|What to do
Where to go
|Nahal Amud Nature Reserve|
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Galilee is a mountainous region in northern Israel. Its borders stretch from the Jezreel Valley to the Lebanese border, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee. Galilee is commonly divided into two areas: upper Galilee, featuring high, hilly geography, and lower Galilee, which has low hills and broad valleys. The division into Galilee is mentioned during the period of the Mishna (Jewish oral law that was used to set religious edicts, written in the third century). Galilee became a Jewish settlement region, and besides many well-known Jewish sages, such as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Juda Bar Ilai, who moved to the region after the Bar Kokhba Rebellion (132-136 CE), Jewish leadership institutions, namely the Sanhedrin and the Beit Din (court) also moved to the region. At that time, an olive production industry and agriculture developed, which continues to this day. Because of the presence of Jewish settlements throughout the years many archeological remains have been found including synagogues, tombs of righteous men, forts and more. Today Galilee’s population is about 1.6 million residents, and a number of higher education institutes, industrial centers and many tourist centers have prospered there. In Galilee, besides many archeological sites, you can also find nature reserves and exciting national parks, agricultural fairs, many festivals and more. We have gathered a few recommended sites in Galilee for you:
Mount Meron and the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
Mount Meron, near the town of Safed, is the highest mountain in Israel on the western side of the Jordan River. Besides the nature reserve on the mountain, where unique flowers can be found, you can also see on the foothills a number of sites that are holy to both Jews and the Druze alike. The tombs of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Yochanan Hasandlar and the tomb of the Tannaim (teachers) are graves that attract many Jewish believers. The climax of events in the region occurs on Lag BaOmer (on about May), when there is a Hillula, or festivity, on Mount Meron lasts four days, drawing more than half a million believers. The tomb of prophet Nabi Sablan is the second most important Druze site, containing a large complex including the tomb, reception halls and more.
Engraving workshop at Kabri
If you are arts enthusiast, you will want to visit the engraving workshop at Kibbutz Kabri. The workshop, which was founded in 1993, is located on a rural landscape with a view of the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It is where the studio of one of Israel’s best known artists, Ori Reisman, stood. Since its launch, the workshop has hosted many artists and has gained a place of honor in the Israeli and international artistic world. Besides Ori Resiman, Yechiel Shemi, a famous Israeli sculpture and Israel Prize laureate, lived and worked at the site. On your visit to the site you may roam the display exhibits, see prints that have been made and look at engraving works as they are being made.
The town of Safed
The ancient town of Safed, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, became a major historical spiritual center and is one of the “four holy cities” with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias. Safed became one of the four holy cities because important Jewish figures resided there during the exile period, with many spiritual men’s tombs being located there, and containing historical Jewish sites. In Safed and its environs, dozens of spiritual men are buried, some of which are outside the town and some interred in the ancient cemetery, which is one of the oldest cemeteries in Israel. People buried in the area include Isaac Luria, Rabbi Joseph Karo, Rabbi Phinehas ben Jair and others.
Monfort Castle, which is in the Nahal Kaziv Nature Reserve, northeast of Nahariya, is a holy crusade fort that was built in the 12th century. It is located on a steep spur and the view from it is breathtakingly beautiful. Besides the impressive vantage point and the nature surrounding the castle, you will also find ancient water cisterns, a knights hall, towers and remains of an ancient wall.
Nahal Amud Nature Reserve
The Nahal Amud Nature Reserve is a place where man and nature are in sync. At the site, you can find a number of points of interest including: Ein Yakim –a perennial running spring, the Grouse Pools – clear water palls, and Amud Cave and Zuttiyeh Cave (the skull cave) – these being prehistorical caves containing findings from early man.
Festivals and events
In Galilee, throughout the year many festivals and events are held. The Galilee Olive Branch Festival, which has been held for more than 15 years, offers many activities related to olive picking. During the international sculpturing festival you can enjoy sculpting exhibitions of local and international artists, art workshops, artist and art fairs. The Bird Winter is a relatively new festival in the region, whose aim is to offer the visitor a different perspective on bird migration. White nights in the Sea of Galilee is a festival that is held in the summer highlighting performances of leading singers in Israel, arts fairs, overnight field trips, tours in the wake of poets and composers.