Probably the best features at Zippori, also known as Sepphoris, are the magnificent mosaics that have been restored. The mosaics include scenes from the life of Dionysus, the god of wine; and the hauntingly beautiful “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.” The city of Zippori was once the administrative and intellectual capital of Galilee, and was known as the City of Peace. Joseph Flavius, the Jewish Historian, described Zippori as “the ornament of all of Galilee”. The city once sat on a hill overlooking the valley of Bet Netofa, and the view from the summit is breathtaking. The city was founded in the first century BCE, and was quickly absorbed by Herod the Great in 37 BCE. After Herod died, the city revolted against Herodian rule, but was quickly suppressed and Antipas took over leadership of the city. The city surrendered to Roman rule during the Jewish revolt in 66 CE, but after the temple was destroyed in Jerusalem much of the Jewish population fled to Zippori and the city became the foremost Jewish city in Galilee. Archeological evidence shows that the city was destroyed in 363 by an earthquake, but there is also evidence that the city was rebuilt by the Crusaders who believed that the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus, had lived in Zippori.
While at Zippori, I focused mainly on the beautiful mosaics and the spectacular view. I had seen enough ruins by this point that some of the novelty had worn off which was a good thing since there were so many mosaics to occupy my camera. While walking around the park I actually picked up a couple of mosaic tiles and that was such a thrill. I have also found pottery shards at many of the locations that we visited. It is amazing to hold something that someone else held over 2,000 years ago. I don’t know why, but I find it fascinating.
I took a lot of pictures here so I hope you will enjoy them: