Open this page in a new tab


Khorazin Aerial View of Khorazin

Click on Image for high resolution magnifiable image

Used with permission from


Transliterated Name Source Name
Khorazin Hebrew
Korazim Hebrew כורזים
Chorizim Hebrew כורזים
Chorazin Greek Χοραζίν
Chorazain Greek Χοραζίν
Khirbet Karazeh Arabic

Ancient Chorazin is identified with a site situated north of the Sea of Galilee, 4 km (2.5 mi.) north of Capernaum (map reference 2031.2575), called in Arabic Khirbet Karazeh. To the west and south of the town is Nahal Chorazin, which carries a large quantity of water in winter. To the north of the town, the ancient Ptolemais-Bethsaida road crossed the Jordan River near its entry into the Sea of Galilee and joined the main road to Damascus.

The town lay on a low, bow-shaped hill ( 45-65 m above sea level, 267-273 m above the Sea of Galilee). The town was built in a hilly area strewn with basalt stones. About 300 m to the east is the Bir Karazeh spring, whose waters flow in rainy years along the eastern edge of the town until they enter Nahal Chorazin. Many dolmens are scattered in the area around the city.

Chorazin (Chorazim), a Jewish town in the Roman-Byzantine period, is mentioned in the New Testament (Mt. 11 :21-24; Lk. 10: 13-16) as one of the three cities, together with Bethsaida and Capernaum, that Jesus upbraided because their inhabitants failed to accept his teachings. Chorazin is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud (Men. 85a) in connection with the laws of the Orner offering. Eusebius ( Onom. 174:23) states that Chorazin was in ruins in his day and was 2 Roman miles from Capernaum.


The town's synagogue was first identified by C. Wilson in 1869. Subsequently, its remains were described by V. Guerin, as well as by H. H. Kitchener in the Survey of Western Palestine. From 1905 to 1907, H. Kohl and C. Watzinger excavated part of its ruins on behalf of the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, within the context of their extensive study of ancient synagogues in northern Palestine. A hut built at the northwest corner of the building prevented them from completing their excavation. It was only in 1926 that the synagogue was completely cleared by N. Makhouly and J. Ory, on behalf of the Mandatory Department of Antiquities. Later, the remains were explored and studied by E. L. Sukenik on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At the same time, the "Seat (Cathedra) of Moses" was discovered, bearing the only inscription found to date at the site (CIJ, no. 981; Naveh, no. 17). From 1962 to 1964, a survey headed by Z. Yeivin was conducted by the Israel Department of Antiquities of the remains of buildings and excavations in the area of the town, mainly in the center. Excavations were resumed between 1980 and 1984, as a joint project of the Department of Antiquities and the National Parks Authority, to preserve the site, restore some of its buildings, and open it to tourists. The excavations were conducted by Z. Yeivin. Preservation and restoration were under the direction of M. Tannai of the National Parks Authority and G. Solar and Z. Yeivin, on behalf of the Department of Antiquities.


Chorazin had its beginnings in the first or second century CE. Initially, it was established in the northern, higher, part of the hill. Later, it developed to the south and west. In the late third or early fourth century CE, it extended over most of the hill, up to the north bank of Nahal Chorazin. During that time the town flourished, and the civic center was built, together with the synagogue. Shortly afterward, still in the early fourth century, the houses and the synagogue were partially destroyed. The town was rebuilt on the same plan and within the same boundaries in the mid-fourth and early fifth centuries CE and continued to exist, with repairs and additions, until the Early Arab period, in the eighth century. From the eighth century onward, the city declined, until it was abandoned. In the twelfth or thirteenth century a small, sparse settlement was established that still existed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Aerial Views and Plans
Aerial Views and Plans

Aerial Views

  • Khorazin in Google Earth
  • Khorazin on


Site Plans

Normal Size


Area Plans

Normal Size


419 CE Earthquake

Russell (1985) relates that it has been suggested that the early 5th century destruction evidence at Khorazin relates to this earthquake Yeivin (1973: 157 - in hebrew). Jones (2021) reports that Magness has disputed archaeological evidence for this earthquake at Khorazin and other sites in the Galilee (1997: 217-18; 2005: 8-10; 2007: 271-72; 2012: 113-14).

Notes and Further Reading

Articles and Books

Jones, I. W. N. (2021). "The southern Levantine earthquake of 418/419 AD and the archaeology of Byzantine Petra." Levant: 1-15.

Magness, J. (1997). "Synagogue typology and earthquake chronology at Khirbet Shema ‘, Israel." Journal of field archaeology 24(2): 211-220.

Magness, J. 2005. Heaven on earth: Helios and the zodiac cycle in ancient Palestinian synagogues. Dumbarton Oaks Papers 59: 1-52.

Magness, J. 2007. Did Galilee decline in the fifth century? The synagogue at Chorazin reconsidered. In, Zangenberg, J., Attridge, H. W. and Martin, D. B. (eds), Religion, Ethnicity, and Identity in Ancient Galilee: A Region in Transition: 259-74. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck.

Magness, J. 2012. The pottery from the village of Capernaum and the chronology of Galilean synagogues. Tel Aviv 39(2): 110-22.

Russell, K. W. (1985). "The Earthquake Chronology of Palestine and Northwest Arabia from the 2nd through the Mid-8th Century A.D." Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research 260: 37-59.

Bibliography from Stern et. al. (1993 v.1)

C. W. M. Van de Velde, Memoirs to Accompany the Maps of the Holy Land, Gotha 1858, 304

Robinson, Biblical Researches 2, 346-360

Guerin, Galilee I, 241-242

Conder-Kitchener, SWP I, 400-402; Palestine Pilgrim Texts 3, London 1891, 16f.

Abel, GP 2, 299-300

J. G. Duncan, PEQ 58 (1926), 15-16

J. Ory, ibid. 59 (1927), 51-52

C. C. McCown, BASOR 41 (1931), 17-18

Kohl-Watzinger, Synagogen 41-58

Sukenik, Ancient Synagogues, 21-24

Goodenough, Jewish Symbols I, 193- 199

Z. Yeivin, JEJ 12 (1962), 152-153; id., ASR, 162-163; id., ESI 1 (1982), 64-67; 3 (1984), 66-71; id., BAlAS (1982-1983), 46-48; id., BAR 9/1 (1983), 75-76; 13/5 (1987), 22-36

G. Kloetzli, LA 20 (1970), 359-369

Y. Turnheim, PEQ 119 (1987), 152-155.

Bibliography from Stern et. al. (2008)

Main Publication

Z. Yeivin et al., The Synagogue at Korazim: The 1962–1964, 1980–1987 Excavations (IAA Reports 10), Jerusalem 2000 (Eng. abstracts)


R. S. Smith, ABD, 1, New York 1992, 911–912

K. M. Galor, Domestic Architecture in Galilee and Golan during the Roman and Byzantine Periods (1st Century B.C. to 7th Century A.D.) (Ph.D. diss.), Ann Arbor, MI 1996; id., NEA 66 (2003), 44–57

S. Fine, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, 1 (ed. E. M. Meyers), New York 1997, 490–491

Y. Stepansky, ESI 112 (2000), 9*–11*

N. May, ‘Atiqot 43 (2002), 207–252

E. Yehuda, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Evangelischen Instituts für Altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes 9 (2003), 9–25

K. N. Schoville, NEAS Bulletin 49 (2004), 15–26

P. Gruson, MdB Hors Serie 2005, 24–25.

Wikipedia page for Khorazin

  • from Wikipedia - click link to open new tab