Caesarea Philippi (Banias)

February 05, 2015

Caesarea Philippi is located on the north of the Sea of Galilee, on the south-western slope of Mount Hermon. It is the source of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River. Numerous temples were built here during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. This site was named Panias (Banias in Arabic) after the Greek god pan. Do check out my post: Israel Travel Itinerary for more tips and inspirations.

Caesarea Philippi (Banias) Israel Travel Guide

Come, let's check this place out!

In the distant past, a giant spring used to gushed from a cave set in the limestone bedrock. The flow of the spring has decreased greatly in modern times because of earthquakes. So today, the water no longer gushes forth from the cave, but only seeps from the bedrock below it. 

Caesarea Philippi (Banias) Israel Travel Guide


Let me share with you a short history of this place regarding the practice of pan-worship. Can you see the grotto on the third column left side on the photo below? This grotto was considered the "abode of the shepherd god" pan. Ritual sacrifices were thrown into this natural abyss which reached down to the underground waters fuelling these upper springs of the Jordan. If the victim disappeared in the water, this was a sign that the god had accepted the offering. If blood appeared in nearby springs, it was believed that the sacrifice had been rejected. Take note, these offerings include babies. That's brutal and sick. No wonder why Jesus says this on this place, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) 

Caesarea Philippi (Banias) Israel Travel Guide

Notice the number of niches on the photo below carved out from the side of the cliff. They were used to hold idols for pagan worship.

Caesarea Philippi (Banias) Israel Travel Guide

What I'm looking at are preserved stuccos from the previous temples built in the area.

Caesarea Philippi (Banias) Israel Travel Guide


It is here where Jesus asked His profound question, "Who do men say that I am?" and Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30).

Caesarea Philippi (Banias) Israel Travel Guide

Okay, here's a last look of the site before we go. Yay!! We've ended up early on today. Now off to the hotel in Tiberias to rest, recharge and shop. Ahahha!

UP NEXT: The Jordan River.

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