Biblical & Historical information about israel

 

Masada

mesada.jpg Winter refuge of King Herod the Great. Maintained by efficient storage of rare rainwater, granaries and warehouses built to withstand siege should the population turn against him, but only put to the test 75 years after his death. The last bastion of Judean resistance in the Great Revolt against Roman rule, falling to the X Legion "Fretensis" of Lucius Flavius Silva in 73CE, the final campaign to put down 7 years of Jewish Revolt. Filled with symbolism, history, scenery and archaeology all locked on a desert mountain. To climb and explore is to truly experience historical Judea, the Roman siege and the isolated silence towering above one of the world's most unique spots - the Dead Sea - the lowest point on earth.

 

Caesarea

cesrea.jpg Once the tiny Phoenician town of Straton's Tower, but transformed by Herod the Great 2030 years ago into the largest man-made port in the world, named in honour of his patron - Caesar Octavian (Augustus). Home to Roman Governors of the Province of Judea and site of the outbreak of the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans in 66 CE. Site of the cruel and slow execution of the 10 Jewish Martyrs including the great Rabbi Akiva, following the 2nd Jewish revolt in 132-135 CE. Here too, St. Paul was brought to the Praetorium for trial before the Roman Governor before being sent to Rome. Capital of the Roman Province of Judea for over 300 years following the death of Herod the Great in 4BCE, Capital of the Byzantine Holyland for a further three hundred years; site of the convertion by St. Peter of the 1st ever gentile to adopt the new Religion of Christianity. Revitalised by Crusaders until utterly destroyed by Mamluke Sultan Beybars in 1268. Reinhabited in the 1800's by a small community of Bosnian refugees. See the remnants of each era......

 

Beit Shean

bietshean.jpgThe acropolis topped with the excavated 3,350 year old Egyptian Governor's house. The same city where Philistines flaunted the corpses of King Saul of Israel and his sons on its walls following their defeat at the nearby Mount Gilboa. Later Pompey the Great mades Beit Shean the capital of the Roman Decapolis, later expanding further as one of the Byzantine's greatest cities, sitting at a crossroads of Empires and astride the geological fault line which would cause its ultimate destruction by a massive 8th Century earthquake. Excavations are slowly revealing the secrets and the daily life of this one-time Pearl of the Jordan valley. Ancient Beit Shean is a National Park, surrounded by the modern city of Beit Shean, established in the 1950's to house Jewish refugees from North Africa.

 

Megiddo

megido.jpgBiblical Megiddo - one of the cities of King Ahab of Israel and related to the Armageddon of the apocalypse in John's Revelations. A UNESCO World Heritage site inhabited from the Stone Age 6,000 years ago. Conquered and rebuilt forming 26 layers of civilizations from Phoenicians to Egyptians, Canaanites and Israelites. In a position of prominence over the breadbasket Jezreel Valley - a valley so fertile it shocked Pharaoh Thutmoses III when he took the city 3,300 years ago and looked out over the valley, comparing it to the narrow strip of Nile agriculture. A major city of the divided Kingdom of Israel, from where over 2,800 years ago King Ahab set out to lead a coalition of kings against the perennial Assyrian invaders, inflicting their first ever defeat in the field of battle (recorded in wall-inscriptions at Niniveh). Abandoned over 2 millenia ago and excavated for the last century, revealing a complex water system and tunnels, Bronze Age temple, King Solomon's Gatehouse. and more....

 

Tel Dan

teldan.jpgCapital of the Israelite tribe of Dan. Northernmost City of the divided Kingdom of Israel - seat of Jeroboam and Ahab. Situated above a valley in the great Syrian-African Rift Valley, astride a major source of the River Jordan. Excvations reveal Dan as inhabited from the Neolithic Era, 6500 years ago. Major features are the 2,900 year old 6-section Solomonic Gate and an earlier 4,000 year old Canaanite gate which has recently been restored as well as one of the "High Places" mentioned in Sripture - a temple platform where pagans gods were worshipped. The excavations, which revealed the only evidence mentioning the "House of David" on a potsherd, are surrounded by a beautiful Nature reserve, the Dan River and the city of Caesarea Philippi; significant in the New Testament.