Arbel, Tiberus, Hazor, Nazareth, Jezreel Valley, Tel Jezreel, Bet Shean, Qumran, En Gedi (Photo Summary for the past week, last Tuesday – this Wednesday)

We have been covering a lot of ground over the past week, mostly in northern Israel, but some in the south as well.

Here are some photo highlights.

Mt. Arbel, in Northern Israel-
This is one of the interesting features on the northwestern shores of the Sea of Galilee.  It pairs with Mt. Nitia to form a pass which has been used over the ages to pass from areas west of Galilee (such as Nazareth) to the sea and locations north of the sea, such as Capernaum.  The first photo is from the top of Arbel, looking down on the Sea of Galilee and the second photo looks from Arbel across the pass to Mt. Nitia.  You can see the trail going around Arbel disappearing around the side of the mountain where the cliff drops off to the pass in the valley floor.

From Mt. Arbel, overlooking the Sea of Galilee

From Mt. Arbel, overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Looking from Mt. Arbel across the pass to Mt. Natia

Looking from Mt. Arbel across the pass to Mt. Nitia

Tiberias Mosque, in the city of Tiberius on the west central shores of the Sea of Galilee –
While not ancient, this beautiful old Mosque stands tucked away in one of the shopping centers of Tiberias, one block from the sea-front promenade.  It is the Al-Amari mosque, built in the 1730s. Tradition holds that its construction was funded by the local Jewish population, who was thankful for the sheik’s protection.  Had we not stumbled through a corridor looking for a shortcut, we would have never known it was there.

Al-Amari mosque, in Tiberias.

Al-Amari mosque, in Tiberias.

Tel Hazor, ancient mound north of the Galilee region-
This tel is packed with many good layers of ancient history and is mentioned numerous times in Old Testament accounts.  This first photo is of current excavations going on there.  Wish the excavation crew had been there so we could ask them about the walls in the photo (we were there in the afternoon, while most dig sites are active in the morning).  The second photo is looking out of the Solomonic gates at Hazor.  These gates date to the 10th century B.C. and are similar to those found at Megiddo and Gezer.

Excavations at Hazor

Excavations at Hazor

Solomonic Gates at Hazor

Solomonic Gates at Hazor

Nazareth, Central Northern Israel, on the northern edge of the Jezreel valley-
We briefly popped into the city of Nazareth.  Most people visit Nazareth and its large churches built over “Holy sites;” however, we were looking for excavations unearthed just a few years ago with
construction of a new building.  The excavations are pictured below and show 1st century architecture (contemporary with the time of Jesus).

First-Century Dwelling at Nazareth

First-Century Dwelling at Nazareth

Jezreel Valley-
View of the Jezreel Valley from the El-Muhraqa (Carmelite) monastery. The Jezreel Valley is the defining feature which cuts at a southwest angle across the northern portion of Israel.  Many accounts of ancient history play out in this valley as it creates a focal point of travel, trade routes, and military movement throughout ancient (and modern) history.

View of the Jezreel valley a few miles from the coast

View of the Jezreel valley a few miles from the coast

Bet She’an, at the southeast end of the Jezreel Valley, bordering the Jordan River valley-
With extensive occupation from Canaanite to Byzantine times, and times in-between (Egyptian influence, Philistine, Israelites, Greek/Hellenstic, Romans) this is an impressive ancient site with vast remains at the bottom of the tel, mostly from the Greeks and Romans. From Roman baths, to colonnaded streets, to a theater with seating for 7,000, this ancient city has it all.  This photo is from the tel (Canaanite/Israelite portion) looking down on the Greek/Roman/Byzantine remains.

View from the tel at Bet She'an, looking down at mostly Hellenistic and Roman ruins

View from the tel at Bet She’an, looking down at mostly Hellenistic and Roman ruins

Tel Jezreel-
On the southern edge of the Jezrell Valley, just up the valley from Bet She’an, is the ancient tel of Jezreel.  Unlike many of the popular sites, this tel is not in a controlled access national park, it’s just
a roadside stop.  We walked around on the top of this site (now a cow pasture) looking at what ruins were there.  Here is a photo of some of the ruins on the tel (not sure what they are or what time period they are from).  After the fact, we found out that there were current excavations going on this year, concerning Iron Age areas of the tel. We certainly didn’t come across recent excavations where we were walking around.  Many, including those who have excavated here in the past, associate this tel with the Iron Age settlement associated with Jezreel of the Biblical account, connected to Ahab, Jezebel, and Jehu, all of the Divided Kingdom period of Israel’s history.

Ruins at Tel Jezreel

Ruins at Tel Jezreel

Qumran, on the top of the western edge of the Dead Sea-
After this we wrapped up our travels in the northern part of the country and move south (directionally and elevation), down to the Dead Sea.  Our first stop was Qumran, where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Below is the typical cave photo you see from the Qumran National Park.

Qumran Cave

Qumran Cave

Ein Gedi, moving down the western Dead Sea coast-
Our next stop the following day was the springs of Ein Gedi.  This is often associated with the Wilderness of Engedi, where Saul and David had interaction in 1 Samuel 23 & 24.  It is also mentioned at later times in other sources, such as Josephus, when he talks about the siege at Masada, mentioning other villages that were plundered about the same time.  The terrain here is rugged and the springs and waterfalls bring an oasis to the desert.  The first photo is from the top of the largest waterfall in the series of waterfalls in the national park of Ein Gedi (this is a lot higher than it looks in the photo, note the Dead Sea in the distance….it’s hazy, but you can see it).  The water is flowing just under the first photo and the second photo is the view from the bottom of the falls.  It was about a 45-minute hike up to the top, not bad, except that it was up the side of the ravine and it was about 90 degrees (at 8 a.m.).  By the time we were done with our 4-hour hike around the park, it was about 100
degrees (12:30 p.m.).

View of the wadi David at En Gedi, looking toward the Dead Sea

View of the Wadi David at En Gedi, looking toward the Dead Sea (standing just above the “David Falls”)

View of the waterfall from the bottom

View of the waterfall from the bottom

It was a busy week, to say the least 🙂

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6 Responses to “Arbel, Tiberus, Hazor, Nazareth, Jezreel Valley, Tel Jezreel, Bet Shean, Qumran, En Gedi (Photo Summary for the past week, last Tuesday – this Wednesday)”

  1. ferrelljenkins Says:

    I am really delighted to see your photo of the Nazareth excavation. I had been told that this was now covered.

  2. ferrelljenkins Says:

    Re: Jezreel. Check The Jezreel Excavation on Facebook for more info. The work this year was on the lower toward the valley. The ruin you show is from the Crusaders. Our departed friend Phil Roberts worked on the NW corner of the high tel.

  3. vanbraman Says:

    Are you going to visit Hebron?

  4. Ashkelon Year 2 -and- Photos from Last Year’s Vagabonding Tour | Trent and Rebekah Says:

    […] Arbel, Tiberus, Hazor, Nazareth, Jezreel Valley, Tel Jezreel, Bet Shean, Qumran, En Gedi (Photo Summ… […]

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