Cana of Galilee   

Cana (modern name Kafr Kanna; also known as Khirbet Cana) is a Galilean town five miles northeast of Nazareth. Its population of 8,500 includes both Muslims and Christians.
Long revered as the site of Jesus' first miracle or turning water into wine at a wedding, Kafr Kanna has good historical support for its authenticity as ancient Cana.

Approaching the thriving town of Kafr Kanna, traditional site of biblical Cana on the road from Nazareth to Tiberias

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine.""Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."


Panoramic kota Kafr Kanna

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 to 30 gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."


Arab Muslim wedding celebration at Kfar Kana, traditional site of biblical Cana

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

Twin towers of the Franciscan church at Kafr Kana, modeled after the cathedral in Salzburg, Austria, and consecrated in 1881

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (John 2:1-11)
As with many biblical sites, the location of the Cana that Jesus visited is disputed and not known for certain. Kafr Kanna is the most traditional site and has the following factors in favor of its authenticity: Kafr Kanna is located on the main road between two important cities in the region (Sepphoris and Tiberias) and is not far from Nazareth.


Interior of Franciscan Church, with crypt entrance at the base of the steps


Altar Franciscan Church in Cana

The ruins on this site indicate the presence of a town in the time of Jesus (they span the Persian to Byzantine periods)
The site has no running spring water, so in ancient times water would have had to be brought from cisterns or from the valley below, and stored in stone jars such as those mentioned in the miracle story.
Christian pilgrims have revered this site as the place of Jesus' first miracle from an early date. Ancient graffiti can be seen on one of the grottoes.
However, recent excavations on a hill just north of Nazareth have uncovered ruins of a Jewish village from the 1st century AD. The excavators think the biblical Cana could be there instead of at this site 1 km to the east.

Crypt of the Franciscan church at Kafr Kana, with ritually pure stone jar

History records that a church was built in Cana by Empress Helena (mother of Constantine) in the 4th century, and this was identified with the remains of a large building found by travellers to Kafr Kanna in the 17th century.
Recent excavations have uncovered ruins of houses from the 1st-4th centuries AD, of a 5th-century atrium with portico, a Christian funerary building from the 5th or 6th century, and a medieval building.
The land at Kafr Kanna was sold by the lord of Sidon to the Knights Hospitallers in 1254. The Franciscans became established here in 1641 and began building the present church over an older church in 1879. It was consecrated in 1883.

Also commemorating the miracle at Cana is a Greek Orthodox Church, built in 1885

The Franciscan Wedding Church at Cana is small and fronted by a courtyard. The facade has angel figures and is flanked by two bell towers and over an arcaded narthex.
Inside, the church has two levels. The upper church has a chapel surmounted by a simple dome. In the nave just before the stairs is a fragment of a Byzantine mosaic dating from the 5th or 6th century and preserves the name of the donor in Aramaic: "In memory of the pious Joseph, son of Tanhum, son of Bota and of his children who made this table, may it be for them a blessing, Amen."
The lower church has a chapel and a small museum with artifacts from the site, including a winepress, a plastered cistern and vessels of various dates. One old jar is said to be one of the six jars used for the miracle.
Opposite the Franciscan church is a Greek Orthodox church, which is usually closed. Two 13th-century capitals are displayed near it.


Souvenirs of Cana for sale

The ruins of ancient Cana are on top of a small rounded hill rising 60m above the plain. They can be seen on the eastern slope (Byzantine and early Arabic), around the top slopes, and on the peak (mostly Greek and Roman).
The local shop in Kafr Kanna sells "wedding wine" and related souvenirs.
The small village of Kafr Kanna is located in Lower Galilee, 7 km northeast of Nazareth on Highway 154. To visit the church, park on the side of the highway and walk down the narrow village street to the Franciscan church on the right.
The ruins of the ancient village are atop a small hill and accessible only on foot or by SUV. The hike is strenuous, but rewarded with sweeping views and old ruins. The hill can be climbed from any direction.

Names: Cana; Cana of Galilee; Khirbet Cana (="ruins of Cana"); Kafr Kanna; Franciscan Wedding Church; Cana Catholic Wedding Church
Type of site: Biblical site, Footsteps of Jesus, Christian monastery
Dates: Franciscan church: 1881
Location: 9 km north of Sepphoris and 14 km north of Nazareth in the Galilee region, northern Israel.
Hours: Franciscan church: Mon-Sat 8am-noon and 2-6pm (5pm in winter); closed Sunday










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