Pilgerhaus Tabgha –
At the place of the multiplication of loaves and fishes
Even when the hospice in Tabgha was opened in 1889, it was never intended to be only an accommodation for guests.
The Lazarist Fathers, who were entrusted with the management of Tabgha, developed a far-reaching pastoral activity: The first director, Reverend Zephyrin Biever, wrote an Arabic catechism. His successor, Father Täpper, founded many Christian schools in Galilee. The pilgrims’ hospice also offered work and training in agriculture to the Bedouins from the area of the Sea of Galilee.
In 1936, the ruins and valuable mosaics of the Byzantine church of the multiplication of loaves and fish from the 5th century AD were discovered near the hospice. In the Church, which was rebuilt in 1982 only a few minutes’ walk from the Tabgha Pilgerhaus, the mosaics now refer the pilgrim to the Creator and His miracles. In the period after 1948, the hospice became an Israeli youth hostel. Countless young visitors of the new state got to know the vegetation around the lake through Schlomo Ilan. Many of his plantings, such as the unique bamboo forest, can still be seen on the grounds of the pilgrim house. In 2001 the old buildings of the hospice were restored and complemented by modern buildings. The new architecture aims to open the view of the landscape around the Sea of Galilee.
The miracle of multiplication is commemorated in Tabgha and Psalm 23 fits exactly into this landscape: Here the good shepherd invites to rest at still waters and lets the hungry lie down in green pastures. Pilgerhaus Tabgha wants to continue the traditions of this place.