Tag Archives: ancient history

Samaritan Museum in Kiryat Luza – Samaritan museum on Har Gerizim

The Samaritan museum in Kiryat Luza is run by the Samaritan priest, Yefet ben Asher. The museum displays show a Samaritan Torah scroll, Samaritan matza (unleavened bread for the feast of Passover), a succah, and various other artifacts which represent their culture and religion.

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Mount Gerizim National Park – Har Grizim Archaeological Site

When the Israelites entered the land, after the exodus from Egypt, Joshua led them here for the ceremony of the blessing and the curse (Deuteronomy 11:29). Mount Gerizim was the mountain of the blessing; from the site, you can see Mount Ebal, the mountain of the curse, on the other side of the city of Shechem (Nablus).

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Naburiya synagogue in Biriya Forest – Navoriya ancient synagogue in the Galilee

The town of Naburiya, also known as Nevoraya, was occupied during the first and second temple periods. It was then abandoned for about 200 years before it was resettled by Jews. The village was mentioned in the Talmud. The ancient synagogue dates to the Roman period, sometime between the 2nd and 4th c CE, and was used until the 7th c CE.

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Ancient and Modern Hammat Gader – Ancient Roman Bathhouse and hot springs

Ancient Hammat Gader

Ancient Hammat Gader was a bathhouse located on natural thermal mineral hot springs. Five springs fed the ancient bathhouse, which was the second most luxurious bathhouse in the 4th century Roman Empire.

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Timna Copper Mines – Ancient Smelting furnaces and Storage Rooms

The Timna Copper Mines are located just outside of the city of Eilat. The copper mines date back to the Egyptian Ramsesside period (13-12 centuries BCE). Inside Timna park, storage rooms and tool production areas were found. Crushed ore and crushing tools were found at the site. Mud for lining the oven and bellows was prepared here. A workshop for pouring copper for producing tools was found. An oven was found, and a slag ditch for disposal of the leftovers from the smelting can be seen. A shrine for the ancient copper workers to give offerings to their deities is also at this site.

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Family Hike in Timna National Park – Arches and Plates near Eilat

The hike begins on the green trail, which begins just before the arches parking lot. The hike leads through a narrow canyon before climbing up into the hills. On the hilltops, there are many “plates”. These round depressions were once the shafts into the ancient mines, which have since been filled up.

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Deir Qureh village at Gamla – Ancient Chrisian village at Gamla national park in the Golan

Deir Qureh is the runis of an old Christian village from the 4th-5th centuries CE. In the 6th century, a church and monastery were added. The village was abandoned  in the 7th century. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the village was populated again, and a Syrian village was built here in the 20th century.

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Ancient city of Gamla – Gamla National Park in the Golan

The ancient city of Gamla is located in the Golan, in the Gamla national park. Gamla was a Jewish city from the 2nd century BCE, and the first city to fight against the Romans in the Jewish Revolt against Rome (66-73 CE). Sometimes referred to as the Masada of the north, the city was conquered and destroyed in 67 CE.

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Tomb of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai – Grave of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai in Tiberias

Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai lived in the first century CE. He was one of the tannaim, a Jewish sage during the time of the second temple and a leader of the Jews after its destruction. He was a major contributor to the Mishnah. His grave is located next to the grave of the Rambam in Tiberias.

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Choni Ha’Maagel’s tomb in the Galilee – Cave of Honi HaMaagel in Hatzor HaGlilit

Choni HaMaagel, the circle maker, lived in the first century BCE. He was known for his prayers for rain. The story told in the Talmud is that when it did not rain, the Jews would come to him for help. On one occasion, he drew a circle and stood inside it; he prayed for rain until it came, refusing to leave the circle until God answered his prayers.

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Kever Dan ben Yaakov – burial site of Dan son of Jacob – Dan’s tomb

When Joseph’s bones were brought to Israel with the Jewish people, his brothers were buried in Israel as well. Kever Dan ben Yaakov (קבר דן בן יעקב) is located just outside of Bet Shemesh; as usual, with an ancient burial site, there is some doubt as to the veracity of this being his burial site.

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Metsad Abirim in the Galilee – Fort of Knights in the Abirim nature reserve

Metsad Abirim, the “fort of knights”, is the remains of a Crusader building in the Galilee. The building was made of large stones with a border around the edges; it was probably a fort or fortified farmhouse. The site is known as the Fort of Knights because the inhabitants were probably knights.

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Qumran National Park – Qumran Settlement and the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Qumran National Park includes the settlement of Qumran and the caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Over 900 scrolls dating from the second temple period were found in eleven caves. The scrolls sparked interest in the inhabitants of the community of Qumran and their lifestyle; much information about this was found in the scrolls.

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Madras ruins in Park Adulam – Hirbet Madras near Beit Shemesh – Churvat Madras in Park Adulam

Hirbet Madras, known as Churvat Madras in Hebrew, is the remains of an agricultural village located in Park Adulam.  The Hirbet Madras ruins include houses, burial caves, hiding caves, a columbarium cave, and a burial pyramid.

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Tel Megiddo National Park in Galilee – Armageddon in the Galilee

Megiddo National Park is a tel in the Galilee in Northern Israel, with 26 layers of ruins. Tel Megiddo was the site of many important battles in the past, and is the site known as Derech HaYam, or “The Way of the Sea” in the Torah, and Armageddon in the New Testament. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Ancient Burnt House in Jerusalem – Katres House in Jerusalem

The burnt house, also known as Katres House, is the excavated remains of a house in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem which was destroyed at the time of the destruction of the second temple. The house is believed to have been owned by a priestly family.

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Tel Azeka in the Valley of Elah – David and Goliath’s battle in the Valley of Elah

Azeka was a biblical town in the heights above the Valley of Elah, in the region given to the tribe of Judah. David fought and conquered the Philistine Goliath in the Valley of Elah. Tel Azeka is located in Park Britannia; from the tel you can see the Valley of Elah where the famous battle took place.

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Caesarea National Park – Herod’s port city of Caesarea Maritima

Caesarea National Park is located on the Mediterranean Coast in the lower Galilee. Although the city was first built in the third century BCE, its popularity and importance grew when Herod extended the city. The park contains remains from many of the cities built on the site, particularly from the Herodian and Crusader periods.

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Yarkon National Park – Tel Afek, Antipatris, and the Yarkon River

The Yarkon National Park in located in Rosh Ha’ayin. The park includes Tel Afek and the sources of the Yarkon River. Tel Afek, also known as Antipatris, has an Ottoman fortress. The Yarkon River springs have a variety of flora and fauna.

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Gamla Nature Reserve – Griffon Vultures in nature and ancient city of Gamla

The Gamla nature reserve has Griffon Vultures, the highest waterfall in Israel, and the ancient city of Gamla. The trails in the reserve range from wheelchair accessible to moderately difficult due to steep climbs.

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Tel Be’er Sheva National Park – Remains of biblical Beersheba

Tel Be’er Sheva is the remains of the biblical town of Beer Sheva. It is located to the east of the modern city of Beer Sheva. The town of Beer Sheva is mentioned in Genesis when Abimelech and Abraham swear an oath beside a well; this story about Abraham’s well gave the town its name.

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Abraham’s Well in Be’er Sheva – ancient well and information center in Beersheba

Abraham’s Well is a visitors’ center dedicated to Abraham, who lived in Beersheba, and the biblical connection to the city. The story in Genesis 21 tells of a well which Abraham dug and Abimelech’s servants seized. Abraham gave seven ewe lambs to Abimelech as witness that he dug the well himself. Abimelech accepted the lambs and the two men swore an oath in the place, named Be’er Sheva.

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Templar Tunnel in Acco – Tunnel from Templar Fortress to the Acre Port

The Templar Knights built a fortress in Acco in the 12th century CE, after the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin. The fortress was built on the southwest corner of the city, so the Knights built a 350 meter long tunnel connecting the fortress to the port on the southeast side of the city.

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Hike to Monfort Castle from Park Goren – Monfort Fortress in Galilee

Monfort Castle is the ruins of a 13th century Crusader fortress in the Upper Galilee in Israel. The fortress is located in the Nahal Kziv nature reserve. The ruins of the fortress, perched majestically on a cliff above the Kziv river, are a popular tourist site.

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Herodian Quarter – Herodian archaeological museum – Wohl Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem

The Herodian Quarter, which is the largest roofed archaeological site in Israel, encompasses over 2700 square meters and the remains of 6-7 large houses from the second temple period. When the Jewish quarter was rebuilt from 1969-1982, the remains of second temple period homes were found at the site of the Yeshivat HaKotel building. Photographs of the excavations can be seen in the museum.

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Masada National Park – Masada Fortress – King Herod’s Fortress in the Desert

Masada is an ancient fortress on the top of a flat mountain in the Judean desert near the Dead Sea. Palaces were built atop the fortress by King Herod. Later, after the destruction of the second temple, the fortress was used by Zealots who chose death at their own hands rather than at the hands of the Romans.

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Jewish Quarter walking tour – Walking tour from the Jaffa Gate to the Western Wall

The Jewish Quarter was rebuilt after the six day war. Reconstruction of the Jewish Quarter took place from 1969-1985, at the end of which 600 Jewish families were housed there; the reconstruction included excavations and archeological digs, as well as building modern homes and institutions. This tour winds through the Northern part of the Jewish Quarter, taking you through the ancient sites and new buildings.

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Old City of Jaffa – Jaffa walking tour – Jaffa galleries

Jaffa, known as Yafo in Hebrew, is an ancient city with a natural harbor which was used as early as the bronze age. The city was ruled by many ancient peoples, including the Egyptians, Caananites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans. In the middle ages, it was ruled by the Arabs and the Crusaders.

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King Solomon’s Quarries – quarries in Jerusalem cave – Zedekiah’s Cave

Zedekiah’s cave, called Ma’arat Tzedekiyahu in Hebrew, is one of the largest caves in Israel. The cave is about 220 meters long, and lies under the Moslem quarter. The cave was blocked in the 11th century, and only rediscovered in 1854, when an American missionary discovered it by chance. The entrance to the cave is through the park by the Damascus Gate.

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Yehiam Fortress National Park – Yehiam crusader fortress protects settlers in 1948

Yehiam Fortress (Mivtzar Yechiam, in Hebrew) National Park is a Crusader fortress in the Galilee. The fortress was destroyed by the Baybars in 1265. The settlers of Kibbutz Yehiam used the fortress walls as protection during the Israeli war of independence.

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Jerusalem Archaeological Park – Davidson Center in Jerusalem’s old city

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park includes the southern section of the western wall as well as the southern retaining wall of the temple mount, in addition to the excavations alongside these walls. The Davidson Center, located in an ancient Umayyad palace, has a museum which provides additional information, displays, and context for the archaeological garden.

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National Maritime Museum of Haifa – Maritime history of the Mediterranean Sea

The National Maritime Museum in Haifa is dedicated to the history of the Mediterranean Sea and the ports on the sea. It opened in 1953, with the collection of the museum’s founder Aryeh Ben-Eli. The museum has permanent and temporary exhibits related to 5000 years of seafaring on the Mediterranean.

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Masada Museum by the Dead Sea – Museum honors Yigal Yadin

The Masada Museum was built in 2007; the museum was built in memory of Professor Yigael Yadin, who excavated the site from 1963-1965. The museum is a theatrical setting with archaeological artifacts displayed alongside sculptured figures set in the times; explanations and historical stories are provided by individual audio guides.

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Bar’am National Park – Baram Forest in the Galilee – Ancient Synagogue in the Galil

Bar’am was an ancient Jewish town during the time of the Mishna. It was a wealthy town, since it had two synagogues. The larger synagogue, dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century, is a beautiful synagogue. Little remains of the smaller synagogue. Remains from the original town can also be seen.

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Ariel Center of the History of the First Temple Period – museum of first temple period in Jerusalem

The Ariel Center for the History of the First Temple Period has three exhibits.

The first illustrates life in the first temple period. It shows the development the Hebrew characters and writing. This exhibit contains ancient inscriptions from the 7th and 8th centuries BCE. It also shows copies of archaeological findings, such as a plaque engraved with the Priestly blessing, as well as models of a burial cave.

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