The Bible, geography and ancient and modern history in the Jezreel Valley are perhaps more closely entwined and visible than anywhere else in the country.
The central Jezreel Valley, roughly 380 square kilometers in size, is bounded on the north by the Nazareth mountains and Mount Tabor, on the east and south by Mount Gilboa and the mountains of Samaria respectively, and on the west by Mount Carmel – all of which are Scriptural stars.
The passes through these mountains have been significant in world history for thousands of years, emphasizing Israel’s role as a bridge linking Africa, Asia and Europe. Ancient caravans bearing merchandise and the innovations of far-off cultures, and the armies of antiquity passed this way, as attested by the famed ruins of some 25 cities at Tel Megiddo, Tel Jezreel and other antiquities sites.
Jezreel means “God will sow” – a hint at its fertility, although by modern times neglect had turned most of it into swamps. But beginning in 1911, pioneers drained the swamps, making the valley bloom again.
Today it is Israel’s breadbasket, sprouting wheat, cotton, sunflowers and even fish ponds. Among its many attractions are historical and biblical treasures such as Tel Megiddo (Armageddon) national park, the mosaics at Beit Alfa and Tzippori national parks, the cultural mosaic represented by the Circassian village and museum in Kafr Kama and the pioneering and historical museums at Kfar Tabor and Kibbutz Ein Dor, family fun and hands-on learning at places like the silk and honey farm at Moshav Shadmot Dvora, countryside cuisine at the region’s many fine restaurants, hiking portions of the Israel Trail and the Bible Trail on Mount Gilboa, a wide selection of bed-and-breakfast accommodations run by rural families, as well as the numerous religious and heritage sites in Nazareth, and more, all make the Jezreel one of Israel’s most inviting visitor destinations.