The Street

The Street

The main street ran from north to south in the direction of the lake and formed the principal axis of the village, onto which the various insulae (blocks of houses) faced. It was intersected by a number of smaller roads and alleys that together served to delineate the various neighborhoods. Along the western side of the street two monumental Byzantine constructions were carried out, expressions of both the Jewish and Christian presence in Capernaum: the synagogue and the octagonal church.

The road, made from a mixture of small stones and gravel, followed the natural incline of the countryside, descending from the hills towards the sandy banks of the lake and serving also as a channel for runoff to flow into the lake. To date a stretch of approximately 110 meters has been brought to light.

A series of businesses and small village squares opened onto the street. Simon Peter’s house bordered the road and had its main entrance on the street side, preceded by a small open area in which crowds gathered to meet Jesus (Mark 1:32-34; Matt 8:16-17; Luke 4:40-41).

As the village expanded, a series of businesses were built on the eastern side of the street that spilled over into the road and reduced its width. For this reason the entrances to the fourth century domus ecclesiae and to the later octagonal church that replaced it were no longer on the main street, but on one of the secondary roads that marked the boundary of the Christian sacred area.