Zippori or Sepphoris is called also Diocaesarea was an important jewish center until the Byzantine era.
One of the most important cities of Lower Galilee during Roman times, Sepphoris is located just northwest of Nazareth.
Although not mentioned in the Bible, Jesus grew up in the shadow of this great city and it likely had some influence on his early life.
“But when Herod had reached Sepphoris, in a very great snow, he took the city without any difficulty, the guards that should have kept it flying away before it was assaulted; where he gave an opportunity to his followers that had been in distress to refresh themselves, there being in that city a great abundance of necessaries. After which he hasted away to the robbers that were in the caves, who overran a great part of the country, and did as great mischief to its inhabitants as a war itself could have done.”
War 1:304 FLAVIUS JOSEPH
This was such an amazing place. We walked past the colonnaded main street, and were just wandering down to the right and even with our map seemed to almost stumble upon the intricate mosaic synagogue floor! What a fascinating place! To think this floor was only discovered in the 90's when they were digging the parking lot for the interpretive centre is amazing to me. How much more history is buried beneath the parking lots and roadways of this land! The excavated centre of the synagogue is colorfully decorated with Bible stories and depictions of Jewish life all divided into panels. Whenever I see the signs of the Zodiac in a church or Jewish synagogue it always strikes me as being a little out of place. And amongst the mosaic panels on the ancient floor it just seems so odd, but that just adds to the mystery. It’s all in a covered and temperature controlled building with small panels explaining each section.
We continued on the path following the ridge along the top of the mountainside, making our way toward the ruins of a 4,000-seat Roman amphitheater. And this theatre is hewn right out of solid rock! The stone steps and seats are built right into the slope over looking the valley, such an amazing view.
After walking through the garden go up into the Crusader period fortress. The two story building is almost completely bare but man do you have an amazing 360 degree view from the top but hold onto your hat because it is super windy!
Bring a picnic lunch and sit among the trees at one of the numerous picnic tables for a break - then for Act II stop at Dionysus house, see mosaics of the god of wine, and don't miss «Mona Lisa of Zippori»! I've seen the Mona Lisa in Paris and it's just as good! all made from tiny colored stones with a ‘Mona Lisa’ type smile. And for your final encore the Nile House, another fabulous mosaic depicting the Nile River festival!