Tel Rakkath

   An old city on the shore of sea of Galilee,  located on the ancient road from east to west.  Its importance was in the biblical period, and it declined after the establishment of Tiberias.


Joshua 19 36: "And the fortified cities were Ziddim-zer, and Hammath, and Rakkath, and Chinnereth"



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Ancient Road


* General view

* Spring

* Church

* Creek

Biblical Refs

Other Refs




   Tel Rakkath (Raqqat) was an ancient city on the shore of the sea of Galilee, dating to the Bronze and iron ages.  It was strategically located at the entrance to the ancient east-west road, and located on a steep hill. According to the Bible, it was a fortified Israelite city in the region of the tribe of Naphtali (Naftali).

   Due to its limited space it was abandoned during the Roman period, replaced by the establishment of the nearby Tiberias.


Location and Map:


   Tel (Mound) Rakkath is located between Tiberias and Magdala. It is located on a very steep hill that falls into the shore of the sea of Galilee, and on the entrance to the valley of Rakkath creek which flows from the plains of Arbel.


An aerial photo is shown below, indicating the major points of interest. You can point on the purple points to navigate to the selected point.



Visit at the site:



   In order to get there, you can drive from Tiberias  2 KM north along the coastal road. After a visit in the site, you can continue to Magdala which is 2 KM down the road.


   You can also get to the other (top) side of the Tel from the north the superb of K. Shmuel in the city of Tiberias.





Ancient Road:



   The Rakkath valley was one of the ancient roads that allowed the ancient caravans a path from east (Damascus) to west (Acre) via the sea of Galilee. This was a major highway since the road could not go through the sea of Galilee or through the hills north of the Sea of Galilee.


   The ancient road, which dated to the Bronze age, climbed up the valley of Rakkath, went through the plains of Arbel  (south of horns of Khitim), then up to the Netufa valley. On from Netufa was an ancient road that connected to the Lower Galilee (Sipphoris, Nazareth and Yafia), west Galilee (Acre), and also to the south of Israel.







(a) General View:


The following photo is a view of the Tel (Mound) from the east (sea) side.


Note that the site is burnt due to the fires that erupted after the missile attack from Lebanon on August 2006.


Click on the photo to view it in higher resolution...




(b) Rakkath Spring:


   A view from the side of the Tel towards the Rakkath spring, located on the shore. On the left background are the cliffs of Arbel.



Another view of the sea of Galilee from the Tel.



(c) Church:


In the park of the Rakkath spring is a small Orthodox church.



   Inside the church, on the front, is the "Templon", a decorated covered screen with icons and paintings,  which separates  the hall and the holy place behind it (the altar, or sanctuary) behind the center door.


Photo courtesy of  Veronika Viera-Belicka from Australia


   On the wall is a painting of the miracle of the first feeding of the multitude -  feeding 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fish (Mathew 14: 13-21; Mark 6: 30-44; John 6: 1-15).


Photo courtesy of  Veronika Viera-Belicka from Australia



(d) Rakkath Creek valley:


   A view of the northern slopes of the hill is seen below. In the background is Rakkath creek, which was one of the ancient routes leading to west towards the Netufa Valley (and to other sites such as Sipphoris, Nazareth). This road bypassed the Arbel mountain from the south.



   A south-west view of the valley of  Rakkath is seen below, as seen from the road to Tiberias. Tel Rakkath is located on the hill on the south side of the creek, close to the lake.


View of Rakkath creek from the road to Tiberias


Biblical References:


Josha 19: 32,36


   This text describes the area belonging to the tribe of Naphtali (Naftali). The city is located between Hamat Tiberias (south of Tiberias) and Tel Kinneret. This description was the basis of the identification of the site with the Biblical Rakkath, which according to this text was a fortified city.


"The sixth lot came out for the children of Naphtali, even for the children of Naphtali according to their families....

And the fortified cities were Ziddim-zer, and Hammath, and Rakkath, and Chinnereth"


Other References:


Babylonian Talmud - Megila 1; Megila 2,2:


   The Talmud - the 5th CAD books of religious practices, an extension and interpretation of the earlier texts of the Mishna - has another identification of Rakkath:  Sepphoris (Zippori). It writes: "...Rakkath is Zippori. And why has it been called Rakkath? Since she stands higher as the bank of a river".


   However, in another text (Megila 2,2) is locates Rakkath near Tiberias.


Etymology (behind the name):
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