Ginosar is a communal farm (Kibbutz) established in 1937 next to the Sea of Galilee, 6 miles north of Tiberias. Being by the lake and in a fertile farmland, the kibbutz economy is based on fishing, agriculture, and tourism. The Kibbutz is especially known for displaying the 2,000-year-old Sea of the Galilee boat. It is also linked to Gennesareth, where Jesus’ and the Disciples anchored after calming the Sea of Galilee –
“When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesareth and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went – into villages, towns or countryside – they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed” (Mark 6:53-56, cf. Matthew 14:34).
Where is Ancient Gennesareth?
The modern Kibbutz of Ginosar was founded in the lush plains west of the Sea of Galilee. These are probably “The plains of Genessar”, described by 1st century historian Josephus as one of the most fertile areas in the Holy Land (Jos. War. 3.10.8/506-521). But is this also the site of Gennesareth, mentioned in the Gospels? At the northern end of Ginosar valley is the ancient site of Tell Kinnereth (In Arabic: Tell el-Oreimeh). Archaeological excavations conducted at the site uncovered remains of a Canaanite and Israelite city that was conquered and destroyed by the Assyrians in the 8th century BCE. The evidence from the first century are scarce. Archaeologist Uzi Leibner suggested locating ancient gennesareth at khirbet Abu-Shushe, about 2 miles northwest of Kibbutz Ginosar. Yet the site is not by shoreline, which the Gospels seems to imply. The location of ancient Gennesareth remains uncertain.
Touring Kibbutz Ginosar
The Kibbutz is located along the Western Shore line and is a popular tour attraction. It operates a visitor center devoted to the Jewish history of the region and the Heritage of Yigal Alon. It also displays a 2,000-year-old boat (“Sea of Galilee Boat“) and operates one of the biggest souvenir shops in Israel. Next to it, at the seashore, the kibbutz also offers boat rides for tour groups. The kibbutz also operates a hotel and a guest house.
A tour of Kibbutz Ginosar can be combined with a guided day tour of the Galilee.