• Zippori

Zippori is one of the most beautiful of Israel’s national parks, both for its views of nature (the name Zippori comes from the Hebrew ‘Zippor’ meaning bird, because of the birds’ eye view afforded from here), and its ancient human art in the form of mosaics.

Stunning Hellenistic mosaics include the ‘Mona Lisa of the Galilee’ mosaic, the Nile Mosaic, and the floor of the 6th century synagogue. Zippori’s remains also include a Crusader fortress and Roman theatre which seated 4500 people. The synagogue is particularly interesting as mosaics depict a detailed Zodiac – not an image one might expect to see in a Jewish house of God.

Zippori History

What’s more, Zippori is of historical significance to both Jews and Christians. Described by Josephus as “the ornament of the Galilee”, Zippori was the Galilee’s major centre of commerce from the time of the reign of Herod, through the birth and life of Jesus. In Jewish history, this is the place where the Mishna was redacted by Rabbi Yehuda haNasi in 220 CE, and modern Judaism was therefore given shape. For Christians the site has significance as the town of origin of the Virgin Mary and her parents.

Zippori came alive and spoke to us.

Deidre J, New York

map of Zippori

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