The Arab village of Kafr Cana in the Lower Galilee is identified in Christian tradition as Cana of the Galilee. Here, according to tradition, Jesus performed the miracle of the wine, when he went to a wedding of a poor couple and turned water into wine.
In the 17th century Kafr Cana was officially recognized by the Vatican, and the pope officially confirmed that Kafr Cana is indeed Cana of the Galilee. Following this recognition the village was added to the list of Christian holy places. Some researchers identify Kafr Cana with the Kana mentioned in the ancient Egyptian Amarna letters (from about 4,000 years ago).
One way or the other, in the Roman-Byzantine period (1,000-2,000 years ago), there was a large Jewish community here, but apparently by the Mameluke period (about 800 years ago) most of the residents of Kafr Cana were Christian, although there was still a Jewish community here, too. Today most of the residents of Kafr Cana are Muslim.
In the center of the village are a few remains of ancient buildings and burial caves. The villagers have built new houses to the southeast and northeast of the ancient village. The most important site in the village is the Catholic Church, built in 1879, on the traditional site of the miracle of the wine. Beside this church is the Greek Orthodox church of St. George, built in 1886, which house two stone jars that Greek Orthodox followers believe are the jars in which Jesus performed the miracle of the wine.
There is also a church named after St. Bartholomew, built, according to tradition, on the site of the home of Nathaniel of Cana (St. Bartholomew), one of Jesus’ disciples.
Some 200,000 tourists visit Kafr Cana annually. Inspired by the miracle of the wine, a tradition has developed of holding weddings here, as well as renewing wedding vows to strengthen a marriage, and visitors customarily buy wine here. The street of the churches, in the center of the village, has been renovated and a promenade has been built, connecting the religious centers. Small plazas have been built along the promenade, with rest spots, and the facades and courtyards of the buildings have been attractively refinished. Infrastructure has been laid alongside the promenade for commercial and hotel facilities, so that visitors will be able to combine the comforts of modern tourism with their religious experience.