Photo by David Harris

An elaborate arched portal greets visitors to Hammat-Gader, near the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The once-sumptuous baths at the site made this the most important spa in the ancient Holy Land and one of the largest baths in the entire Roman world. Frequented by emperors and rabbis alike, the installation was a mainstay of classical medicine as well as a cultural center. Hammat-Gader is still a functioning spa that can be visited today. Author Estee Dvorjetski, in the accompanying article, describes how health and religion—and other things—were combined at the great spas of Roman Palestine.