Mount Tabor, Israel: The Church of the Transfiguration
About Mount Tabor:
One of the most significant places in the Holy Land, Mount Tabor has a history of importance long before Christianity. Due to its position along major trade routes, it was fought over by various civilizations.
It is an important site for Jews as well as Christians. For Christians, of course, this is recognized as the place that Christ was transfigured in the presence of Peter, John and James (Matthew 17: 1-8; Luke 9: 28-36; Mark 9:2-8) and was revealed his identity as the son of God and the second person of the Trinity. We celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6.
By the 6th Century several Christian churches occupied this spot, later to be destroyed by the Persians, then rebuilt in the 11th Century by the Crusaders, then destroyed again during the Muslim conquest of 1187.
The Church you see today, the Church of the Transfiguration, is fairly recent and was built by the Franciscans in 1924. In size it is one of the largest in the Holy Land.
In addition to the Church itself, the view from the top overlooking the valley is magnificent. There is also an Orthodox church at the top as well, but not usually open to the public.
Mount Tabor is about 19 miles from Nazareth. The town at the base of the mountain is Kfar Tavor. Once you arrive, you can either climb to the top or take a taxi. It is quite a ways up to the top of Mount Tabor: it is possible to hike up to the top if you are in good physical shape; however, most people prefer to take a taxi. Tour buses cannot go all the way to the top and neither can private cars, so taxis are the way to go. In addition to the beautiful view, the church itself is magnificent and the whole area incredibly peaceful.
The Franciscan Church of the Transfiguration usually closes between noon and 2:00 p.m., so plan your visit accordingly.
There is no official website of the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor; however, click here for the official website of the Franciscan Media Center, that has a wealth of information about the churches in the Holy Land.