Golan

 

The earliest signs of habitation in the Golan are the dolmens. These massive stone table-like structures are believed to be the remains of ancient burial sites dating back more than 6000 years.

One of the most poignant stories regarding the revolt against Rome is the story of Gamla. The battle is best described by Josephus who was the former commander of the region: "Sloping down from a towering peak is a spur like a long jagged neck... On the face and both sides it is cut off by impossible ravines... Built against the almost vertical flank the houses were piled on top of one another and the town seemed to be hung in air... It faced south and its crest served as a citadel resting on an unwalled precipice that went straight down into the deepest ravine."

Nimrod's Fortress (Ka'alat Nimrod) - remains of a Crusader fortress  perched at the edge of the Hermon range, overlooking the ancient city of Dan. It is reported to have originally been built by Nimrod the grandson of Ham.

The Golan, as evidenced by the over 100 archaeological sites found and studied since 1967, began to really flourish in the Talumudic era just as the rest of the country was in decline. Throughout the Golan synagogues were built, in Hamat Gader, Aphek, Dabura, Katzrin, Kanaf, Sogane (Yehudiya), Kfar Harub, Nob, Susita etc. The Golan is rarely mentioned in the Talmud and it is possible that many of the communities were founded only in the 4th Century.

Pictured here is Katzrin - a Talmudic city in Central Golan. It is most famous for  its large synagogue made of basalt stone. It features a releif of a menorah and one of a peacock. Many buildings in this once thriving city have been restored.

 

Birkat Ram - The largest crater lake in Israel. It is fed by  underground springs and lies just beneath the Hermon mountains. The Talmud tells us (Sanhedrin 108a) of great underground springs which opened during the Flood. Later all but three were sealed up. The three were Hammat Gader (Hamat Gader of today) near the Yarmuk, The Tiberias hot springs and the spring of Beit Ram, known today as Birkat Ram.

The Hermon area is mentioned in the Bible in the context of the land that was conquered by the Israelites from the Amorite kings: Land stretching from "the Arnon River unto Mt. Hermon" (Deut. 3:8).

 


 

 

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23 Jul 2007 / 8 Av 5767 0