Mount of Transfiguration (Mount Tabor): All You Need to Know

By Alice Bassett
Edited by Romi Hector

Published March 26, 2022.

Mount Tabor with clocktower behind stone walls in the background and marble bust of Pope Paul VI

Mount Tabor, or the Mount of Transfiguration, is one of the many famous mountains of the Bible found in the Israeli Holy Land located in the lower region of Galilee in the Jezreel Valley. It is relatively close to the Sea of Galilee, only 11 miles to the west. The Jezreel Valley — also known as the Valley of Megiddo/Armageddon — is a large flat plain, so the mountain stands tall and proud. In Hebrew, Tabor (תָּבוֹר) translates to mound, which is fitting considering the location of the mountain.

Mount Tabor is a stunning location for some physical activity as there are many hiking trails on offer. It is also an excellent location for religious and spiritual experiences as it carries deep biblical significance for being the site of the transfiguration of Christ.

Let us dive deeper into all there is to know about Mount Tabor.

Why Is Mount Tabor Called the Mount of Transfiguration?

Very simply put, it is called the Mount of Transfiguration as it is the mountain on which the Transfiguration of Christ took place. The story of His transfiguration can be found in the New Testament in the book of Matthew. Jesus took his disciples, Peter, James, and John, to the top of Mount Tabor.

He then began to glow with radiant white light and was transfigured. Before them appeared Elijah and Moses, who talked to Jesus. Afterward, the voice of God came down from the clouds and proclaimed that Jesus was His Son. These were both important moments in the Christian prophecies of the events preceding Christ's ascension to heaven.

The Biblical Significance of the Mount of Transfiguration

The mountain became a site of great significance in the Christian faith. This became known as one of the most significant moments in the life of Jesus Christ, and what is even more powerful is that we are able to visit the actual site.

In the moment of His transfiguration, Jesus is seen as the bridge between Heaven and earth. This moment also signifies Jesus as the Son and voice of God, as God instructs the disciples to listen to Jesus and that Jesus is His Son.

Mount Tabor is also a site of Christian pilgrimage, as there now stands a church atop the mountain—The Church of the Transfiguration—dating back to 4th century AD.

Hiking Mount Tabor

Aside from its biblical significance, Mount Tabor is also known for being a fantastic spot for hiking. Whether you are hiking the mountain for the spiritual benefit or simply for physical activity, there are a few trails to choose from.

There are three main hiking trails.

1. Bedouin Village

The first is about 3 miles long and is the longest hike available. The hike begins at the Bedouin village in Shibli. Here, you can also find a quaint heritage center. It is located inside an older gentleman's home but contains thousands of artifacts.

2. Hike the Summit

The second is a short hike of only 1.5 miles that begins on the summit and follows a nature trail. You can drive up to the summit, as the mountain is not very tall. It is only 1 886 feet. This hike is beginner-friendly.

3. The Israel National Trail

The third hike is a rather interesting one, as it does not take you up or down Mount Tabor, but instead it forms part of a much larger hike. This hike is known as the Israel National Trail, which takes you across the entire country and takes around 55 days on average to complete. While this once-in-a-lifetime experience does not focus on Mount Tabor, it does pass it along the way.

Visiting Mount Tabor

While the Mount of Transfiguration is not the most glamorous mountain in the world, its religious significance is so great that we believe everyone should pay it a visit if it is within their capabilities. Not only is it representative of the bridge between Heaven and earth, but it is also the site where Christ was transfigured in radiant light. There are also a few hiking trails to enjoy, ranging in difficulty and duration.

Mount Tabor has so much to offer and is definitely a must-see!