MOUNT ARBEL - A STUNNING VIEW OVER GALILEE AND THE GOLAN
Mount Arbel Reserve is located in the Lower Galilee near Moshav Arbel. From the powerful mountain cliff, there is a view of the Sea of Galilee and on days of good visibility, you can also see Mount Hermon.
Anyone who has toured Mount Arbel can surely attest to how strong the intensity of nature is felt from the edge of the cliff.
Two impressive and beautiful historical points are located next to each other, above the Sea of Galilee. first, a huge and decisive battle took place inside the crater of a volcano between the Crusaders and Saladin's army. second, the heart of the revolt against Herods took place on a spectacular cliff. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how many fought each other in places where the landscape forgets almost everything else
BATTLE OF HATTIE ON MOUNT ARBEL
The name of this extinct volcano comes from two peaks that look like horns. It is worth trying to locate its crater and be impressed by the view from it - the Galilee, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, and Gilad. In the surrounding fields, one of the decisive battles for the Crusader kingdom on the island took place on July 4, 1187, between the Crusader army and the army of Saladin.
The Crusader army came from the west, from Zipporis, with its fighters all clad in the best European equipment - heavy iron armor. In the terrible heat, that day prevailed the Crusader warriors could hardly breathe inside this shell and their horses barely moved. In contrast, the Muslim army came from the east, from a plant area, dressed according to the weather conditions - light and easy-to-move clothes. In the battle that took place there, the Crusaders, who were not at all prepared for the conditions of the terrain and the weather, suffered a victorious defeat and most of them tried to reach the top of the mountain and there surrendered before the fighters of Saladin. This was the end of the Crusader kingdom after almost 200 years.
At the top of the Arbel Mountain, there are remnants of the settlement of ancient man. Right now, the eastern hyacinth and the yellow rattlesnake, which is considered a rare plant in the area, are blooming in its head.
TOMB OF PROPHET SHUAIB
Nabi Shuaib is the Druze name of Jethro Moses' nephew. According to medieval tradition, he is buried in the village of Hittin (Hatya) mentioned in the Talmud. According to the same tradition, Jethro was the first foreigner to join the people of Israel. Stories about Jethro, his wisdom, and his closeness to religion also appear in the Qur'an, and in fact, he is considered a saint in Judaism, Islam, and among the Druze, among whom he is considered the greatest of the prophets. The right to maintain the place was granted to the Druze during the days of Israel's second president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, and since then the Allenby (Prophet) Shuaib holiday has been celebrated every year on April 24-27. As you can see in the picture, the structure itself is impressive.
THE SETTLEMENT OF ARBEL IN BIBLICAL TIMES
The settlement of Arbel is one of the oldest in the land of Israel, and it is first mentioned in the Bible: "Like a robber of the house of Arbel on a day of war" (Book of Hoshea, 10:14). During the Second Temple period, Arbel was one of the settlements that rebelled against the Greeks: During the rebellion against Herod, when he came to power in 40 BC, Jewish rebels were fortified on the cliff, and hence fought against Herod's army (Antiquities, 17:16, 16) The Jewish Wars, I, 17). Right after The destruction of the Jewish Temple, the family of Jesus moved to the settlement, one of the families of the priests. Today Arbel is a moshav, whose inhabitants make a living from agriculture and tourism.
MOUNT ARBEL SYNAGOGUE
It is recommended to look for the ancient synagogue located on the northern edge of the settlement, on the edge of the cliff that descends to the Arbel River. Arbel Synagogue was built around the third century AD. The building of the synagogue was a basilica (a nave and two citadels), it was two stories high and stood about 15 meters high. The entrance to the synagogue was from the east and its opening was hewn entirely of one stone. The floor of the synagogue was built of mosaic. Today the site has been destroyed and abandoned.
MOUNT ARBEL OBSERVATION POINT
At this point at the top of Mount Arbel, the second route begins for those who have chosen to split the route. Arbel is one of the most beautiful mountains in Israel. It combines a sharp cliff that rises 400 meters above the Sea of Galilee (about two hundred meters above sea level), with hiding caves and a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. We will focus on the observation to the north and view the Ginosar Valley, the north of the Sea of Galilee, the Meron and Safed mountains, the Golan Heights, and Mount Hermon.
On June 18, 2002, Sergeant Roi Dror, who served as a fighter in the Israeli combat unit, was killed near this point during training. His family and friends erected a new lookout in his memory, from which a new path descends toward the parking lot of the Labor Battalion (named after Joseph Trumpeldor), on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
For hikers in this area, the option to walk the new trail or continue with the red trail that exits the carob observation, and descends to the bottom of the cliff, as it passes through the Arbel Fortress. Here I recommend the red trail, which passes through this unique fortress. During the descent, use the pegs stuck in the rock, and the cables stretched along the rocks. The walk will be accompanied, depending on the season, caramel, cyclamen, hyacinth, and colorful. After the descent, we will continue on the red trail heading east to the fort.
THE ARBEL FORTRESS
There are many caves on the Arbel cliff, some natural and some carved by man over the years. During the Second Temple period, some of the caves were converted into fortifications, link tunnels were hewn, passages were built and defensive walls were built. Some of the caves were plastered and converted into water reservoirs. The fortress was built on three levels. The combination of the natural caves on the cliff, with the addition of construction and a link between the caves, actually created a strong fortress hewn in the cliff, whose access roads are limited and controllable by the fortified people.
The famous battle for the conquest of the fort was between Herod's army and the zealots who fortified the fort. Herod's army tried to conquer the fortress in several ways. The last of them, which was successful, is described in Josephus Flavius' book The Jewish Wars. According to his story, Herod ordered his soldiers to be chained from the top of the cliff to the entrance of the fortress in baskets tied with ropes. The fortress is part of the remains of the fortress built by Ali a-Din in the 17th century. This fortress sits on the remains of the ancient fortress.
Touring Galilee is one of the best decisions to do in Israel, the region has so much to offer when it comes to history and landscape. Touring Mount Arbel will take you back to the famous battles and stories of the region and provide you a breathtaking view towards the Sea of Galilee, so what are you waiting for? call me today and book your tour to Galilee with a licensed tour guide.