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magdala duc in altum

Duc in Altum (from Latin “put out into the deep,” Luke 5:4) is the name of Magdala Center’s main church. It is one of the most striking churches in the Holy Land, commemorating Mary Magdelene and inspiring all believers.

History of Duc in Altum Church

At the turn of the 21st century, the ancient site of Magdala was developed unprecedentedly. Known as the Magdala Center Project, extensive archaeological excavations were carried out through the site, followed by constructing a commercial center and a new pilgrims’ hotel, the Magdala Hotel. Near the waterfront, a new church was built, whose design set a new benchmark for ecclesiastical architecture in the Holy Land.

Architectural Review

duc in altum interiorThe entry, The Women’s Atrium, is dedicated to all women followers of Jesus. Seven of the atrium’s pillars are engraved with the names of women mentioned in the Gospels. The eighth column is empty, devoted to all women who visit the church. Around the Atrium, four chapels are devoted to different events relating to Jesus and his ministry in the Galilee. The scenes are depicted in colorful, detailed, spectacular mosaic artwork. And the main hall of the church is simply stunning. It is designed like an inverted boat. Facing east, the Sea of Galilee is visible through a glass wall. The raised apse is paved with green marble, and an altar stands shaped like a First-century boat. With the infinity pool in the back, an effective illusion makes the altar boat appear to be on the lake itself.

The Encounter Chapel

Beneath the main hall, an Encounter Chapel is built around an ancient paved courtyard from 2,000 years ago. The courtyard may have been ancient Magdala’s primary fish market near its wharf. A hyper-realistic large-size painting behind the chapel’s altar relates to Jesus’ cure of a hemorrhaging woman (Mat. 9:20-22).

Touring Duc in Altum Church

The church is open all days of the week. It can be accessed from the Magdala’s archaeological park or from the hotel. The church design is a masterpiece, possibly the most beautiful church in the Holy Land.

A visit to Magdala and Duc in Altum church can be combined with a guided day tour of the Galilee.

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