered and Hagalil or walking west from the road connecting the Sea of Galilee and Almagor.
What to See
The ruins of this village are divided in to 5 sections (north, south, east, west, central). The central section includes all the public houses and the synagogue. Korazim, unlike many other cities in Israel, is not protected by a wall.
There is a ritual bath, or underground Mikveh, in the central section just north of the synagogue. The bath is based on the set of stones placed over a cavity. Korazim also has a cistern just behind the bath. It is not hard for pilgrims to imagine Jesus healing the blind man at a bath similar to this one.
The impressive church is built in a classic rectangular style, very common in Galilee at that time. It, like the homes in this village, is made from the volcanic black stones and built on a raised platform. Pilgrims can enter from the staircase along the main street. There are three doors, all ornately decorated. Unlike other Galilean synagogues, this structure in Korazim doesn’t have any mosaics on the floor.
Much of the church was damaged in the 4th century by an earthquake. It was later restored. There is a stone bench outside the church known as “Cathedra of Moses.” It is dedicated to the memory of Yuden Bar Ishmael.
The city of Korazim was established in the 1st century. This was the city that rejected Jesus and thus the city Jesus in turn denounced. The remains found in the city now belong to a later period, of Mishna and Talmud during the 3rd and 4th centuries. The Jewish Synagogue was built in the 3rd century, as seen on the coins found in the church.
Eusebius of Caesarea records the destruction of Korazim in the middle of the 4th century. He related the destruction of the city to the prophecy made by Jesus of city’s coming demise. The destruction is corroborated by excavations, as well. It was restored, and then expanded during the Arabic period (8th century). It had another growth period during the 13th century. The grave of Sheik Ramadan, during the Mamluk period) was among the artifacts uncovered during the excavations. Bedouins from Syria inhabited the town until 1948 when the site was abandoned. The site was excavated throughout the years and is now open to the public as a national park.