This is the Nazareth Village, an open-air museum in Nazareth, that reconstructs and reenacts village life in the Galilee as it was at the time of Jesus. This village is located 500 meters from the original site of Nazareth and is built on an original excavated farm.
From their website:
Set on the outskirts of old Nazareth, the Nazareth Village is built on ancient agricultural land that boasts the area’s last remaining first-century wine press. The original farm has been restored with its ancient wine press, terraces, irrigation system and stone quarry, and exact replicas of first-century houses, a synagogue, a watchtower, mikveh and olive presses have been carefully constructed using the original building methods and materials.
Together, these elements form the Nazareth Village, an authentic first-century farm and archaeologically accurate re-creation of the hometown of Jesus with real ties to the life and time of His friends, family and fellow Nazarenes.
Pilgrims to the Holy Land typically only see the dead stones of ancient ruins, but the geographical and cultural nuances of Jesus’ teaching are often crucial to understanding their full meaning. At Nazareth Village, Bible scenes are brought to life by “villagers” who populate the farm and houses, living and working with the same type of clothing, pottery, tools and methods that Mary and Jesus would have used. Gifted and knowledgeable guides lead visitors through a living representation of the parables of Jesus within their original context before offering the opportunity to seal the experience with an authentic biblical meal.
It felt like stepping back in time as we walked through this living museum, looking at Nazareth as it may have been then. I loved every minute of it!
This tomb was discovered here and recreated as it would have been at the time of Jesus.
Here are some of the cisterns that were excavated:
Here is a reconstructed watch tower overlooking the vineyards:
These terraced hills had grape vines and olive trees.
Here is what an ancient wine press would have looked like:
And here is an olive press:
A typical home:
A carpenter’s shop:
More typical homes:
I loved seeing the women working the fibres and wool to spin and weave into cloth.
We ended in the reconstructed synagogue. This is the only synagogue where tourists get to see what these ruins looked like when they were still in use. This one is small compared to most synagogues, like the one in Capharnaum, but as it’s modeled after the one discovered in Masada, and its size meets the needs of a small community like Nazareth.
In the previous post, you can read what Jesus said to his friends and neighbors in the synagogue in Nazareth–He was not well-received.
The site guide was a fellow from Russia who came here to work in this village. He read to us from the passage in Isaiah.
The pot where the scrolls were kept:
I just loved being here, in this place, feeling and imagining what it may have been like.
This is the outside of the synagogue.
Here is a model of this Nazareth Village (the left side). On the right is a visitor’s center they hope to build one day.