Père Michel Nau (1633-1683)

Voyage nouveau de la Terra-Sainte, 1668

Michel Nau, a Jesuit priest born in 1633 in Tours, undertook a long voyage to the Holy Land during which he visited Galilee in 1665 and the remainder of Palestine in 1674. In Voyage nouveau de la Terre-Sainte he gives an account of his pilgrimage and describes his passage through the ancient village of Capernaum, which he correctly identifies with Tell Hum, providing an accurate description of the ruins:

“We continued to walk with the desire to discover where Capernaum could have been, when, at last arriving to the shore of the Sea of Galilee, in a Khan called Minieh, we encountered some Arabs who aided us, and who informed us that we had descended too far, and that we had passed it on our left three-quarters of a league back. The heavy rain that was falling didn’t prevent us from carrying on: we continued on a long path, carved out of the rock with picks, and then passed through fertile clay lands. We had difficulty in recognizing the site of this unfortunate town, so great were the ruins. Everything had been destroyed. There are a few pieces of overturned columns, and some well-worked friezes and capitals. The layout of a church that was there can still plainly be seen. Everything was well marked out, and the base of the columns that formed the principal nave, with its aisles to one side and the other, were clearly apparent. For the rest, you only see stones, apart from a vault and some sort of square building, which are still more or less intact. [...]
“Capernaum today is called Tell Hum, and it is not situated at the place where the Jordan River begins to form the Sea of Galilee, as all of the maps I have seen show it, but is a good league lower towards the west.”