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Kafr Kanna
Kefr Kenna, 1859.jpg
Kafr Kanna as depicted in 1860,[1]
District North
Government Local council (from 1968)
Hebrew כַּפְר כָּנָּא
Arabic كفر كنا
Name meaning "Village of Cana"
Population 17,600 (2005)
Area 10,600 dunams (10.6 km2; 4.1 sq mi)

Kafr Kanna (Arabic: كفر كنا‎, kafr kanā; Hebrew: כַּפְר כַּנָּא‎) is an Arab town in the Galilee region of Israel that is associated with the New Testament village of Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine[2].



The settlement of Kana was mentioned in the Amarna Letters, and was known in the times of the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus. As with many Jewish towns in the Galilee, the town took in Jewish refugees fleeing Roman persecution in Jerusalem and Judea[3].

Nasir-i-Khusraw visited the village in 1047 C.E., and described the place in his diary:

"To the southward [of Kafar Kannah] is a hill, on the top of which they have built a fine monastery. It has a strong gate, and the tomb of the prophet Yunis (Jonas) [..] is shown within. Near by the gate of the monastery is a well, and the water thereof is sweet and good. [..] Acre is 4 leagues distant.."[4]

Also Ali of Herat wrote that you could see the Makam of Jonas, and also the grave of his son, at Kafr Kanna.[4] This was repeated by Yaqut, who, however wrote of the tomb as being that of the father of Jonas.[4]

Around 1300 C.E Kafr Kanna was described as being a large village, in which lived the chiefs of various tribes. The head tribe is called Kais al Hamra (Kais the red). According to the cronicler, Al-Dimashqi, the district Buttauf, called "the Drowned Meadow", also belonged to the village.[4] Al-Dimashqi further remarked that the waters of the surrounding hills drained into the area, flooding it; as soon as the land is dried up grain was sown.[5]

Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the village flourished in the 16th century, as it lay on the trade route between Egypt and Syria. In 1596, Ottoman officials recorded the population as 475 Muslim households and 96 Jewish households, making it the 6th most populous locality in Palestine at the time.[6]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Kfar Kanna was captured by units of Israel's 7th Brigade in the second half of Operation Dekel (July 15-18, 1948).[7]


Religious significance

Old postcard of Kafr Kanna
Postcard of Kafr Kanna by Karimeh Abbud, c. 1925
"Wedding church" built on the site of the miracle
"Wedding church" interior

The town is identified by Christians as the town of Cana, where Jesus performed a miracle at the Marriage at Cana. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1914, the identification of Kafr Kanna with Cana dates back to at least the 8th century.

The town also contains the tomb of the Jewish sage, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, the Nasi (prince) of the Sanhedrin (legislative body of Ancient Israel), who became president of the Sanhedrin in 50 CE.


Kafr Kanna achieved local council status in 1968. In 2005, there were 17,600 residents,[8] 83.5% of whom were Muslim and 16.5% Christian.

As is the case with many other mixed Muslim-Christian towns in the region, the Christians generally tend to live in the oldest part of town. In Kafr Kanna - and in Kafr Yasif and 'Abud, among others - there are two ancient nuclei in the town: the earlier one where Christians live, and another (also hundreds of years old) where Muslims live.[9]


Maccabi Kafr Kanna currently play in Liga Artzit, the third tier of Israeli football, and have played at the second level in the past. Hapoel Kafr Kanna play in Liga Alef (the fourth tier), and Beitar Kafr Kanna play in Liga Bet (the fifth tier)

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ Thomson, 1860, p.120
  2. ^ The near-miracle in Kafr Kana
  3. ^ Excavations uncover Galilee village of Kana
  4. ^ a b c d leStrange, 1890, p.469
  5. ^ leStrange, 1890, p.470
  6. ^ Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977), Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft; page 187
  7. ^ Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. p. 421.  
  8. ^ Population of localities numbering above 1,000 residents and other rural populations on 31/12/2006 Central Bureau of Statistics
  9. ^ Ronnie Ellenblum (2003). Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521521874, 9780521521871.  


External links

Coordinates: 32°45′N 35°21′E / 32.75°N 35.35°E / 32.75; 35.35


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