Capernaum ( Hebrew= “Kfar Nahum”, "Nahum`s village") was a settlement on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The site is a ruin today, but was inhabited from 150 BC to about AD 750. The town is mentioned in the New Testament: in the Gospel of Luke it was reported to have been the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew.
In Matthew 4:13 the town was reported to have been the home of Jesus. According to Luke 4:31-44, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum on the sabbath days. In Capernaum also, Jesus allegedly healed a man who had the spirit of an unclean devil and healed a fever in Simon Peter`s mother-in-law. According to Matthew 8:5-13, it is also the place where a Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant. A building which may have been a synagogue of that period has been found beneath the remains of a later synagogue.
Capernaum is situated on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee near one of the main highways connecting Galilee with Damascus.
The layout of the town was quite regular. On both sides of an ample north-south main street arose small districts bordered by small cross-sectional streets and no-exit side-streets. The walls were constructed with coarse basalt blocks and reinforced with stone and mud, but the stones (except for the thresholds) were not dressed and mortar was not used.
The most extensive part of the typical house was the courtyard, where there was a circular furnace made of refractory earth, as well as grain mills and a set of stone stairs that led to the roof. The floors of the houses were cobbled. Around the open courtyard, modest cells were arranged which received light through a series of openings or low windows (Loffreda, 1984).
Given the coarse construction of the walls, there was no second story to a typical home, and the roof would have been constructed of light wooden beams and thatch mixed with mud. This, along with the discovery of the stairs to the roof, recalls the biblical story of the Healing of the Paralytic: "And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay." (Mark 2:4) With the type of construction seen in Capernaum, it would not have been difficult to raise the ceiling by the courtyard stairs and to remove a part to allow the bed to be brought down to where Jesus stood.