The Golan Heights
Golan Heights is one of the most popular parts of the Holy Land, with scenic treasures and beautiful sites. Golan Heights is located along the northernmost point of Israel’s mountain region. Many people refer to Golan Heights as the “Israeli Texas” because it is so large in size. Other people see Golan Heights as a land filled with plenty of water sources. Many visitors enjoy Golan so much that they return often to view the captivating sites again and again. Some of these wonderful treasures include nature reserves and archeological and historical sites. Visitors can find attractions suited for the whole family.
Golan Heights sits 300 meters above sea level on the southern side and 1,200 meters above sea level in the north. The view becomes gradually spectacular as you climb higher and higher from the plans.
The eastern side of Golan Heights runs along a chain of volcanic hills. The southern and western borders go alongside basalt cliffs. These descend into Lake Kineret, the Yarmuk River and the Jordan Valley Rift.
There are several sites throughout Golan Heights that offer tourists of variety of activities in which they can partake. During the winter, skiers travel to the top of Hermon Mountain to enjoy excellent skiing conditions.
Mount Hermon is the southernmost tip of the anti-Lebanon mountain range and reaches heights up to 9,230 feet tall. The Bible refers to it as Ba’al Hermon, Sirion and Sion. In Scripture, Psalm 133 refers to the mountain as a fruitful place. It also refers to a bounty of water, since the site receives a lot of rain. Mount Hermon typically gets 60 inches of rain per year.
During the summer season, hikers can skim up the stream. In the springtime, the plains are covered in flowers of all colors. Autumn offers the perfect weather for a hike on the trail.
Golan Heights also gives visitors an authentic cowboy experience, complete with a ranch, horses and cattle. Those who don’t connect with the cowboy experience can instead go out to the orchards to pick raspberries, cherries and other seasonal fruit.
Visitors who love birds can see eagles nesting in Gamla and the cliffs of the nature reserve. Burial grounds from more than 4,000 years ago, with a 2,000-year-old Jewish monastery and a Byzatine church from more than 1,500 years ago.
Mount Bental’s summit offers panoramic views of the entire area.
The Meshushim, Zavitan and Sa’ar streams froth and gurgle from waterfalls along the routes in the beautiful canyons.
Odem Forest on the north side of Golan features a deer reserve, where visitors can find a variety of different species. Nearby, visitors can find Rujum al-Hiri, also known as the “Circle of Ghosts.” Rujum al-Hiri is a Megalithic structure dating back about 5,000 years. Researchers believe that Rujum al-Hiri was used as a burial, for ritual purposes or an astronomy observatory.
Israel’s visitors will only find basalt stones in Golan Heights. Basalt stones originally came from volcanic eruptions. Nights are cool all year long in the mountains.
When visitors come to Golan Heights, they can sleep in one of the hundreds of available rural guest houses. They can choose to tour several archeological sites, including ancient Katsrin, Beit Tsida, Banias and Gamla. Unique nature reserves cover the lands. More modern attractions include boutique wineries, a variety of restaurants with delectable food, Druze hospitality in the Druze villages, and more.
Through the years, archeologists have found hundreds of dolmens in the Golan Heights area. Dolmens were used for burial purposes in areas where digging graves were especially difficult. Dolmens were especially popular in the first Early Bronze period and intermediate Bronze periods.
Nimrod’s Fortress can be found in Golan Heights.
In Arabic, Nimrod’s Fortress is known as Subebe. The English name mistakenly associates it with Nimrod, a figure of great strength from ancient times who was mentioned in Genesis 10: 8-9. The castle Nimrod’s Fortress was originally built by the Muslims, but in the 12th century it changed hands several times. In the 13th century, the fortress was strengthened. Most of the remains from this time period are still visible to visitors today. The width of the mountain reaches up to 150 m, and it’s more than 400 m tall. The summit of the mountain rises up to 800 m above sea level. Nimrod’s Fortress is sometimes referred to as the Citadel of the Mosquitoes, due to the fact that the pests swarm and tend to rise up and cover the entire area from time to time.
Golan Heights were under the control of Syria until the year 1967. During the time of the Six Day War, Israel took over. Today, all evidence that Syrians once inhabited the area – including mosques and military bases – sit in ruins throughout Golan Heights. Now, the region is populated by Druze, who have been there since before the war, and Israelis who moved in after the war ended. Syria continues to insist on Golan Heights’ return as a condition of a peace agreement.
Visitors can also find Rogem Hiri about 10 miles east of the Sea of Galilee within Golan Heights. This is an ancient ruin consisting of four concentric circles surrounded by a central cairn. The largest circle is about 150 m across. The walls measure about 3.5 m wide and 2.5 m tall. It was last used no later than in the Late Bronze Age. Historians aren’t sure what exact function for which Rogem Hiri was used. Some historical evidence points to it as the tomb of Og, the giant king of Bashan.
In the Bible, Mount Hermon is known as Ba’al Hermon, Sion or Sirion. Each year, mount Hermon gets about 60 inches of precipitation. In 1992, it received a groundbreaking 100 inches of precipitation. The Transfiguration may have taken place in the slopes of Mount Hermon, because it was noted that Jesus and Jesus’s disciples were in the region of Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi sits on the base of Mount Hermon, so it could well be the mountain to which Jesus took his disciples.
If you enjoyed reading about The Golan Heights you will like the Sea of Galilee as well.