Nimrod Fortress in the Northern Part of the Golan Heights
the center of the Nimrod Fortress National Park in the northern part of
the Golan Heights stands one of the most beautiful fortresses in the
Middle East. The remains visible today are what is left of Muslim
construction over a medieval Crusader fortress.
commanded the northern road which led from the Mediterranean coastline
to the city of Damascus, overlooking the magnificent views of the Hula
Valley, the Upper Galilee, the Golan Heights, Mount Hermon and the
mountains of Lebanon.
Walking along the different paths reveals
stories of plots and intrigues from the days of the Muslim struggles
with the Crusaders. Remains of stairs spiraling to the top of the tower,
hidden passageways, wide halls, watchtowers, verandas used by guards,
water holes and even a prison used by Muslim rulers can all be seen.
fortress’s splendor has impressed visitors to the area. Author Mark
Twain, who visited the fortress during his tour of Israel, wrote that
“This is probably the most exquisite ruins in the world.”
Fortress can be reached from the direction of Kiryat Shmona, traveling
east on road 99. This road winds through impressive views on its way to
Mount Hermon and the village of Majdal Shams at its feet.
The Banias Reserve on the Hermon River
our way to the Nimrod Fortress on road 99, or on our way back, we could
stop at the Banias Nature Reserve. Here we will encounter flowing
water, waterfalls and springs gurgling in the shade of huge plane trees.
At the center of the reserve flows the Hermon River, one of the sources
of the Jordan River. The path winds along the river, leading to the
remains of a small mill and later to a pool of water called “the
officers’ pool” and to the impressive Banias waterfall.
the springs erupts from the rocks at the heart of the reserve, and is
the source of the river. This is melted snow that seeped into the rocks
down the slopes of Mount Hermon. When the water reaches the Banias
region, it flows out and is collected in large pools, used by visitors
for dipping and wading. Close to the springs, we can see the remains of
the city of Panias and the temple to the god Pan, carved in stone.
is also an archeological site, with remains from the Hellenistic
period, a temple built in Roman times by Herod, palaces, walls and
structures from the time of Kings Phillip and Agrippa II and findings
from the Christian, Crusader and Muslim eras.
The tour of the reserve
includes the ritual area, the remains of the magnificent palace from
the Agrippa period, splendid structures from the Roman period and a walk
along the river.