Mount Arbel is in Galilee on the south side of the Plain of Ginosar, about 4 kilometers west of the Sea of Galilee. On Mount Arbel is the ruins of a fortress and a synagogue. The top of Mount Arbel, a cliff overlooking the Sea of Galilee, offers a beautiful view of the Golan Heights and Galilee. At steep elevations, there are cave dwellings, walls, and passages. The followers of the Hasmonean dynasty are said to have settled here who fought against King Herod and have withdrawn.
Mount Arbel (Hebrew: Har Arbel) is a lower Galilee mountain near Tiberias. There are beautiful views of Mount Hermon above Golan Heights. A road leads from the Sea of Galilee to the beginning of a path that ultimately leads to several caves and a small fortress. And the ruins of an old synagogue. To visit the fortress, you need to be free from giddiness because some entrances can be reached via ladders. And iron stairs hewed into the rock. Mount Arbel is directly opposite Mount Nitai. Whose formations (cliffs) arose from subsidence to the Jordan Trench due to geological faults.
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History of Mount Arbel
There are four villages on Mount Arbel: Kfar Zeitim, Arbel, Kfar Hitam, and Mitzpe. So, the peak is 181 meters above sea level and dominates this part of the Sea of Galilee. In good visibility, the Golan Heights, including the Safed, Tiberias. And most of the smaller settlements on the Sea of Galilee can be seen from the vantage point on the mountain. Nearby – on the outskirts of the village of Arbel – are the ruins of an old Jewish settlement from the Byzantine era. With a synagogue from the fourth century AD. The temple was discovered in 1905 by H. Kohl and C. Watzinger. This building is square, architecturally reminiscent of the Galilean type of synagogues in the area. A rabbi’s grave can also be found here. A guest house in the village opens the possibility for more extended stays in this area.
In ancient times, people lived northeast of this place on Mount Arbel, some of whom dug their homes into the rocks or used the existing caves and expanded them for living purposes. The rock dwellings are still preserved from the 17th century and were built by the Druze. There are also documented Jewish rock dwellings from the Second Temple period. The Jewish writer Flavius Josephus writes about the Roman conquest of this place. He tells of some of the last Hasmoneans who once came to this place as rebels against Herod and dwelt on Mount Arbel’s rocks.
The National Park from Mount Arbel
In 1967 the area was declared a nature reserve and covered a total area of approximately 140 hectares. The ” Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve ” national park is about 851 hectares. And covers an area beginning at the Nahal Arbel, which rises near Eilabun and flows into the Sea of Galilee near Migdal. The nature reserve protects the immediate area around the cliffs. On the south side of Mount Arbel, many fields and pastures, especially many cows, graze. From the highest point – the Arbel Fortress. There is a descent into the valley to the Bedouin village of Hamam. But you must be able to climb and have a head for heights.
Even more, hikes can last from 30 minutes to over 4 hours in the Berg Arbel area. You can preview your tours on the park’s website. And there should also be a brochure with a hiking map at the park ticket office. For example, a hike to the top of Mount Arbel in the Bible is also possible from the southern side. By walking part of the way along the Israel National Trail.
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- It is impossible not to see that cave entrances perforate the whole cliff. These caves served as a refuge during the revolt of the Maccabees in the second century BC, then to the Jews during the Roman occupation against Herod in 37 BC. This revolt is related to us by Flavius Josephus.
- The inhabitants hid in caves; to dislodge them, the soldiers were brought down from the mountain in crates tied to ropes. The caves were also used during the revolt against the Romans in 63 AD.
Mount Arbel is a name of Hebrew origin that refers to an ancient site described in the Judeo-Christian Bible in Hosea 10:14. It can be interpreted as “divine night.” Today Mount Arbel is located in what is known as lower Galilee. Near Tiberias in Israel. This mountain is populated with four locations in its extension.
Located in the lower Galilee, Mount Arbel offers a magnificent and exceptional view of Lake Tiberias, also called the Sea of Galilee, and its shores. Therefore, the opposite is the Golan Heights. With its altitude of about 200m, which might seem ridiculous, seen from the shores of the lake, which is -200m from sea level, it impresses with its steep sides and drop of 400m. The hiking trail, “Shvil Israel ” or the Israel National Trail, which goes from north to south, about 1000km long, passes through Mount Arbel.