Arbel Nature Reserve, Northern District, Israel
An ancient iconic settlement that left behind the ruins of a splendid synagogue; hiking trails to a fortress of natural caves; and also one friendly snail that is not found anywhere else in the world.
Spectacular views await you at the Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve from a vertical cliff that takes in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon. There are six trails available require varying lengths of time and expertise.
A short, easy trail to the ancient synagogue (4th – 8th cent. CE) and Talmudic village is well worth the trip as the synagogue has a unique doorway hewn from a single large slab of limestone. One large pillar remains which stands out from the surrounding village that was built mainly out of black basalt rocks.
Both the ancient Cave Fortress and the four levels of the Arbel Caves created by Jews hiding from the Romans and Greeks can be viewed from the top of the cliff. If you are an experienced hiker, take the trail to the Cave Fortress and Arbel Caves and see the 18th century staircase and protected gateway of the fortress and view the Hellenistic period water system and ritual immersion baths in the caves. From the trail you can also view a similar set of caves on Mount Nitay.
Other sites to see are the stone quarry that the road-builders led by Joseph Trumpeldor dug for the Tiberias-Tabgha road and the burial caves between the Talmudic-era village and the Arbel Spring. The Arbel stream can also be toured in its entirety
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