Tag Archives: archaeology

Mazor Roman Mausoleum – Mazor National Park

This well preserved Roman mausoleum was a family burial vault used in the 4th century. The building has a temple-like façade. Inside are the remains of two sarcophagi. The entrance would have been sealed with a stone door at the time of usage as a burial chamber.

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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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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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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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Shmuel HaNavi’s tomb in Israel – Samuel the Prophets tomb at Nabi Samuel

The grave of Shmuel HaNavi, known in Arabic as Nabi Samuel, is located just north of Jerusalem. While some question whether this is really the grave site of Samuel the prophet, Jewish tradition dating back to the middle ages holds that this is his tomb.

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Israel Museum – Dead Sea scrolls, art, and archaeology in the Israel Museum

The Israel Museum, located in Jerusalem, was founded in 1965 as the national museum. The museum has collections of art, archaeology, and Judaica. The museum has a youth wing, a display of Jerusalem during the second temple period, and a display of the Dead Sea scrolls.

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Belvoir National Park and Crusader Fortress – Kochav HaYarden National Park

Belvoir National Park, known as Kochav HaYarden, is located on the hills above the Jordan Valley. The Crusader fortress, built in the 12th century by the Order of the Hospitallers, is the most complete Crusader fortress in Israel. Aside from the remains of the castle, the site has a stunning view and a nice sculpture garden portraying the works of Israeli artist Yigal Tumarkin.

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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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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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Dan Nature Reserve in the Galilee – Tel Dan excavations

The Dan River, which runs through the Dan Nature Reserve in the Upper Galilee (Galil in Hebrew), is the largest tributary to the Jordan River. The river contributes about 240 million cubic meters of water to the Jordan River – about the same as contributed by the other tributaries combined.

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German Hospice – St. Mary’s crusader hospice – Crusader Church

The Crusader Church was first built during the 12th century when Jerusalem was under Crusader rule. The hospice was run by the Teutonic Church and the Order of the Teutonic Knights. The hospice was known as St Mary’s of the German Knights, and was used to care for the sick crusaders who arrived in Jerusalem.

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Einot Tzukim Nature Reserve – Enot Tsukim Spring – Ein Feshkha Spring

The Einot Tzukim Nature  Reserve is the lowest nature reserve in the world. It consists of three parts, the closed reserve on the north, the open reserve in the middle, and the hidden reserve on the South. The closed reserve is completely closed off to visitors, to protect the native fauna and flora of the area. The middle area includes pools of mineral water for bathing in, lined by high shady foliage. The hidden reserve can be entered only with a guide; Guided tours are generally available on weekends, but can be arranged at any time.

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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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Gan HaTekuma in the Jewish Quarter – Excavations in Gan HaTekuma

Gan HaTekuma is a park inside the Jewish Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem. Excavations in the park have uncovered remains of three different buildings. The park is located between the Zion Gate and Dung Gate, opposite the main parking lot in the Jewish Quarter.

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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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