Jean-Jacques Bourassé (1813-1872)

La Terre-Sainte, voyage dans l’Arabie pétrée, la Judée, la Samarie, la Galilée et la Syrie, Tours 1860.

Bourassé was abbot and canon of the Metropolitan Church of Tours and was also a member of the Touraine Archaeological Society. Testimony of his voyage to the Holy Places is provided by his book La Terre-Sainte, written in a non-technical, highly descriptive manner, which describes the deteriorated condition of Capernaum along with various architectural details, as well as the beauty of the surrounding countryside in which the town was located:

“At last we reached the last vestiges of Capernaum [...]. Sections of the wall, several shafts of columns lying on the ground, blocks of trachyte, carved stones and squalid Arab hovels, this is all that remains of that proud city. The site is charming; the waters of the Sea of Galilee gently bathe the debris that covers the shore, and the plumes of green jujube blend in with the dark color of the disordered mass of stones. A 16th-century pilgrim saw two palm trees here; they were dead and the fragile offshoots of their roots were struggling to survive. Here, it seems, the church dedicated to St. Peter was erected, on the site of his mother-in-law’s house: one can see the traces of a work from Crusader times.”