I was under the false impression that all of Israel shut down from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Not so in Nazareth.
We spent Friday at the Sea of Galilee, taking in three historic Christian sites during the day.
Our first stop was the Mount of Beatitudes, a beautiful church and convent built upon the place where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount. It was a beautifully-manicured area and the view of the Sea of Galilee below was stunning. But it was crowded….
Next, we stopped at the Tabgha, also called the Church of the Multiplication, believed to be where Jesus fed the 5,000. Inside the church are several beautiful 5th century mosaics. Augustine was much more interested in the fish in the pond…
Finally, we stopped in Capernaum, an ancient city that many believes Saint Peter lived. There were enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the Galilee (before the rain re-started and downpour began). Also on-site: the ruins of an old synagogue.
We had prepared for Sabbath by buying nuts, fruit, bread, and cheese…we didn’t know what would be open.
But as we drove back down to our guest house in Nazareth (we stayed at the Sisters of Nazareth, a Roman Catholic convent near the Basilica of the Annunciation with very spartan accommodations), we noticed that nothing appeared closed.
In fact, as we reached Nazareth we found it was hopping. Restaurants were open. Stores were open. Everything was open.
This was certainly not Jerusalem…
Why? Nazareth has a large Arab-Isareli population, many of whom are Christians. As a result, they do not observe the Jewish Sabbath but instead take Sunday off.
We found a little restaurant called Tishreen and ate dinner there. The food was wonderful. We had mushroom with cheese and sesame seeds, my wife had chicken, I had lamb, and we shared with Augustine. Even the cappuccino was excellent.
The food was so good we went back again on Saturday night.
On Saturday everything was open as well. Markets. Cafes. Clothing stores.
That certainly gave us an easier time, though I was quite looking forward to the Sabbath experience. Then again, I suppose I picked the wrong city to experience it in…
Nazareth is NOT ISRAEL, it is in Palästina which is occupied from Israel.
Also, I’m sure the Arabs that live there are much better off than their brothers in Ramallah!
Well, yes, living as second class citizens is probably preferable to living under a brutal occupation.
Keep your stupid politics away from a travel website. Nazareth is in Israel, I don’t remember Matthew mentioning he had to pass through Immigration to get into Palestine. That’s because there IS no country of Palestine. This is FACT.
Did you find out the name of the animal? It’s called a hyrax. Really cute little guys.
It’s a Hyrax. Great report.
How did you find the tipping culture to be in practice? That receipt clearly indicates that a gratuity is “not expected but graciously accepted” (cue eye roll) to the tune of 10-20% per the hand-written note. Seems pushy as a result of you being presumably American where it’s more customary.
I tipped 10%. The restaurant was pricey, as you saw. Service was good, but not great.
10% is ok. That’s what I tip.
Many will tell you 15% is minimum, I see it as bad American influence.
Glad you found a good restaurant in Nazareth. That city is crazy hectic and hard to find good restaurants in my experience. Great blog post.
You’ll find that it is mostly the more religious city of Jerusalem that completely shuts down for shabbat. In Tel Aviv, the sabbath is noticeably quieter, but you’ll still find that many restaurants and some shops are open. There is even now some limited public transport that operates in the city Friday night and Saturday…special vans operated by the municipal government take the place of a few bus routes.
Hectic Is an understatement, considering I had to drive through it twice!
AGAIN Nazareth is NOT IN ISRAEL it is Palästina territority occupied by Israel.
Slow your roll, Fritz. It is LEGALLY a part of Israel and its Arab inhabitants are ISRAELI citizens.
Yes, 20% of Israel’s citizens are Palestinians.
Fritz, there is nothing called palestine anymore. Unfortunately.
We need to resettle tens of millions of Palestinian. I suggest 3 million to UK, 3 million to France, 3 million to US to be resettled in red states and 1 million to Germany. U.s. that production proportion.
Every israel loving jew in the world pays USD1000 towards a resettlement fund for Palestinians. Rest comes from the UK. If you are israel hating jew you don’t pay anything just a signed copy that you hate israel.
Thank you for these reports. We are researching a trip to Israel and your reports are now part of our data base.
For an extreme Sabbath experience, try visiting Israel on Yom Kippur.
In every Jewish city, Tel Aviv included, everything stops for 25 hours – no stores, no restaurants, no cars on the streets (just bicycles).
Of course this makes most tourism activities impossible, but perfect for long cycling or walking.