Tabgha (also spelled Tabhka) is not a city, but a small area on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, not far from Capernaum. In ancient times, Tabgha was known as Heptapegon - "Place of the Seven Springs." These seven springs produce warm water, which increases the production of algae in this part of the lake, which attracts more fish. Fisherman have thus flocked to Heptapegon for thousands of years.
By the 4th century AD, Heptapegon had become a popular place for Byzantine pilgrims to rest and have their picnics, thanks to its shady trees and excellent fishing. It is probably not coincidence that two of the three pilgrimage destinations in this relate to abundant food: the miracle of the loaves and fishes during Jesus' Galilean ministry and a lakeside fish breakfast after Jesus' resurrection.
A hill above the two lakeside churches is commemorated as the Mount of Beatitudes, from which Jesus spoke the most famous sermon in history. Tabgha is a beautiful area with many interesting things to see, and is a major stop for modern pilgrimages to the Christian sites of the Sea of Galilee. It is only a few miles from Capernaum (to the north) and the Galilee Boat (to the south).
Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Tabgha
Church of the Loaves and FishesThis church commemorates the Feeding of the Five Thousand and includes a portion of rock where the miraculous meal was laid. The Byzantine-style church preserves splendid 5th-century mosaics.
Mount of BeatitudesOn a small hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, a modern octagonal church commemorates the Sermon on the Mount. The cool, pleasant gardens and sea view make this an ideal place for contemplation.
Church of the Primacy of PeterThis lakeside Franciscan chapel stands on the traditional site where Jesus told Peter to "Feed my sheep" after the miraculous catch of fish and breakfast on the shore.