>  Top Tour Destinations in Northern Israel   >  Khirbet Omrit – Where Peter got his Name?

Perched on a hill overlooking the Hulah valley, the ruins of khirbet Omrit were first noticed in 1989 after a bush fire at the site. The following years’ excavations uncovered remarkable Roman temple complex remains. Its excavators suggest that the Iturean King Zenodorus built the temple,  and later, King Herod and perhaps King Agrippa II expanded it. In the Byzantine period, Christians built a chapel over the temple’s remains after an earthquake in 363 AD destroyed it. The chapel went out of use in the Middle Ages, but next to the site is a tomb sacred to the Druze (Nebi Yudah). It is possible that the holy tomb preserved the memory of the site’s sanctity.

Was Peter named in Khirbet Omrit?

In the first century CE, Herod Philip established a new capital at Caesarea-Philippi, 4 miles north of Khirbet Omrit. The New Testament records Jesus and his disciples traveling in the area and Jesus questioning his disciples:

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16).

In return, Jesus declared that Peter would be the “foundation” of his community and gave him the nickname “Petrus” (rock, in Greek).

Many believe that the event took place in Caesarea Philippi, but the text states that it happened “in the regions of Caesarea Philippi” (Matthew 16:13) or “in the villages around Caesarea Philippi” (Mark 8:27). Therefore, it is possible that the event actually took place in Khirbet Omrit. This might also explain why a Christian chapel was built at the site in the Byzantine period.

Tour to Khirbet Omrit

The ruins of Khirbet are accessible by an off-road vehicle from Road 918.

A site tour can be combined with a tour to the Golan Heights or the Galilee.

Email or contact us to inquire more about a private tour to Khirbet Omrit:

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