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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Postcard from Israel: Gamla

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

“From a lofty mountain there descends a rugged spur rising in the middle to a hump, the declivity from the summit of which is of the same length before as behind, so that in form the ridge resembles a camel; whence it derives its name. Its sides and face are cleft all round by inaccessible ravines, but at the tail end, where it hangs on to the mountain, it is somewhat easier of approach; but this quarter also the inhabitants, by cutting a trench across it, had rendered difficult of access. The houses were built against the steep mountain flank and astonishingly huddled together, one on top of the other, and this perpendicular site gave the city the appearance of being suspended in air and falling headlong upon itself. It faced south, and its southern eminence, rising to an immense height, formed the citadel; below this an unwalled precipice descended to the deepest of the ravines. There was a spring within the walls at the confines of the town.”

So the Second Temple era town of Gamla in the Golan Heights is described by Josephus Flavius in his book “The Jewish Wars.” For many years, however, the exact location of Gamla was unknown until, in 1976, excavations at the site revealed an ancient Synagogue, ritual baths, houses, and evidence of the fierce battle against the Romans which resulted in the town’s destruction in 67 CE.

Today, Gamla is a nature reserve and alongside the ancient Jewish town visitors can also see Neolithic dolmens and the ruins of the Byzantine Christian village of Dir Krukh which was abandoned at the time of the Arab conquest in the 7th century, as well as the highest waterfall in Israel and the Griffon Vulture sanctuary and breeding grounds on the cliffs surrounding Gamla.

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Gamla from the east

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Memorial to residents of the Golan killed in Israel’s wars

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Dolmen at Gamla

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Dir Krukh

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Dir Krukh

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Vulture nesting grounds

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Synagogue Gamla

Postcard From Israel: Bet She’an

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Although only about a tenth of the archaeological site of Bet She’an has been excavated, it has to be one of the most fascinating places to visit in Israel. First settled in the Chalcolithic period in the fifth millennium BCE, it became the seat of Egyptian rule in the late Canaanite period and the governor’s residence can be seen at the top of the Tel, which has some twenty settlement strata including a walled Canaanite city and an Israelite fortress.

During the Hellenistic period, the city of Nysa-Scythopolis was founded – falling to the Hasmoneans in 107 BCE. After the Roman conquest, the city became one of the ten cities of the Decapolis and magnificent public buildings were constructed, including several bath-houses and a spectacular 7,000 seat second century theatre. At its height, some 30 to 40 thousand people lived in the city, but in 749 CE it was destroyed in the massive earthquake which hit the area.

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Postcard from Israel: Winter Fruits and Flowers

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Here we are in mid-December, just one week away from the shortest day of the year, and so far Israel has had quite a reasonable winter as far as rainfall goes. My morning update on the status of the Sea of Galilee waterline (courtesy of the indispensable @kinbot) tells me that it is 140 cms higher than it was this time last year and the first snow of the season fell on Mount Hermon this week.

Winter flowers are already blooming, led of course by the dainty little Persian Cyclamen (Rakefet) which peeps out from under rocks in varying shades of pink and the mysterious Autumn Mandrake (Duda’i ).The remnants of late summer fruits lie rotting but winter’s citrus bonanza is now coming into its own with grapefruits, lemons, mandarins and kumquats and the heady sweet smell of loquat blossom filling the crisp air.

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/postcard-from-israel-winter-fruits-and-flowers/2012/12/16/

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