Ermak Travel Guide

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Jezreel Valley

 

Jezreel Valley (Hebrew: עמק יזרעאל) is a large valley in the Lower Galilee. Its fertile soil attracted local people early on and today it is dotted with archaeological ruins, notable places and imporatnt landmarks.

 

 

 

Location: Map

 

 

 

Description of Jezreel Valley

Jezreel Valley (Hebrew: עמק יזרעאל‎) is a large valley in the south region of the Lower Galilee in Israel. Bordered in the south by the Samaria highlands and mount Gillboa, in the north by the Lower Galilee, in the west by the Mount Carmel range and in the east by the Jordan river valley. Since the ancient times this valley was the route of caravans and a good food source from its fertile lands. However due to its desirability and great open plains this was also the place suitable for the battles. The Bible mentions Jezreel Valley as a gathering site for the armies before the battle of Armageddon. The Old Testament also mentions the victory of Israelites under leadership of Gideon over Midianites, Amalekiltes and Children of the East. Later king Saul was defeated by the Philistines here and subsequently committed suicide.

 

Travel Destinations in the Jezreel Valley

Mount Tabor

Located in the east part of the Jezreel Valley, Tabor stands at an elevation of 1843 feet (575 m) above surrounding plains. It is located in 9 km from the Nazareth. Mount Tabor is believed to be the place of transfiguration of Jesus Christ. His disciples Peter, James and John are only witnesses to this miracle and later describe the event.

 

Matthew. Chapter 17

1And after dix days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Although the Bible itself doesn't pinpoint the exact location, local tradition states that it was on top of Mount Tabor. Oral tradition in the Middle East is quiet impressive so there is no need to doubt it. Mount Tabor was mentioned in the Old Testament and later in the historical writings of Josephus so its connection to a Jewish tradition is quiet evident.

 

Today Mount Tabor is home to two monasteries. One of them is Greek Orthodox Monastery that dates back to the 19th century. Interestingly it has ruins of the Byzantine church that dates back to the medieval period. The main church of the monastery is the church of the Transfiguration with a bell tower (1911). Another monastery belongs to the Roman Catholic Franciscan order that stands on the side of a medieval Muslim fortress that dates back to the 13th century. Basilica of the Transfiguration was designed by an architect Antonio Barlutstsi.

 

 

“As I live, declares the king Whose name is the Lods of hosts, surely one shall come who looms up like Tabor among the mountains, or like Carmel by the sea” (cf. Ps. 89:12).

 

Mount Tabor is also the site of encampment of the Israeli army under leadership of Deborah and Barak before attacking and defeating Canaanite army under Sisera.

Ein Harod

 

The spring emerges from a cave at the base of the mountain Gilboa. The name means “the spring of Harod”. It was know in the ancient times and even made to the Book of Judges (7). Gideon reportedly sorted his army here judging by the way they drank the water. Today visitors can take a swim in the waters of the spring. Swimming pool sits just outside of the site.

Harod Valley

This small valley is located in the southeastern corner of the Jezreel Valley and links it to the Lower Jordan valley. This was the site where Jesus healed 10 lepers. Only one returned to thank him later however.

 

Mount Gilboa

On the side of this mountain king Saul is said to commit suicide after a crushing defeat of the Israelite army by the Philistines. In the Bible he curses the mountain before throwing himself on the sword:

 

"O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings" (2 Sam 1:21)

 

 

 

  

 

 

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