Magdala, a unique place by the Sea of Galilee, is a first century city where the Jewish residents used to gather in a synagogue which Jesus visited and where He taught. At Jesus time Magdala was a commercial trade center with a thriving fish industry, particularly a pickled fish market exporting its tasty goods to Rome.
And Magdala is traditionally believed to be a home town of Maria Magdalena, one of the most mysterious personages in the Gospels.
Very soon Magdala will be officially opened for the visitors, and doubtlessly, it will fast become one of the most visited sites in Israel. But back in 2009, when a construction of the Christian Pilgrimage Guesthouse has begun here, no one could have imagined what was hiding under a thin layer of dry soil.
As workers began to dig the foundation for the guesthouse, they discovered a first century synagogue, what already created a great excitement, as this was certainly a place where Jesus prayed and taught. But this was just the beginning. Inside the synagogue they soon found The Magdala Stone, a discovery many archaeologists call the most significant archaeological find in the past 50 years.
And, as archaeologists continued to dig further, they discovered an entire first century Jewish town lying just below the surface.
The front of the Magdala Stone depicts the oldest carved image of the Second Temple’s seven-branched Menorah ever found, and this discovery has produced intense excitement among the archaeologists and historians.
It is for the first time when a carving of Menorah dating the times of the Jerusalem Temple has ever been found.
Menorah has always stood for the symbol of the Jewish Faith and has represented the very core of the Monotheism for the Jews and the Christians alike. But after its disappearance, and for the last two thousand years, people have continued arguing in vain, how the Menorah should have looked like.
And only now, this enigma has finally been solved – the real Menorah looks EXACTLY as it had been depicted at the Triumph Arch in Rome, which, after hot arguments, was decided to be made the symbol of the State of Israel. This event closes the gap of the two thousand years, from the destruct of the Jerusalem Temple and disappearance of the Menorah somewhere in Roman captivity and till the carving of that very Menorah was found in Magdala.