An impressive Byzantine Monastery, beautiful mosaics, and captivating stories in Kursi, the site of The Miracle of the Swine.
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Kursi: impressive history on the Sea of Galilee.

As the site associated with The Miracle of the Swine, Kursi is among the most important places for Christianity in the whole world. Featuring the biggest monastery in Israel and numerous captivating stories, right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Kursi is a great site for history lovers, who want to learn more about Jesus’ journey in the Galilee.

Located on the lower part of the Golan Heights, just east of the shores of the Sea of Galilee, is the impressive Kursi National Park, the site of the Miracle of the Swine. Here’s everything you need to know before your visit to Kursi.

Entrance fee:

Adults: 12 ILS

Children: 7 ILS

The story of Kursi

Through the years, Kursi was a small fishing village, which had existed in some form from the 1st century BC until an earthquake in the 8th century, which destroyed it entirely.

Christian tradition identifies Kursi as the place where Jesus performed the “Miracle of the Swine” where he cured two people of their demons, by transferring the demons into a herd of pigs. Then, according to the story, the pigs became possessed, ran to the sea, and drown. The miracle is described in the New Testament in the books of the Gospel according to Matthew (8:28-34) and the Gospel according to Luke (8:26-39). This belief has made it a site of great importance to Christianity, as later a Byzantine monastery and church were built here.

Best sites to see in Kursi

The Byzantine Monastery and Church

The Byzantine church that you can see here is considered to be the largest monastery in Israel. It is surrounded by a stone wall, and outside of it there used to be a textile house, residential houses, a bathhouse, a hostel for pilgrims, and other common buildings that served the residents of Kursi.

Next to the monastery is a Byzantine church. While the mosaic of the church’s central hall was almost completely destroyed, fortunately, the mosaics of the two streets outside the church remained almost intact. The street mosaics are decorated with 296 rhombus medallions that house birds, fish, baskets, fruits, leaves, and flowers.

The holy rock

To the south of the monastery on the hill were found the remains of a cave with a small chapel, inside which they found the remains of an apse and a floor with three layers of mosaics. Historians speculate that the chapel indicates the location of the rock next to which the Miracle of the Swine had occurred.

From the holy rock, there is a nice viewpoint, towards the Galilee mountains and the nearby Sea of Galilee.

The Enchanted Bench

A myth that had turned into a major attraction for visitors, the “enchanted bench” at Kursi has been a focal point for the attention of visitors from around the world for years. Many attribute unique virtues to this bench and return to it again and again. Some visitors have claimed that the bench had made their wishes come true, while others have said that sitting on it brings tremendous peace and serenity. Some attribute those stories to the existence of crystals in Kursi and believe that the site has a special energy.



Opening hours

Summer – every day except Friday: 8:00-17:00. Fridays and holidays: 8:00-16:00.

Winter – every day except Friday: 8:00-16:00. Fridays and holidays: 8:00-15:00.

Parking and transportation

There is an accessible parking lot inside the national park.

Accessibility arrangements

  • The Byzantine Monastery and church are wheel-chair accessible. The holy rock is not.

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