According to the tradition, the idyllic hillside of Mount of Beatitudes in the Galilee was the place where Jesus Christ gave a special teaching to His disciples and other gathered believers:
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples come unto him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven…’” (Matt. 5:3)
In total, the sermon consisted of 9 blessings gratifying humble and merciful behavior.
While climbing the hill, a pleasant wind from the Sea of Galilee was cooling our arms and faces. And when we reached the top of the mount, the seashore view and the red-flowered trees captured our attention. The contrast of the vivid colors and the black basalt stone created a great visual composition.
And just behind the corner, on the site of Jesus’ teachings, hidden among a beautiful tree garden, we saw a domed chapel; built from the basalt stone in 1937 A.D. The Roman Catholic Church was designed by the famous architect, Antonio Barluzzi, whose designs can be found in almost every corner of the Holy Land.
We had time for a short visit inside the chapel, since the Franciscan Sisters who care for the site, were closing for a midday break. The focal points of the interior are a small altar and windows of the church inscribed with the opening words of the beatitudes “blessed are” in the Latin language.
We were accompanied by a priest and therefore were able to hold a short mass in the chapel’s garden. During the ceremony, we read the biblical beatitudes of Jesus and prayed for blessings for the people who struggle in their lives, and we thanked God for the possibility of being in this holy place on the Mt. of Beatitudes.
We decided to stay a bit longer in the area to admire the lovely view of the Sea of Galilee and enjoy the serenity of he place. Also, close to the parking spot on the mount is a neat café-bar selling cold and warm beverages and ice creams. Cold orange juice was a good idea!
Church Opening Hours:
- April – September: daily at 8 am – 12 am and 2:30 pm – 5pm;
- October – March: daily at 8 am – 12 am and 2:30 pm – 4pm;
Call the Fr. Sisters of Mt. of Beatitudes: 00972 (0) 4 – 679 – 0978
There is no public transportation to the Mt. of Beatitudes, though there is a bus that will let you out on Highway 90, about a 15 minute walk to the site. Our group arrived with a private driver. The parking costs 5 NIS per vehicle. Groups seeking to visit the site can come with on a pre-arranged bus tour. Other individuals and private groups can include the Mt. of Beatitudes in a private tour with a private guide and vehicle. If you are looking for a more complex tour in the whole Galilee region – click here.
One day tours to the Galilee including the Mt. of Beatitudes departing Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are available as well.
The Mount of Beatitudes offers a spacious hospice managed by the Franciscan Sisters. The guesthouse primarily services the needs of pilgrim groups however, there are times when rooms can be rented out to independent tours as well. For more information, click here.
Beata M. Andonia works for the Bethlehem tourist bureau and blogs regularly about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours. She is originally from Poland and moved to Bethlehem in 2010.
*For more information about booking an individual or group pilgrimage or tour to the Holy Land please contact us.