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Banias

The lush green surroundings of the Banias River and the popular nature reserve it is flowing through forever put to rest the mistaken notion that Israel is a desert

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The lush green surroundings of the Banias River forever put to rest the mistaken notion that Israel is a desert! In this popular northern nature reserve, the snow and rain soaked up by 2,800-meter-high Mount Hermon emerge as the chilling headwaters of the Jordan River. Mint, bramble and willow grace its banks, shaded by majestic oriental plane trees. Furry coneys sun themselves on the rocks, warblers chirp in the thickets and kestrels tend their nests in the cliffs.

The ancient niches and inscriptions in those cliffs inspired archaeological excavations that revealed massive temples and walls. While touring the ruins, visitors learn how the ancient Greeks identified this site, with its shaded pools, cascades and rivulets, as the home of nature-loving Pan. They built a shrine to this mischievous demi-god, naming it Paneas, which in the Arabic pronunciation became Banias.

 

In Roman times Herod the Great built a temple near the spring, and his son Philip embellished what by then had become a city, naming it Caesarea Philippi. That is the New Testament name for Banias, where Jesus charged Peter with founding the Church (Matt. 16:13–20). High above the spring, the Druze faith maintains a holy place to Elijah the Prophet. In medieval times the Muslim city that stood here was also home to Jews and Karaites and was eventually fortified by the Crusaders.

 

Touring routes at Banias range from about 45 minutes to two hours, taking in both its magnificent remnants of the past and its natural wonders.



Sites & Attractions

The winery was established in 2004 and it produces approximately 17,000 bottles annuall...
The winery was established in 2003 and it produces approximately 100,000 bottles annual...
The winery was established in 2004 and it produces 2,500 bottles annually. This is a ho...
The winery was established in 2007 and it produces about 1,500 bottles annually. It is ...
The winery was established in 2006 and it produces fruit wines (liqueurs) from various ...
The winery was established in 2003 and it produces 7,000 bottles annually. The producti...

Accommodations

The first hotel in Tiberias. A good starting point for tours of the city. The hotel has...
The Poriya hostel, located on the Southern shores of the Sea of Galilee, is a convenien...
Modest hotel also serving Jewish religious families with children.
The Shlomi Hostel is located right at the foot of the Khanitta mountain range, offering...
Sites