"The beautiful mosaic of Bet-Alfa" Bet Alfa by gubbi1

Bet Alfa Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 31 photos

Coming to Bet-Alfa National Park you will soon notice that this is a kind of different park than most of the others. The whole place is 'only' one room in a modern building, not like the wide parks stretching over hundreds of meters. But once you enter it, you will be very surprised what you will see. All the National Park is about the Bet-Alpha Synagogue of which the stunning mosaic floor has survived since the sixth century. This mosaic is almost entirely complete and is one of the most beautiful mosaics of Israel.

There are three main areas on the floor.

Close to the nave:
Here you will find the main decoration with pictures of ritual objects, lions and candelabras.

In the center:
This part shows a zodiac with symbols of the months and their names in hebrew and aramic. The very center of the zodiac you can see the god Helios riding a chariot. In the four corners of the center there are figures representing the 4 seasons of the year.

At the base:
You can find a picture depicting the sacrifice of Isaac with text passages in hebrew and greek. According to one of the texts the work was done by Marianus and his son Hanina. The other says (in Aramaic) that the mosaic was laid in the year of the reign of Emperor Justinus for the cost of one hundred measures of grain which were donated by the villagers.

According to the flyer people did not believe in the zodiac anymore at the time the mosaic was laid, but it served as a decorative object.

Visiting the Bet-Alfa Synagogue includes an interesting film, which explains you the history of the mosaic and the synagogue in whole by referencing other sites in the region.

  • Last visit to Bet Alfa: Nov 2010
  • Intro Updated Jan 23, 2011
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Reviews (5)

Comments (3)

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Your photos of the mosaic came out so much better than mine! Excellent write-ups too - good job!

  • Roadquill's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    "Stay you here with the ass"? Is this a reference to some of your prior drinking companions? ;-) BTW, I did enjoy Dinkelsbuhl. Karl

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    Hallo, Christian! Du bist ja viel gereist....

gubbi1

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