Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Lost City Of Magdala Discovered in Galilee

The remains of the lost city of Magdala has been discovered less than five feet from the surface during a Hotel salvage dig

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: May 16th, 2014 in News » Israel

Lost City Of Magdala Discovered in Galilee

Father Juan M. Solana never thought that in his quest to build a spiritual resort for pilgrims in Galilee would unearth the lost city of Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene, but that seems to be the case.

In 2004, Father Solana, who runs the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame Of Jerusalem Center, which has housed Christian pilgrims for more than a hundred years, sought to build another center only this time in Galilee, which is believed to be the home of Jesus’s ministry.

In 2009, after a lengthy battle, Father Solana was finally granted the permits to build his hotel where part of a former Hawaii beach resort stood. He intended to build a lodging big enough to accommodate 300 guests, a restaurant and a spiritual center for those who stayed at the hotel. As a requirement they began their salvage dig, expecting it to come up empty and for construction to begin soon after.

Less than five feet below the surface of the 20 acres of property they began to find signs that the hotel was being built on something more than the remains of an old Hawaii resort. According to the New York Times, diggers first noticed they’d stumbled onto something big after unearthing what appeared to be a stone bench from a synagogue. Archaeologists later determined that this bench was from the first century. Other discoveries, such as mosaic floors and a coin from the year 29, has made this dig less of a salvage and more of a historical moment.

But don’t worry weary travelers, the hotel is still going up. While the designs for the layout of the grounds has been changed significantly so as not to disturb the city of Magdala, Father Solana still has every intention of erecting the hotel in Galilee. He even claims, in a report by Tablet, that the Pope, who will be visiting Israel at the end of this month, will be blessing the hotel’s new altar. Although don’t get your hopes up of seeing the Pope in Galilee, the altar will be brought to his location in Jerusalem.

While construction is still underway for the Magdala Center, aptly named, it will be a long time until the finished product. With less than one third of the $100 million needed to finish the project, Father Solana is counting on generous donations and volunteers to see the project finished.

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