Located 1.6km (1 mile) south of Tiberias, these thermal baths have been famous for their curative powers for more than 3,000 years. They are probably among the earliest-known thermal baths in the world, noted by Josephus, Pliny, church historians, and many Arabic writers. Some biblical commentators have surmised that Jesus cured the sick here. There’s a local legend that Solomon got demons to heal his kingdom’s ailing people at this site, tricking them into perpetually stoking the fires in the earth below to heat up the water.
The hot springs contain high amounts of sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, and calcium salts, and over the centuries they’ve reportedly cured skin problems and such ailments as rheumatism, arthritis, and gynecological disorders. They continue to have a following: Pharmacies across Israel keep supplies of mineral salts from these springs.
For those who want to try them in person, several treatments are available, including mineral bubble bath, physiotherapy, therapeutic massage, inhalation, and mud baths,. The older Hot Springs building is segregated by sex; the newer building is a bit more spiffy. Note: Bring a bathing suit and towel. There’s an inexpensive restaurant on site.
To gain a better understanding of the waters, check out the museum next to the springs. While visiting the springs, you can also spend some time exploring the ancient ruins of Hammat.
- Frommer's Staff