The Magdala Center and Archaeological Park is situated in the first century Jewish village of Magdala (the birthplace of Mary Magdalene), adjacent to the Israeli town of Migdal on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
In 2005 the Catholic Organisation, Legionairies of Christ purchased land in the town of Migdal with the intention of building a Hotel that would be used to welcome Pilgrims visiting the Holy Land and in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI blessed the cornerstone of the Magdala Center.
The site was reviewed by archeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of the hotel and a first century synagogue was discovered with a stone engraved with a Menorah (seven branched candelabra), as well as fishing pools and Jewish ritual baths. Excavations continued in the area of the synagogue with discoveries that are preserved at the site to be included throughout the Magdala Center project.
This synagogue is one of seven from the first century that have been excavated throughout Israel. A coin minted in Tiberias in 29 CE was found inside proving that the synagogue was from the time of Jesus who taught throughout the Galilee.
Included in the Center is a chapel with a unique altar in the shape of a boat in commemoration of Jesus preaching from Simon’s boat. During Pope Francis’s pastoral pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2014, he blessed the tabernacle located on this unique altar.
The “Duc in Altum” church at Magdala has an octagonal atrium with eight pillars each one dedicated to seven of the women who followed and assisted Jesus in his life including Mary Magdalene and Salome, the mother of James and John. The eighth pillar honors women of faith throughout time. The Church itself is a crypt that includes an ecumenical chapel with a beautifully decorated floor honoring Jesus’ time in this seaside city.
The Magdala Center has been funded with donations from around the world and has been turned into a wonderfully imposing complex with a hotel for 300 pilgrims a multimedia center presenting the life of Christ amongst other features, including an archaeological Park.
A visit to Magdala Center can be included in any of our sample itineraries according to your needs.