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Horvat Minnim

Date of Submission: 30/06/2000
Criteria: (iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Delegation Permanente d'Israel aupres de l'UNESCO
Coordinates: Lat. 32°52' N / Long. 35°34' E
Ref.: 1474

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Horvat Minnim is located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee in the rich Ginnosar Valley. Attention was attracted to Horvat Minnim in the second half of the 1 9th century when scholars and pilgrims began to cross Palestine in search of identifiable biblical sites. Originally, scholars identified Minnim as Capernaum until the discovery of Capernaum farther north and the excavation of the main part of the site of Minnim. In 1932 excavations at Horvat Minnim were begun and continued for five years by German archaeologists. The German archaeologists revealed an almost square building with round corner towers and a semicircular tower in the middle of each wall, except for the eastern wall where there was a monumental domed gateway. Along the exterior walls, the excavation uncovered a mosque, a throne room, and a group of five rooms with mosaic floors with geometric designs. The impressive large courtyard displayed the unique form characteristic of Umayyad palaces of the period. An inscription found in secondary use, which mentioned the name of the Umayyad caliph el-Walid (705-715), dated the palace and the mosque to the Umayyad period. The sounding made in work on the western part of the palace in 1959 established the site's stratigraphy and a second major occupation of Minnim in Mameluke times when there was a major halt on the caravan route from Egypt to Syria. The sounding also uncovered a mosaic floor in the vaulted hall on the west side, indicating the existence of official rooms as well as in the southern parts of the palace. Only a few segments of the floor have been uncovered. Horvat Minnim was built in the Umayyad period in a rich agricultural area and it was probably the palace of a princely landowner. It must certainly be connected with a no-longer extant bathhouse from the Byzantine period, about 200 meters to the northwest.