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Sea of Galilee
View from the Galilee
Coordinates 32°50′N 35°35′E / 32.833°N 35.583°E / 32.833; 35.583Coordinates: 32°50′N 35°35′E / 32.833°N 35.583°E / 32.833; 35.583
Lake type Monomictic
Primary inflows Upper Jordan River and local runoff [1]
Primary outflows Lower Jordan River, evaporation
Catchment area 2,730 km2 (1,050 sq mi) [2]
Basin countries Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine
Max. length 21 km (13 mi)
Max. width 13 km (8.1 mi)
Surface area 166 km2 (64 sq mi)
Average depth 25.6 m (84 ft)
Max. depth 43 m (140 ft)
Water volume 4 km3 (0.96 cu mi)
Residence time 5 years
Shore length1 53 km (33 mi)
Surface elevation -209 m (690 ft)
Islands 2
References [1][2]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

The Sea of Galilee, also Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Kinneret or Sea of Tiberias (Hebrew: ים כנרת‎, Arabic: بحيرة طبريا‎), located near the Golan Heights, is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 miles) in circumference, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8 miles) wide. The lake has a total area of 166 km², and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet).[3] At 209 metres below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake).[4]

The Kinneret is situated deep in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, the valley caused by the separation of the African and Arabian Plates and is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south. Consequently the area is subject to earthquakes and, in the past, volcanic activity. This is evident by the abundant basalt and other igneous rocks that define the geology of the Galilee region.

Contents

Etymology

The lake often appears on maps and in the New Testament Bible as Lake Galilee or Lake Tiberias (John 6:1) while in the Old Testament Bible, it is called the "Sea of Chinnereth" (or spelled as "Kinnereth") (Numbers 34:11; Joshua 13:27).

The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor ("harp" or "lyre") in view of the shape of the lake. Christian religious texts call it Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) or Sea of Gennesaret[5] after a small fertile plain that lies on its western side. The Arabic name for the lake is About this sound Buhairet Tabariyya (بحيرة طبريا) meaning Lake Tiberias. Other names for the Sea of Galilee are Ginnosar, Lake of Gennesar, Sea of Chinneroth and Sea of Tiberias (Roman).

Antiquity

The Sea of Galilee, which is land locked lies on the ancient Via Maris which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans founded flourishing towns and settlements on the lake including Gadara, Hippos and Tiberias. The first-century historian Flavius Josephus was so impressed by the area that he wrote, "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." Josephus also reported a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake.

Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of Lake Galilee. In those days, there was a continuous ribbon development of settlements and villages around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic gospels of Mark (1:14-20), Matthew (4:18-22), and Luke (5:1-11) describe how Jesus recruited four of His apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon and His brother Andrew and the brothers John and James. One of Jesus' famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of His miracles are also said to have occurred here including His walking on water, calming a storm, and His feeding five thousand people (in Tabgha).

The Sea of Galilee.

In 135 CE the second Jewish revolt against the Romans was put down. The Romans responded by banning all Jews from Jerusalem. The center of Jewish culture and learning shifted to the region of the Kinneret, particularly the city of Tiberias. It was in this region that the so-called "Jerusalem Talmud" is thought to have been compiled.

In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's significance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims. This led to the growth of a full-fledged tourist industry, complete with package tours and plenty of comfortable inns.

Panoramic from Amnon, north of the sea

Medieval times

Political map of the Sea of Galilee region today.

The lake's importance declined when the Byzantines lost control and area came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate and subsequent Islamic empires. Apart from Tiberias, the major towns and cities in the area were gradually abandoned. The palace Khirbat al-Minya was built by the lake during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I (705-715 CE). In 1187, Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, largely because he was able to cut the Crusaders off from the valuable fresh water of the Sea of Galilee.

Modern times

Sea of Galilee seen from Spot Satellite.
Fishermen in the Sea of Galilee, 1890-1900.
Water level during 2007-2008.
Astronaut photograph of the lake.

In 1909 Jewish pioneers built their first cooperative farming village (kibbutz), Kvutzat Kinneret which trained Jewish immigrants in farming and agriculture. Later, Kinneret pioneers established Kibbutz Degania. It was fitting, therefore, that the Kinneret was the cradle of the Kibbutz culture of early Zionism and the birthplace of Naomi Shemer and the burial site of Rachel - two of the most prominent Israeli poets.

The Preamble of the League of Nations Mandate [6] required the Principal Allied Powers to fix the boundaries. In 1923 an agreement between the United Kingdom and France established the border between the British Mandate of Palestine and the French Mandate of Syria. The Zionist movement pressured the French and British to assign as many water sources as possible to Palestine during the demarcating negotiations. These constant demands influenced the negotiators and finally led to the inclusion of the whole Sea of Galilee, both sides of the Jordan river, Lake Hula, Dan spring, and part of the Yarmouk. The High Commissioner of Palestine, Herbert Samuel, had demanded full control of the Sea of Galilee.[7] The new border followed a 10-meter wide strip along the northeastern shore.[8] Thus Syria became landlocked in the southwest. These following provisos were set up:

  • Any existing rights over the use of the waters of the Jordan by the inhabitants of Syria shall be maintained unimpaired.
  • The Government of Syria shall have the right to erect a new pier at Semakh on Lake Tiberias or to have joint use of the existing pier
  • Persons or goods passing between the existing landing-stage or any future landing-stages on the Lake of Tiberias and Semakh Station shall not by reason of the mere fact that they must cross the territory of Palestine be deemed persons or goods entering Palestine for the purpose of Customs or other regulations, and the right of the Syrian Government and their agents to access to the said landing-stages is recognised.
  • The inhabitants of Syria and of the Lebanon shall have the same fishing and navigation rights on Lakes Huleh and Tiberias and on the River Jordan between the said lakes as the inhabitants of Palestine, but the Government of Palestine shall be responsible for the policing of the lakes.[9]

Israel's National Water Carrier, built in 1964, transports water from the lake to the population centers of Israel, and is the source of much of the country's drinking water. Israel also supplies water from the lake to Jordan (under the terms of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace). Increasing water demand and some dry winters have resulted in stress on the lake and a decreasing water line, at times to dangerously low levels.

Today, tourism is again the Kinneret's most important economic activity with the entire region being a popular holiday destination. The many historical and spiritual sites around the lake, especially its main town Tiberias, are visited by millions of local and foreign tourists annually. Other economic activities include fishing in the lake and agriculture, particularly bananas, in the fertile belt of land surrounding it.

A key attraction is the site where the Kinneret's water flows into the Jordan River to which thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to be baptized every year.

Fauna and flora

Sunset over the Sea of Galilee

The warm waters of the Sea of Galilee allow a variety of flora and fauna to thrive, which have supported a significant commercial fishery for over two millennia. Local flora includes a variety of reeds along most of the shoreline as well as Phytoplankton. Fauna includes Zooplankton and Benthos, as well as a fish population which notably includes Tilapia (locally known as St. Peter’s Fish).[10]

Tilapia zilli ("St. Peter's fish") - typical serving in a Tiberias restaurant

Environmental Issues

Water levels are dangerously low, putting the Sea of Galilee at risk of becoming irreversibly salinized by the salt water springs under the lake that are limited by the weight of the freshwater on top of them.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Aaron T. Wolf, Hydropolitics along the Jordan River, United Nations University Press, 1995
  2. ^ a b http://www.exact-me.org/overview/images/p31_map.gif
  3. ^ Data Summary: Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee)
  4. ^ The 1996 discovered subglacial Lake Vostok challenges both records; it is estimated to be 200 to 600 m below sea level.
  5. ^ Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller editor, 1992, translation note to Mark 4:35-41: "...Mark calls this lake the sea, using a word (thalassa) that most Greek writers reserve for the much larger Mediterranean (Luke uses the more proper term for a lake, limne, in Luke 5:1; 8:22-23, 33. ..."
  6. ^ The Preamble of the League of Nations Mandate
  7. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=jC9MbKNh8GUC&pg=PA1&dq=boundary+palestine - (The boundaries of modern Palestine, 1840-1947, Page 130)
  8. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=jC9MbKNh8GUC&pg=PA1&dq=boundary+palestine (The boundaries of modern Palestine, 1840-1947, Page 145, 150)
  9. ^ No. 565. — EXCHANGE OF NOTES * CONSTITUTING AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE BRITISH AND FRENCH GOVERNMENTS RESPECTING THE BOUNDARY LINE BETWEEN SYRIA AND PALESTINE FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN TO EL HAMMÉ, PARIS MARCH 7, 1923, Page 7 Border Treaty
  10. ^ World Lakes Database entry for Sea of Galilee
  11. ^ http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Sea-Of-Galilee-In-Israel-Is-Facing-Disaster-Says-Friends-Of-The-Earth-Prompting-Government-Campaign/Article/200905115274946

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Israel : Sea of Galilee
Contents
lake Kinneret, as seen from the upper Galilee
lake Kinneret, as seen from the upper Galilee

The Sea of Galilee (Hebrew: Kinneret) is a compact region of towns and open country located around the picturesque Sea of Galilee (Hebrew: Yam Kinneret) in northern Israel and the Golan Heights. The region is, of course, best known for its Gospel associations with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. As such, it forms a natural destination for pilgrimage amongst all varieties of Christians. Its beaches are also a prime recreational spot for Israelis and foreigners.

Cities

Clockwise around the lake from Tiberias, the largest town in the region:

  • Tiberias (Hebrew: Teveriyah טבריה)
  • Tabgha
  • Ginosar
  • Capernaum
  • Bethsaida
  • Kursi
  • Ein Gev
  • Arbel - the mountain of Arbel forms a magnificent viewpoint over the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding areas. A steep trail leads from the peak to the Sea of Galilee. A castle dating to the Roman period is nestled in the cliff, partway down the trail.
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

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Wikipedia

Singular
Sea of Galilee

Plural
-

Sea of Galilee

  1. A lake in northern Israel, located about fifteen miles northeast of the ancient city of Nazareth.

Synonyms

  • Lake Tiberius
  • Lake of Gennesaret
  • Sea of Kinnereth

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


(Mt 4:18; 15:29), is mentioned in the Bible under three other names. (1.) In the Old Testament it is called the "sea of Chinnereth" (Num 34:11; Josh 12:3; 13:27), as is supposed from its harp-like shape. (2). The "lake of Gennesareth" once by Luke (5:1), from the flat district lying on its west coast. (3.) John (6:1; 21:1) calls it the "sea of Tiberias" (q.v.). The modern Arabs retain this name, Bahr Tabariyeh.

This lake is 12 1/2 miles long, and from 4 to 7 1/2 broad. Its surface is 682 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Its depth is from 80 to 160 feet. The Jordan enters it 10 1/2 miles below the southern extremity of the Huleh Lake, or about 26 1/2 miles from its source. In this distance of 26 1/2 miles there is a fall in the river of 1,682 feet, or of more than 60 feet to the mile. It is 27 miles east of the Mediterranean, and about 60 miles north-east of Jerusalem. It is of an oval shape, and abounds in fish.

Its present appearance is thus described: "The utter loneliness and absolute stillness of the scene are exceedingly impressive. It seems as if all nature had gone to rest, languishing under the scorching heat. How different it was in the days of our Lord! Then all was life and bustle along the shores; the cities and villages that thickly studded them resounded with the hum of a busy population; while from hill-side and corn-field came the cheerful cry of shepherd and ploughman. The lake, too, was dotted with dark fishing-boats and spangled with white sails. Now a mournful, solitary silence reigns over sea and shore. The cities are in ruins!"

This sea is chiefly of interest as associated with the public ministry of our Lord. Capernaum, "his own city" (Mt 9:1), stood on its shores. From among the fishermen who plied their calling on its waters he chose Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John, to be disciples, and sent them forth to be "fishers of men" (Mt 4:18,22; Mk 1:16-20; Luke 5: 1-11). He stilled its tempest, saying to the storm that swept over it, "Peace, be still" (Mt 8:23-27; Mk 7:31-35); and here also he showed himself after his resurrection to his disciples (John 21).

"The Sea of Galilee is indeed the cradle of the gospel. The subterranean fires of nature prepared a lake basin, through which a river afterwards ran, keeping its waters always fresh. In this basin a vast quantity of shell-fish swarmed, and multiplied to such an extent that they formed the food of an extraordinary profusion of fish. The great variety and abundance of the fish in the lake attracted to its shores a larger and more varied population than existed elsewhere in Palestine, whereby this secluded district was brought into contact with all parts of the world. And this large and varied population, with access to all nations and countries, attracted the Lord Jesus, and induced him to make this spot the centre of his public ministry."

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

.]] The Sea of Galilee is Israel's largest freshwater lake, about 53 kilometers (33 miles) around, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8 miles) wide; it has a total area of 166 km², and a depth of about 43[1] meters. At 209 meters below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth, and the second lowest lake in the world after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake. It is not a real sea - it is called a sea because of tradition.

The lake is also known on modern maps as Lake Galilee or Lake Tiberias, in the region of Galilee. In modern Hebrew, it is known as  Yam Kinneret (info • help) (ים כנרת), "Sea of Kinnereth" (Numbers 34:11; Joshua 13:27). It has also been called the Lake of Gennesaret or the Sea of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) after the name of a small fruitful plain on its western side. The Arabic name for the lake is  Buhairet Tabariyya (info • help) (بحيرة طبريا) meaning Lake Tiberias. Other names are: Ginnosar, Lake of Gennesar, Sea of Chinneroth, Sea of Tiberias (Roman) and Waters of Gennesareth.

over the Sea of Gailee looking out from Tiberias, Israel.]]Its main source is the Jordan River, which flows through it from north to south.  The lake is deep in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, the valley caused by the separation of the African and Arabian Plates.  Because of this, the area has earthquakes and, in the past, volcanic activity.  

Due to its low-lying position in the rift valley, surrounded by hills, the sea can get sudden violent storms; as in the New Testament story about Jesus calming the storm. A main feature of the lake seems to be that it is always changing. It is still famous, just as in New Testament times, for having plenty of fish, and in today's restaurants, "St. Peter's Fish" (tilapia) is very popular.

Contents

History and scripture

The Sea of Galilee is on the ancient Via Maris road which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans started towns and settlements here: Gadara, Hippos, Tiberias and others. The 1st century historian Flavius Josephus wrote of a large fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake.


Much of the ministry of Jesus was on the shores of Lake Galilee. In those days, there were many settlements and villages all around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The gospels of Mark (1:14-20), Matthew (4:18-22), and Luke (5:1-11) tell how Jesus got four of his apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew, and the brothers John and James. One of Jesus' famous teachings, the Sermon on the Mount, was given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his miracles were also recorded to have been here: his walking on water, calming a storm, feeding five thousand people and many others.

In 135, the second Jewish revolt against the Romans, called Bar Kokhba's revolt, was put down. The Romans responded by sending all Jews away from Jerusalem and not letting them come back. The center of Jewish culture and learning thus moved to the region of the Kinneret, particularly to the city of Tiberias.

In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's importance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims. This led to the growth of a tourist industry, with package tours and plenty of comfortable inns.

Medieval times

The lake lost importance when the Byzantines lost control of it. The area came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate and later Islamic empires. Except for Tiberias, little by little, the major towns and cities began to be left empty. In 1187, Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, mainly because he cut the Crusaders off from the valuable fresh water of the Sea of Galilee.

Modern times

In 1909 Jewish pioneers built their first cooperative farming village (kibbutz), Kvutzat Kinneret which trained Jewish immigrants in farming and agriculture. Kinneret was the center of the Kibbutz culture of early Zionism.

In 1923 an agreement between the United Kingdom and France set the border between the British Mandate of Palestine and the French Mandate of Syria. The British gave the southern Golan Heights to the French in return for the northern Jordan Valley. The border was drawn again so that both sides of the Jordan river and the whole of the Sea of Galilee, including a 10-meter wide strip along the northeastern shore, were made a part of Palestine[1]. The 1947 UN Partition Plan put this area inside the Jewish state.


During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Syria occupied the lake's northeastern shore. In 1967, the State of Israel took control of the entire Sea of Galilee, as well as the Golan, during the Six Day War. Syria still claims the northeastern shore of the sea[2], arguing it is a part of the Golan Heights.

Israel's National Water Carrier, built in 1964, takes water from the lake to the population centers of Israel, and is the source of most of the country's drinking water. Israel also supplies water from the lake to the West Bank and to Jordan (under the terms of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace). More demand for water and some dry winters have resulted in a lower water level that is sometimes dangerous.

Today, tourism is again very important in the area. The entire Sea of Galilee is a popular holiday resort area. The many historical and spiritual sites around the lake, especially its main town Tiberias, are visited by millions of local and foreign tourists every year. Other economic activities include fishing in the lake and agriculture, particularly bananas, in the fertile belt of land surrounding it.

A key attraction is the site where the Kinneret's water flows into the Jordan River. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to be (re-)baptized there every year.

References

  1. http://www.ilec.or.jp/database/asi/dasi09.html

Sea of Galilee

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