MembersThe Tunnel to the Sea

Archaeology

By Israel Today Staff |
Photo: Yoppa Chushkar

More than 800 years ago the Crusaders were in Tiberias. Close to the banks of the Sea of Galilee they resided in their fortress, the remains of which can still be seen today. As part of ongoing excavations uncovering Tiberias’ storied history, it was recently discovered that the Crusaders had a secret access tunnel running from their fortress to the lake.

 

The man conducting the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Yoppa Chushkar, believes the tunnel provided access to the harbor in Tiberias, which is mentioned in Crusader sources. One such record involves the siege of Tiberias in 1187 by the forces of the Muslim ruler Saladin. Princess Eshiva, wife of Raymond III of Tripoli, who was ruler over the Galilee, was in Tiberias at the time. With Raymond encamped further north with his army at Sepphoris (Zippori), Eshiva sent an urgent message regarding her situation. Seeking to avoid direct confrontation with Saladin’s army, Raymond told his wife to make her way to the harbor and escape onto the lake. However,...

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