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Travel to Bethlehem

Bethlehem (Arabic: Beit Lahm Hebrew: Beit Lechem is a small city located some 10 km (6 miles) south of the Old City of Jerusalem within the West Bank, in an "Area A" zone administered by the Palestinian Authority. The "little town" of Bethlehem, mentioned in any number of Christmas carols, attracts pilgrims worldwide on account of its description in the New Testament (and particularly the Gospels) as the birthplace of Jesus, whom Christians believe to be Messiah and Son of God. The Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest churches in the world, is the focus of Christian veneration within the city. Bethlehem is revered by Jews as the birthplace and home town of David, King of Israel, as well as the traditional site of Rachel's Tomb (on the outskirts of the town). Although also home to many Muslims, Bethlehem remains home to one of the largest Arab Christian communities in the Middle East (despite significant emigration in recent years due to Muslim aggressions and antagonism against the Christian community resulting in a growing Muslim majority) and one of the chief cultural and tourism drawcards for the community. The Bethlehem agglomeration also includes the small towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, the latter also having biblical significance. Building up to the Millennium in the year 2000, Bethlehem underwent a massive largely foreign-funded project called Bethlehem 2000 in hopes of turning Bethlehem into a major tourist destination comparable to destinations such as Jerusalem or Tel Aviv in tourism infrastructure. Unfortunately a year later, the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occurred and the ensuing violence scuttled these tourism efforts. With the Palestinian uprising and violent clashes between both sides now have been over and done with for quite a few years, violence is now a thing of the past and many in Bethlehem hope to continue on where Bethlehem 2000 started them off.

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Roman Boat from the Sea of Galilee - State of Israel Article

In the winter of 1986, after several years of drought, the water level of the Sea of Galilee had dropped by several meters and the shoreline had receded considerably. Two young men, walking along the shore south of their kibbutz - Ginosar, situated on the western bank of the lake - noticed the outline of a boat in the mud. Experts called in to examine the discovery concluded that the remains of an ancient boat had been found. It was decided to excavate it immediately, before the possible rise of the water level. Innovative and sophisticated techniques were required for lifting and moving the boat. First, a massive dike was built around the site to prevent the lake from inundating it, while pumps were used to keep the groundwater out. The wood had to be kept wet during the removal of the silt from inside the hull, which was then strengthened with fiberglass and filled with polyurethane. Tunnels were dug under the boat and its sides strengthened. When the extremely fragile remains of the boat were safely packed, water was pumped into the big pit that had been created during the excavation, and the boat was floated to shore. It was placed in a specially built conservation pool at the Yigal Allon Museum of Kibbutz Ginosar, where the poly- urethane casing was removed and the boat re-submerged in water. In a process which took several years, synthetic wax was added to the wood, to give it sufficient structural strength for display outside the pool. The boat was found lying perpendicular to the shore, its stern toward the lake; only the lower portion of the rounded stern was preserved. The boat's length is 8.2 m., its width 2.3 m. and its depth 1.2 m. It was built in the known "shell first" fashion, with mortise and tenon joinery and constructed mainly of cedar planks and oak frames. Much of the wood was in secondary use, i.e., it had been removed from older, obsolete boats. Additional wood fragments were uncovered nearby, attesting that the boat was found in a place that had served as a shipyard. It was large enough to carry 15 people, including a crew of five. Though apparently used for fishing, it may also have transported passengers and goods. By the construction techniques and two pottery vessels found near it, archeologists judged that the boat was from the Roman period. Carbon-14 tests confirmed that the boat had been constructed and used between 100 BCE and 70 CE. The few details known about boats on the Sea of Galiliee during Roman times are from written sources, such as Josephus Flavius and the New Testament, and from mosaic floors depicting boats. The discovery of this ancient boat of the Sea of Galilee therefore received worldwide attention. The boat was excavated by S. Wachsmann and K. Raveh on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. O. Cohen served as the team conservationist. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Akko: The Maritime Capital of the Crusader Kingdom

The port city of Akko (also known as Acre) is located on a promontory at the northern end of Haifa Bay. The earliest city was founded during the Bronze Age at Tel Akko (in Arabic Tel el-Fukhar mound of the potsherds), just east of the present-day city. Akko is mentioned in ancient written sources as an important city on the northern coast of the Land of Israel. The wealth of finds, including remains of fortifications uncovered in the excavations at Tel Akko, attest to the long and uninterrupted occupation of the site during biblical times. The ancient site of Akko was abandoned during the Hellenistic period. A new city named Ptolemais, surrounded by a fortified wall, was built on the site of present-day Akko. The Romans improved and enlarged the natural harbor in the southern part of the city, and constructed a breakwater, thus making it one of the main ports on the eastern Mediterranean coast. The importance of Akko a well protected, fortified city with a deepwater port is reflected in its eventful history during the period of Crusader rule in the Holy Land. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Bethsaida in Archaeology

Bethsaida: An Ancient Fishing Village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee Bethsaida is known as the birthplace of three of the Apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip. Jesus himself visited Bethsaida and performed several miracles there. (Mark 8:22-26; Luke 9:10) Et-Tel, the mound identified as ancient Bethsaida, is located on a basaltic spur north of the Sea of Galilee, near the inflow of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee. The tel covers some 20 acres and rises 30 meters above a fertile valley. Geological and geomorphological studies show that in the past this valley was part of the Sea of Galilee. A series of earthquakes caused silt to accumulate, thus creating the valley and causing the north shore of the Sea of Galilee to recede. The result of this process, which continued until the Hellenistic period, was that Bethsaida, which had originally been built on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, came to be situated some 1.5 km. north of the shore. The name Bethsaida means "house of the hunt" in Hebrew. Identification of Et-Tel with the site mentioned in the New Testament was proposed as early as 1838 by Robinson, but was not accepted by most contemporary researchers; yet excavations conducted since 1987 have confirmed the identification. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Bethsaida in Old Testament Times - Archaeology

Biblical Period. The excavations revealed that the settlement at Bethsaida was founded in the 10th century BCE, in the biblical period. By that time the areas north and east of the Sea of Galilee were part of the Aramaean kingdom of Geshur. Its royal family, which ruled for several generations, was connected by marriage to tDavidic dynasty. King David married Maacha, daughter of the King of Geshur; she was the mother of Absalom, who later found refuge in the Land of Geshur. (II Samuel 3:3; 14:32) Archeological excavations conducted at the site revealed impressive structures and fortifications, and the excavator therefore surmises that during this period Bethsaida was the capital city of the Kingdom of Geshur and the seat of its monarchs. The city was divided into two parts: a lower city, extending over most of the mound; and an upper city the acropolis on the higher, northeastern part of the mound. During the 9th century BCE, the acropolis was surrounded by a massive, fortified wall with a gate, constructed of large basalt stones. The 6-m.-wide wall, together with buttresses projecting from both sides, reached a width of 8 m. The city gate complex discovered on the eastern side of the tel consisted of an outer and an inner gateway. The outer gateway included a passageway between two massive towers; thus far, only the western tower, measuring 10 x 8 m., has been excavated. In the outer gateway, a 30-m.-long walkway paved with flat basalt stones led to the "four-room" inner gatehouse, typical of this period and measuring 35 x 17.5 m. It is preserved to an impressive height of 3 m. This is the largest city gate of the biblical period excavated in Israel. It is constructed of large basalt stones, some slightly trimmed, laid in courses. Above the stone structure stood a brick superstructure, both entirely coated with light plaster. Two huge projecting towers, 10 x 6 m. each, protected the entrance to the gate. The threshold of the gate consisted of large basalt stones with depressions that served as door-hinge sockets. Vivid evidence of the battle that took place here at the time of the citys conquest and the conflagration which destroyed the gatehouse, is found in the fired bricks, the pile of carbonized wood and the arrowheads. A unique feature of the Bethsaida gate is the variety of cultic installations in front of the inner gate. An entire "gate altar" (bama) measuring 2.1 x 1.6 m. and constructed of basalt stones covered with light plaster was found there. Two steps led to the top of the bama which had a recessed, 35 cm. deep stone basin, measuring 60 x 50 cm. A basalt stele that once stood at the back of the bama was found, broken, on it. The stele, 1.15 m. high, 59 cm. wide and 31 cm. thick, was carefully shaped with a rounded top. On its front was carved the stylized figure of a horned bull, armed with a dagger. In the Mesopotamian pantheon, the bull represents the moon god. It was adopted by the Arameans as the symbol of their main deity, Haddad, identified as the figure represented on this stele. Inside the gatehouse was a broad, paved plaza. On its northern side stood the palace of the kings which measured 28 x 15 m. with 1.4 m. thick basalt walls. The palace of Bethsaida is a typical example of the palaces of the Aramean kingdoms during the biblical period; it included a central hall which served as the throne room, surrounded by eight rooms. The Aramean city of Bethsaida was conquered and destroyed by the Assyrian king Tiglath Pileser III during his campaign in the region in 734 BCE. (II Kings 15:29-30; 16:7-9) From the time of that destruction, and until the Hellenistic period, the site was only sparsely inhabited. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Bethsaida in New Testament Times - Archaeology

The Hellenistic Roman Periods. The importance of Bethsaida during the Hellenistic-Roman period is apparent from references to it in ancient sources. Josephus Flavius states that King Herod Philip, whose kingdom included the northern part of the country, changed the name of the city at the beginning of the 1st century CE to Julias, after Julia Livia, wife of the Roman Emperor Augustus, and granted it municipal rights. (Antiquities 104, 18, 28) Also according to Josephus, Philip died in the city and was buried there with great pomp. (Antiquities 104, 18, 108) Several courtyard-houses dating from this period were uncovered in the excavations. Constructed of basalt and probably two storeys high, they included a paved, open courtyard surrounded by several rooms. Numerous fishing tools lead weights for nets, iron anchors, needles and fishing hooks were found in the houses, attesting to an economy based on fishing. One of the houses had a cellar in which ceramic wine amphorae and several vine pruning hooks were found. At the beginning of the first century CE, a building with particularly thick walls, measuring 20 x 6 m. was constructed above the remains of the city gate of the biblical period. Only very fragmentary remains of the foundations were found. Limestone ashlars brought from a considerable distance and fragments of decorated architectural elements are suggestive of the elegance of this building. Ritual vessels, including two decorated bronze incense shovels, indicate that it functioned as a temple. Perhaps these are the remains of the temple that King Philip built in honor of Julia Livia. Excavations at the site are still underway. It is assumed that further finds from the periods of settlement await the archeologists spades. In the meantime, the site has been opened to visitors. The excavations at Bethsaida are directed by R. Arav on behalf of the Bethsaida Excavations Consortium headed by the University of Nebraska. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Archaeology at Tabgha and Around the Sea of Galilee

Tabgha: Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. Christians of the early Byzantine period built monastries, churches and shrines in Galilee and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to commemorate the ministry of Jesus and the miracles ascribed to him. Tabgha an Arabic corruption of the Greek name Heptapegon (Seven Springs) is the traditional site of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. (Matt. 14: 13-21) It is situated in a narrow, fertile valley on the northern shore of the lake, watered by several springs. The earliest building at Tabgha was a small chapel (18 x 9.6 m) from the 4th century CE; only a part of its foundations was uncovered. This was probably the shrine described by the pilgrim Egeria at the end of the 4th century: In the same place (not far from Capernaum) facing the Sea of Galilee is a well watered land in which lush grasses grow, with numerous trees and palms. Nearby are seven springs which provide abundant water. In this fruitful garden Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The stone upon which the Master placed the bread became an altar. The many pilgrims to the site broke off pieces of it as a cure for their ailments. During the fifth century, a large monastery and a church decorated with exquisite mosaic floors was built on the site. The complex covered an area of 56 x 33 m. and included courtyards and many rooms used as workshops for a variety of crafts as well as for lodging for the monks and the many pilgrims who came to visit. The monastery and church at Tabgha were destroyed in the 7th century, probably during the Arab conquest of the country, and buried beneath a thick layer of silt and stones. In the 1980s, after excavation, the church was restored to its Byzantine form, incorporating portions of the original mosaics. The basilical church is divided by two rows of columns into a central hall and two aisles. In the eastern wall is a semi-circular apse and on either side of it, rooms for the officiating clergy. A raised platform in front of the apse is surrounded by a chancel screen and at its center an untrimmed stone was preserved under the altar. This is the traditional site of the miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes. A mosaic depicting a basket of bread flanked by two fish was found behind the untrimmed stone. It was added in the 6th century, suggesting the stones significance; today it is displayed in front of the altar. The church is famous for its mosaics, unique among Byzantine churches in the Holy Land. Most of the floor of the church is decorated in ordinary geometric patterns. The unique principal mosaics decorate both sides of the transept. Particularly well preserved is the one on the left of the platform, a square carpet (6.5 x 5.5 m.) bordered with a band of lotus flowers. The carpets are decorated with multi-colored representations of the local flora and fauna, interspersed with several buildings. The flowers and animals, mainly birds, are so naturalistically depicted that it is possible to identify lotus, oleander and lily; also duck, snipe, heron, goose, dove, swan, cormorant, flamingo and stork. A tower marked with bands bearing Greek letters, probably for measuring the water level of the Sea of Galilee (known as a "nilometer"), is also depicted. The church belongs to the Order of the Benedictines and is open to visitors. Today, as in Byzantine times, large numbers of pilgrims come to visit. In 1968 excavations were carried out by B. Bagatti and S. Loffreda on behalf of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. The 1979-1980 excavations were conducted by R. Rosenthal and M. Hershkovitz on behalf of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (today, the Israel Antiquities Authority), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Kursi and Archaeology

Kursi: Christian Monastery on the Shore of the Sea of Galilee. The church, during excavations. Mosaic floor of the aisle The Byzantine monastery of Kursi is situated east of the Sea of Galilee at the mouth of a wadi (riverbed) descending from the Golan Heights and creating a small, fertile valley along the shoreline. The remains of the ancient monastery came to light accidentally, during construction of a new road, and they were excavated in the years 1971-1974. The site is now open to the public as a national park. The location of Kursi, its architectural features and the testimony of early travelers identify it as the site where, according to tradition, Jesus healed two men possessed by demons. (Matthew 8: 28-33) To commemorate the miracle, a monastery was built there, probably at the beginning of the 6th century. The monastery is surrounded by a protective stone wall which creates a rectangular enclave measuring 140 x 120 m. The entrance, protected by a watchtower, faces west, towards the Sea of Galilee. In antiquity, a paved road led from the monastery to a small harbor which served Christian pilgrims arriving in boats. A wide, paved path led from the entrance of the monastery complex to a large plaza in front of the church at the center of the complex. The 45 x 25 m. rectangular church consists of a courtyard surrounded by pillars; these formed an atrium through which one entered the prayer hall itself. In its interior, two rows of eight stone columns supported Corinthian capitals of marble with crosses carved in relief. The columns divided the prayer hall into a nave and two side aisles. The whole floor of the church was paved with colored tesserae. Preserved mainly in the aisles, square frames are decorated with floral and faunal motifs, such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, fish, birds and water fowl. The faunal representations were almost obliterated, probably by members of the iconoclastic movement which became active in the early Arab period (7th century). At the eastern end of the church was a raised apse reached by two steps with two square rooms beside it. One was used as a baptistery, attested to by a Greek inscription, dedicating it to the Abbot Stephanos in the time of the Emperor Mauricius (end of the 6th century). Lateral wings were added to the sides of the church; the northern wing was an oil press, probably providing sacred oil for the pilgrims. To the south of the church there was a chapel with mosaic paving, beneath which was a crypt which contained the tombs of monks who had served in the monastery. Within the grounds of the monastery, living quarters for the monks and a hostel for housing pilgrims, as well as household utilities, were uncovered. Upon the slope overlooking the monastery to the south were the remains of a small chapel, incorporating a cave with a mosaic floor. In front of it stood a rock, some seven meters high, surrounded by revetment walls to prevent its collapse. This presumably marks the place where, according to tradition, the miracle recounted in the New Testament occurred. The monastery was damaged by an earthquake in the middle of the 8th century and abandoned. The site was excavated by D. Urman and V. Tzaferis on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Kursi and Archaeology

Kursi: Christian Monastery on the Shore of the Sea of Galilee. The church, during excavations. Mosaic floor of the aisle The Byzantine monastery of Kursi is situated east of the Sea of Galilee at the mouth of a wadi (riverbed) descending from the Golan Heights and creating a small, fertile valley along the shoreline. The remains of the ancient monastery came to light accidentally, during construction of a new road, and they were excavated in the years 1971-1974. The site is now open to the public as a national park. The location of Kursi, its architectural features and the testimony of early travelers identify it as the site where, according to tradition, Jesus healed two men possessed by demons. (Matthew 8: 28-33) To commemorate the miracle, a monastery was built there, probably at the beginning of the 6th century. The monastery is surrounded by a protective stone wall which creates a rectangular enclave measuring 140 x 120 m. The entrance, protected by a watchtower, faces west, towards the Sea of Galilee. In antiquity, a paved road led from the monastery to a small harbor which served Christian pilgrims arriving in boats. A wide, paved path led from the entrance of the monastery complex to a large plaza in front of the church at the center of the complex. The 45 x 25 m. rectangular church consists of a courtyard surrounded by pillars; these formed an atrium through which one entered the prayer hall itself. In its interior, two rows of eight stone columns supported Corinthian capitals of marble with crosses carved in relief. The columns divided the prayer hall into a nave and two side aisles. The whole floor of the church was paved with colored tesserae. Preserved mainly in the aisles, square frames are decorated with floral and faunal motifs, such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, fish, birds and water fowl. The faunal representations were almost obliterated, probably by members of the iconoclastic movement which became active in the early Arab period (7th century). At the eastern end of the church was a raised apse reached by two steps with two square rooms beside it. One was used as a baptistery, attested to by a Greek inscription, dedicating it to the Abbot Stephanos in the time of the Emperor Mauricius (end of the 6th century). Lateral wings were added to the sides of the church; the northern wing was an oil press, probably providing sacred oil for the pilgrims. To the south of the church there was a chapel with mosaic paving, beneath which was a crypt which contained the tombs of monks who had served in the monastery. Within the grounds of the monastery, living quarters for the monks and a hostel for housing pilgrims, as well as household utilities, were uncovered. Upon the slope overlooking the monastery to the south were the remains of a small chapel, incorporating a cave with a mosaic floor. In front of it stood a rock, some seven meters high, surrounded by revetment walls to prevent its collapse. This presumably marks the place where, according to tradition, the miracle recounted in the New Testament occurred. The monastery was damaged by an earthquake in the middle of the 8th century and abandoned. The site was excavated by D. Urman and V. Tzaferis on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Tiberias and Archaeology

Tiberias: The Anchor Church. The city of Tiberias is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. In the sixth century, at the peak of its expansion, the Byzantine emperor Justinian built a wall around the city which climbed up the steep slopes in the west and included the highest point, Mount Berenice. Here the remains of a Byzantine church with unusual cultic objects were uncovered in the years 1990-93. The church was included within the fortification wall of the city and its location affords a breathtaking view of the entire Sea of Galilee, its shores and the distant mountains. The church complex measures 48 x 28 meters and includes an atrium courtyard, a basilical, tri-apsidal church and many rooms around the complex. The walls are of square basalt blocks coated with white plaster and the floor is paved with multi-colored mosaics. The atrium courtyard is unusually spacious. It was surrounded by aisles resting upon square piers and was paved with mosaics in black and white frames. Beneath it is a large cistern, the ceiling of which is supported by a set of arches. Rainwater was collected from the roofs and from the courtyard and carried to the cistern via channels. Running the length of the prayer-hall of the church were two rows of columns supporting the roofing. Two rows of semi-circular stone benches were situated along the central apse in the eastern wall. The floor of the church was in part paved with colored mosaics, depicting grapes, pomegranates and birds, and in part with marble tiles in geometric shapes. At the center of the bema (stage) the base of a stone altar was found, and beneath it a marble plaque covering a depression containing a large, care-fully fashioned basalt stone measuring 55 x 35 x 11 cm. The bottom part of the stone is crudely worked into a conical shape, indicating that it was originally set into the ground. At the center of the stone is a drilled, biconical perforation; it is obviously a type of anchor, a smaller version of which might have been used by boats sailing the Sea of Galilee. It was placed here, and probably venerated in connection with Jesus activities on this side of the lake. Surrounding the courtyard and the church were numerous rooms, with mosaic paving, which must have served the clergy who maintained the church and looked after the many visitors. The church was damaged in the earthquake of 749. It was renovated on a smaller scale and had some Islamic architectural features, such as pointed arches and pairs of columns supporting them. This church, with only minor changes, remained in use during the Muslim rule of the country, a very uncommon phenomenon. The Crusaders strengthened the church structure with external butresses and also added a bell tower to its facade. The church was destroyed when the Muslims conquered Tiberias in 1187. Its remains were visible on the surface prior to the excavations and had remained relatively well-preserved thanks to the difficult access and the distance from the city of Tiberias. The excavations were directed by Y. Hirschfeld on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Tiberias and Archaeology

Tiberias: The Anchor Church. The city of Tiberias is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. In the sixth century, at the peak of its expansion, the Byzantine emperor Justinian built a wall around the city which climbed up the steep slopes in the west and included the highest point, Mount Berenice. Here the remains of a Byzantine church with unusual cultic objects were uncovered in the years 1990-93. The church was included within the fortification wall of the city and its location affords a breathtaking view of the entire Sea of Galilee, its shores and the distant mountains. The church complex measures 48 x 28 meters and includes an atrium courtyard, a basilical, tri-apsidal church and many rooms around the complex. The walls are of square basalt blocks coated with white plaster and the floor is paved with multi-colored mosaics. The atrium courtyard is unusually spacious. It was surrounded by aisles resting upon square piers and was paved with mosaics in black and white frames. Beneath it is a large cistern, the ceiling of which is supported by a set of arches. Rainwater was collected from the roofs and from the courtyard and carried to the cistern via channels. Running the length of the prayer-hall of the church were two rows of columns supporting the roofing. Two rows of semi-circular stone benches were situated along the central apse in the eastern wall. The floor of the church was in part paved with colored mosaics, depicting grapes, pomegranates and birds, and in part with marble tiles in geometric shapes. At the center of the bema (stage) the base of a stone altar was found, and beneath it a marble plaque covering a depression containing a large, care-fully fashioned basalt stone measuring 55 x 35 x 11 cm. The bottom part of the stone is crudely worked into a conical shape, indicating that it was originally set into the ground. At the center of the stone is a drilled, biconical perforation; it is obviously a type of anchor, a smaller version of which might have been used by boats sailing the Sea of Galilee. It was placed here, and probably venerated in connection with Jesus activities on this side of the lake. Surrounding the courtyard and the church were numerous rooms, with mosaic paving, which must have served the clergy who maintained the church and looked after the many visitors. The church was damaged in the earthquake of 749. It was renovated on a smaller scale and had some Islamic architectural features, such as pointed arches and pairs of columns supporting them. This church, with only minor changes, remained in use during the Muslim rule of the country, a very uncommon phenomenon. The Crusaders strengthened the church structure with external butresses and also added a bell tower to its facade. The church was destroyed when the Muslims conquered Tiberias in 1187. Its remains were visible on the surface prior to the excavations and had remained relatively well-preserved thanks to the difficult access and the distance from the city of Tiberias. The excavations were directed by Y. Hirschfeld on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Ancient Caesarea and Archaeology

Caesarea: from Roman City to Crusader Fortress. Caesarea is located on the Mediterranean coast, about midway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. Archeological excavations during the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of fortifications of the Crusader city and the Roman theater. During the past 20 years, major excavations conducted by numerous expeditions from Israel and abroad have exposed impressive remains of the forgotten grandeur of both the Roman and the Crusader cities. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Caesarea in New Testament Times

The Roman City. Founded by King Herod in the first century BCE on the site of a Phoenician and Greek trade post known as Stratons Tower, Caesarea was named for Herods Roman patron, Augustus Caesar. This city was described in detail by the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. (Antiquities XV. 331 ff; War I, 408 ff) It was a walled city, with the largest harbor on the eastern Mediterranean coast, named Sebastos, the Greek name of the emperor Augustus. The temple of the city, dedicated to Augustus Caesar, was built on a high podium facing the harbor. A broad flight of steps led from the pier to the temple. Public buildings and elaborate entertainment facilities in the imperial tradition were erected. King Herods palace was in the southern part of the city. In the year 6 CE, Caesarea became the seat of the Roman procurators of Provincia Judaea and headquarters of the 10th Roman Legion. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the city expanded and became one of most important in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, classified as the "Metropolis of the Province of Syria Palaestina." Caesarea played an important role in early Christian history. Here the baptism of the Roman officer Cornelius took place; (Acts 10:1-5, 25-28) from here Paul set sail for his journeys in the eastern Mediterranean; and here he was taken prisoner and sent to Rome for trial. (Acts 23:23-24) The palace was built on a rock promontory jutting out into the sea, in the southern part of the Roman city. The excavations revealed a large architectural complex, measuring 110 x 60 m., with a decorative pool, surrounded by porticoes. This elegant structure in its unique location was identified as Herods palace. (Antiquitites, XV, 332) The palace was in use throughout the Roman period, as attested to by two columns with Greek and Latin dedicatory inscriptions naming governors of the province of Judea. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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The Theater at Caesarea and the Pontius Pilate Stone Inscription

The theater is located in the very south of the city. It was commissioned by King Herod and is the earliest of the Roman entertainment facilities built in his kingdom. The theater faces the sea and has thousands of seats resting on a semi-circular structure of vaults. The semi-circular floor of the orchestra, first paved in painted plaster, was later paved with marble. In the excavated theater a stone was found, bearing parts of an inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judea, and the Tiberium (the edifice in honor of the Emperor Tiberius) which he built. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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The Amphitheatre at Caesarea

The amphitheater, on the citys southern shore, was also mentioned by Josephus Flavius. It was north-south oriented and measured 64 x 31 m. Its eastern and rounded southern side are well preserved; the western side was largely destroyed by the sea. A 1.05 m-high wall surrounded an arena, covered with crushed, beaten chalk. When first built in the Herodian period, it seated about 8,000 spectators; in the first century CE seating areas were added, increasing its capacity to 15,000. The dimensions, shape and installations indicate that this amphitheater was used for racing horses and chariots and was, in fact, a hippodrome. An inscription found here reads Morismus [the] charioteer. During the second century, the amphitheater was rebuilt and adapted for use as a more standard type of amphitheater. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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The Aqueduct at Caesarea

The Aqueduct, which provided an abundant supply of water, was built in the Herodian period; it was later repaired and enlarged to a double channel when the city grew. The upper aqueduct begins at the springs located some nine kilometers northeast of Caesarea, at the foot of Mt. Carmel. It was constructed with considerable engineering know-how, ensuring the flow of water, by gravity, from the springs to the city. In some portions, the aqueduct was supported by rows of arches, then it crossed the kurkar ridge along the coast via a tunnel. Entering the city from the north, the water flowed through a network of pipes to collecting pools and fountains throughout the city. Many inscriptions in the aqueduct ascribe responsibility for its maintenance to the Second and Tenth Legions. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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The Negev and the Nabateans in Roman Times

Byzantine Churches in the Negev. In the first century BCE, the Nabateans (nomadic traders from Northern Arabia) established a kingdom in todays Kingdom of Jordan with Petra as its capital. They accumulated great wealth from their trade in costly perfumes and spices from East Africa and Arabia, which they transported by camel caravans to the southern Mediterranean port of Gaza. To secure their trade routes, the Nabateans built way stations at the intersections of the main routes at Kurnub (Mampsis), Shivta and Avdat. In the inhospitable Negev desert, the Nabateans developed an agriculture based on terraces built into the hillsides and on a sophisticated system for collecting every drop of available water: to capture flood waters, they constructed dams in the valleys; to collect rain water, they cut cisterns into the rock. Their way stations grew into cities. The Nabatean kingdom was conquered by the Romans in the year 106 and annexed to the Roman Empire. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Kurnub in Roman and Byzantine Times

Kurnub is located some 40 km. east of Beer Sheva, above Nahal Mamshit. The Romans fortified it as one of the limes, the network of forts demarcating and protecting the eastern border of the Roman Empire. During the Roman and Byzantine periods, Kurnub was a flourishing city. In the second half of the 4th century, two churches were built here. The city was abandoned at the time of the Arab conquest (mid-7th century). The Eastern Church was built on the highest point of the city. It is part of a 55 x 25 m. complex consisting of service rooms and a small bathhouse. In front of the church was an atrium (courtyard) surrounded by porticoes (roofed aisles); under the courtyard was a cistern covered over with arches. The church measured 25.5 x 15 m., had two rows of columns, a bema (raised platform) and an apse. The hall of the church was paved with mosaics in geometrical patterns and large crosses; the aisles were paved with stone slabs. A small room with a baptismal font in its floor was found south of the church. Parts of the foundations of a four-roomed tower were uncovered near the entrance to the church, apparently a bell tower, since a large stone sundial was found there. The smaller but more elaborate Western Church, located in the western part of the city, was of similar design. The mosaic floor of its hall was divided into octagonal medallions in which birds and baskets of fruit are depicted, with two peacocks in front of the raised platform. Two of the dedicatory inscriptions mention a man by the name of Nilus as the builder of the church, as well as the names of two of the churchs beadles. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Shivta in Roman and Byzantine Times

Shivta is located some 40 km. southwest of Beer Sheva. Some of the buildings now standing date from the Roman period, but most were built in Byzantine times, when the inhabitants engaged in intensive agriculture. In the 4th century two churches were built here (the northern and the southern); later, in the 5th-6th century, when the city expanded, the central church was added. Shivta appears to have been abandoned at some point during the Islamic period (9th-10th century). The Southern Church was built among the Roman-period buildings, next to the water cisterns. Because of lack of space it had only one apse, with a room on either side of it. In the 6th century, these rooms were turned into two small side apses with wall paintings, surviving fragments of which depict Moses and Elija and the Transfiguration of Christ. During a later phase, several rooms were added north of the basilica, including chapels and a large baptistery with a stone cruciform baptismal font and a smaller, rock-cut font for infant baptism. An inscription on a lintel attests to the building of these annexes at the beginning of the 5th century, and one incorporated into the floor the year 640. The Northern Church was part of a large monastery, which consisted of many courtyards and some 40 rooms, in the very north of the city. The only entrance to the church was through a particularly large atrium (21 x 15 m.), which had an opening into the rock-cut cistern beneath it. Between the atrium and the church is a narthex (passageway) leading to the triple entrance of the basilica, which measures 12 x 10 m., divided by two rows of six columns into a main hall and two aisles. As in the northern church, the original central apse with rooms on either side of it was replaced with a triple apse in the 6th century. Niches in the rear walls of the side apses probably contained reliquaries. Marble slabs covered the floor and also the lower part of the walls. A chapel was constructed south of the basilica, with an apse in its eastern side. The floor is paved with mosaics in geometrical patterns and contains an inscription attesting to its construction in the time of Bishop Thomas in the fifth year of the indiction (517). The baptistery, with a large stone-cut baptismal font, lies south of the chapel. It was also used as a cemetery, and contains several gravestones with the names of monks and priests, dated between 612 and 679. The Central Church was built in the center of the new (5th-6th century) residential quarter in the northern part of Shivta. It has a small, narrow atrium through which one enters a basilica measuring 18 x 14 m. Along its length run two rows of four columns and on its eastern side are three apses. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Shivta in Roman and Byzantine Times

Shivta is located some 40 km. southwest of Beer Sheva. Some of the buildings now standing date from the Roman period, but most were built in Byzantine times, when the inhabitants engaged in intensive agriculture. In the 4th century two churches were built here (the northern and the southern); later, in the 5th-6th century, when the city expanded, the central church was added. Shivta appears to have been abandoned at some point during the Islamic period (9th-10th century). The Southern Church was built among the Roman-period buildings, next to the water cisterns. Because of lack of space it had only one apse, with a room on either side of it. In the 6th century, these rooms were turned into two small side apses with wall paintings, surviving fragments of which depict Moses and Elija and the Transfiguration of Christ. During a later phase, several rooms were added north of the basilica, including chapels and a large baptistery with a stone cruciform baptismal font and a smaller, rock-cut font for infant baptism. An inscription on a lintel attests to the building of these annexes at the beginning of the 5th century, and one incorporated into the floor the year 640. The Northern Church was part of a large monastery, which consisted of many courtyards and some 40 rooms, in the very north of the city. The only entrance to the church was through a particularly large atrium (21 x 15 m.), which had an opening into the rock-cut cistern beneath it. Between the atrium and the church is a narthex (passageway) leading to the triple entrance of the basilica, which measures 12 x 10 m., divided by two rows of six columns into a main hall and two aisles. As in the northern church, the original central apse with rooms on either side of it was replaced with a triple apse in the 6th century. Niches in the rear walls of the side apses probably contained reliquaries. Marble slabs covered the floor and also the lower part of the walls. A chapel was constructed south of the basilica, with an apse in its eastern side. The floor is paved with mosaics in geometrical patterns and contains an inscription attesting to its construction in the time of Bishop Thomas in the fifth year of the indiction (517). The baptistery, with a large stone-cut baptismal font, lies south of the chapel. It was also used as a cemetery, and contains several gravestones with the names of monks and priests, dated between 612 and 679. The Central Church was built in the center of the new (5th-6th century) residential quarter in the northern part of Shivta. It has a small, narrow atrium through which one enters a basilica measuring 18 x 14 m. Along its length run two rows of four columns and on its eastern side are three apses. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Avdat in Roman and Byzantine Times

Avdat is located on a mountain ridge in the center of the Negev highlands. In the middle of the 3rd century it was resettled and became an important Roman military outspost, with a residential quarter on the spur southeast of the acropolis. In the sixth century, under Byzantine rule, Avdat had an estimated population of 3,000. New agricultural crops were grown in the valleys around the city and a number of wine presses, which have been excavated, indicate intensive vine cultivation. A citadel and a monastery with two churches were built on the acropolis. The city was destroyed, probably by earthquake, and abandoned in the 7th century. The Northern Church, in basilical style, was reached through an atrium with a cistern and had a single apse. Behind it, to the west, was a baptismal font in cruciform shape and a smaller font for baptizing infants. The more important Southern Church had three apses on the eastern side. In the floor are reliquaries for the remains of local saints. In the floor of the prayer hall of the church are the tombs of clerical dignitaries with inscriptions on stone slabs covering the tombs, dating from 542 to 618. One of the inscriptions gives the name of the church, The Martyrion of St. Theodorus, also known from other inscriptions, who served as abbot of the monastery of Avdat and was buried in this church. The excavations at Kurnub were conducted by A. Negev of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the National Parks Authority; the excavations at Shivta date from the 1930s . Cleaning and restoration was done on behalf of the National Parks Authority under A. Aviyonah; the excavations at Avdat were conducted by A. Negev on behalf of the National Parks Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Avdat in Roman and Byzantine Times

Avdat is located on a mountain ridge in the center of the Negev highlands. In the middle of the 3rd century it was resettled and became an important Roman military outspost, with a residential quarter on the spur southeast of the acropolis. In the sixth century, under Byzantine rule, Avdat had an estimated population of 3,000. New agricultural crops were grown in the valleys around the city and a number of wine presses, which have been excavated, indicate intensive vine cultivation. A citadel and a monastery with two churches were built on the acropolis. The city was destroyed, probably by earthquake, and abandoned in the 7th century. The Northern Church, in basilical style, was reached through an atrium with a cistern and had a single apse. Behind it, to the west, was a baptismal font in cruciform shape and a smaller font for baptizing infants. The more important Southern Church had three apses on the eastern side. In the floor are reliquaries for the remains of local saints. In the floor of the prayer hall of the church are the tombs of clerical dignitaries with inscriptions on stone slabs covering the tombs, dating from 542 to 618. One of the inscriptions gives the name of the church, The Martyrion of St. Theodorus, also known from other inscriptions, who served as abbot of the monastery of Avdat and was buried in this church. The excavations at Kurnub were conducted by A. Negev of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the National Parks Authority; the excavations at Shivta date from the 1930s . Cleaning and restoration was done on behalf of the National Parks Authority under A. Aviyonah; the excavations at Avdat were conducted by A. Negev on behalf of the National Parks Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

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Tiberias in Wikipedia

Tiberias (pronounced /taɪˈbɪəri.əs/; Hebrew: טְבֶרְיָה‎, Tverya (audio) (help·info); Arabic: طبرية‎, Ṭabariyyah) is a city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, Lower Galilee, Israel. Established in 20 CE, it was named in honour of the emperor Tiberius.[2] Tiberias has been venerated in Judaism since the middle of the 2nd-century[3] and since the 16th century, has been considered one of Judaism's Four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed.[4] In the 2nd-10th centuries, Tiberias was the largest Jewish city in the Galilee, and the political and religious hub of the Jews of Palestine. According to Christian tradition, Jesus performed several miracles in the Tiberias district, making it an important pilgrimage site for devout Christians.[5] Tiberias has historically been known for its hot springs, believed to cure skin and other ailments, for thousands of years.[5] History - Jewish and Roman period - Tiberias was founded sometime around 20 CE in the Judea Province of Rome by Roman-Jewish client king Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, who made it the capital of his realm in Galilee.[6] It had a Jewish majority, living alongside a heterogeneous population.[6] It was named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. There is a legend that Tiberias was built on the site of the Israelite village of Rakkat, mentioned in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 19:35).[6] A discussion of Tiberias as Rakkat appears in the Talmud.[7] In The Antiquities of the Jews, the Roman Jewish historian Josephus states that Tiberias was near Emmaus.[2] This location is repeated in The Wars of the Jews.[8] Under the Roman Empire, the city was known by its Greek name Τιβεριάς (Tiberiás, Modern Greek Τιβεριάδα Tiveriáda), an adaptation of the taw-suffixed Semitic form that preserved its feminine grammatical gender. In the days of Antipas, the more religious (as opposed to Hellenized) Jews refused to settle there; the presence of a cemetery rendered the site ritually unclean. Antipas settled many non-Jews there from rural Galilee and other parts of his domains in order to populate his new capital, and built a palace on the acropolis.[9] The prestige of Tiberias was so great that the sea of Galilee soon came to be named the sea of Tiberias; however, what would now be called Jewish zealots continued to call it 'Yam Ha-Kinerett', its traditional name.[9] The city was governed by a city council of 600 with a committee of 10 until 44 CE when a Roman Procurator was set over the city after the death of Agrippa I.[9] In 61 CE Agrippa II annexed the city to his kingdom whose capital was Caesarea Phillippi.[10] During the First Jewish–Roman War Josephus Flavius took control of the city and destroyed Herod's palace but was able to stop the city from being pillaged by his Jewish army.[9][11] Where most other cities in Palestine were razed, Tiberias was spared because its inhabitants remained loyal to Rome after Josephus Flavius had surrendered the city to the Roman emperor Vespasian.[9][12] It became a mixed city after the fall of Jerusalem; with Judea subdued, the southern Jewish population migrated to Galilee.[13][14] In 145 CE, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai "cleansed the city of ritual impurity allowing Jews to settle in the city in numbers." [10] The Sanhedrin, the Jewish court, also fled from Jerusalem during the Great Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire, and after several moves eventually settled in Tiberias in about 150 CE.[9][14] It was to be its final meeting place before its disbanding in the early Byzantine period. Following the expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem after 135, Tiberias and its neighbor Sepphoris became the major Jewish centres. From the time when Yochanan bar Nafcha (d. 279) settled in Tiberias, the city became the focus of Jewish religious scholarship in the land. The Mishnah along with the Jerusalem Talmud, (the written discussions of generations of rabbis in the Land of Israel – primarily in the academies of Tiberias and Caesarea), was probably compiled in Tiberias by Rabbi Judah haNasi in around 200 CE.[14] The 13 synagogues served the spiritual needs of a growing Jewish population.[9] In the sixth century Tiberias was still the seat of Jewish religious learning. In light of this, Bishop Simeon of Beth Arsham urged the Christians of Palestine to seize the leaders of Judaism in Tiberias, to put them to the rack, and to compel them to command the Jewish king, Dhu Nuwas, to desist from persecuting the Christians in Najran.[15] In 614, Tiberias was the site where during the final Jewish revolt against the Byzantine Empire, some of the Jewish population supported the Persian invaders; the Christians were massacred and the churches destroyed. In 628 the Byzantium army retook Tiberias and the slaughter of the Christians was then reciprocated with a slaughter of the Jews.[citation needed] Middle Ages - In 636 CE Tiberias was the regional capital until Bet Shean took its place following the Rashidun conquest. The Caliphate allowed 70 Jewish families from Tiberias to form the core of a renewed Jewish presence in Jerusalem and the importance of Tiberias to Jewish life declined.[10] The caliphs of the Umayyad Dynasty built one of its square-plan palaces on the waterfront to the north of Tiberias, at Khirbet al-Minya. Tiberias was revitalised in 749 after Bet Shean was destroyed in an earthquake.[10] Jewish scholarship flourished from the beginning of the 8th century to the end of the 10th., when the oral traditions of ancient Hebrew, still in use today, were codified. One of the leading members of the Tiberian masoretic community was Aaron ben Moses ben Asher, who refined the oral tradition now known as Tiberian Hebrew. Ben Asher is also credited with putting the finishing touches on the Aleppo Codex, the oldest existing manuscript of the Hebrew scriptures. The Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi writing in 985, describes Tiberias as "the capital of Jordan Province, and a city in the Valley of Canaan...The town is narrow, hot in summer and unhealthy...There are here eight natural hot baths, where no fuel need be used, and numberless basins besides of boiling water. The mosque is large and fine, and stands in the market- place. Its floor is laid in pebbles, set on stone drums, placed close one to another." According to Muqaddesi, those who suffered from scab or ulcers, and other such diseases came to Tiberias to bath in the hot springs for three days. "Afterwards they dip in another spring which is cold, whereupon...they become cured."[16] In 1033 Tiberias was again destroyed by an earthquake.[10] Nasir-i Khusrou visited in 1047, and describes a city with a "strong wall" which begins at the border of the lake and goes all around the town except on the water-side. Furthermore, he describes "numberless buildings erected in the very water, for the bed of the lake in this part is rock; and they have built pleasure houses that are supported on columns of marble, rising up out of the water. The lake is very full of fish. [] The Friday Mosque is in the midst of the town. At the gate of the mosque is a spring, over which they have built a hot bath. [] On the western side of the town is a mosque known as the Jasmine Mosque (Masjid-i-Yasmin). It is a fine building and in the middle part rises a great platform (dukkan), where they have their Mihrabs (or prayer-niches). All round those they have set jasmine-shrubs, from which the mosque derives its name."[17] During the First Crusade it was occupied by the Franks, soon after the capture of Jerusalem and it was given in fief to Tancred, who made it his capital of the Principality of Galilee in the Kingdom of Jerusalem; the region was sometimes called the Principality of Tiberias, or the Tiberiad.[18] In 1099 the original site of the city was abandoned, and settlement shifted north to the present location.[10] St. Peter's Church, originally built by the Crusaders, is still standing today, although the building has been altered and reconstructed over the years. In the 12th-century, the city was the subject of negative undertones in Islamic tradition. A hadith recorded by Ibn Asakir of Damascus (d. 1176) names Tiberias as one of the "four cities of hell."[19] This could have been reflecting the fact that at the time, the town had a notable non-Muslim population.[20] In 1187 Saladin ordered his son al-Afdal to send an envoy to Count Raymond of Tripoli requesting safe passage through his fiefdom of Galilee and Tiberias. Raymond was obliged to grant the request under the terms of his treaty with Saladin. Saladin's force left Caesarea Philippi to engage the fighting force of the Knights Templar. The Templar force was destroyed in the encounter. Saladin then besieged Tiberias; after six days the town fell. On July 4, 1187 Saladin defeated the Crusaders coming to relieve Tiberias at the Battle of Hattin, 10 km outside the city. [21] At the beginning of the 12th century the Jewish community numbered about 50 families; and at that time the best manuscripts of the Torah were said to be found there.[15] Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, (Maimonides), a leading Jewish legal scholar, philosopher and physician of his period, died in 1204 and was buried in Tiberias, now one of the city's important pilgrimage sites. Yakut, writing in the 1220s, described Tiberias as a small town, long and narrow. He also describes the "hot salt springs, over which they have built Hammams which use no fuel. Tabariyyah was first conquered by (the Arab commander) Shurahbil in the year 13 (634 AD) by capitulation; one half of the houses and churches were to belong to the Muslims, the other half to the Christians."[22] In 1265 the Crusaders were driven from the city by the Mamluks, who ruled Tiberias until the Ottoman conquest in 1516. [10]...

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Timna in Wikipedia

Timna (Arabic,تمنة) is an ancient city in Yemen, the capital of the Qataban kingdom; it is distinct from a city in Southern Israel that shares the same name. During ancient times, Timna was an important hub in the famous Incense Route (which supplied Arabian and Indian incense via camel caravan to ports on the Mediterranean Sea, most notably Gaza in Palestine, and Petra, in Jordan). An American excavation of Timna took place in the 1950s. For a modern treatment of the city, see: Beihan

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Domus Galilaeae in Wikipedia

Domus Galilaeae or House of Galilee (Hebrew: בית הגליל‎), located on the peak of Mount of Beatitudes, above and north of Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee, is a modern Christian meeting place, primarily used for Christian seminars and conventions. Run by the Neocatechumenal Way, Domus Galilaeae employs about 150 persons full time, including laborers, technicians, and volunteers. There are 37 Arab Christian workers, 32 Arab Muslims, 20 Druzes, 10 Maronites, and 21 Hebrew technicians. [1] It has a number of meeting rooms, prayer halls, gardens and a library. Its architectural design, its arts, and the spirit of the place makes it a unique site and a recommended stop for travelers in the area. History -- The building was constructed in a short period of time with the first stone being laid in January 1999 and the opening of the site taking place in 2000. It was inaugurated by the Pope John Paul II in his Millennium visit to the Holy Land. The library was constructed in 2005.

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Cave of Elijah in Wikipedia

The Cave of Elijah is a cave in which the biblical Elijah sought shelter on his journey in the wilderness. Elijah the Prophet of Yahweh traveled, for 40 days and 40 nights into the Wilderness of Sin, to Mount Horeb, the original mountain where Moses saw the burning bush and where the Israelites made a covenant with God. Upon reaching the Mountain, he sought shelter in a cave. God again spoke to Elijah (1 Kings 19:9 ): "What doest thou here, Elijah?". Elijah did not give a direct answer to the LORD's question but evades and equivocates, implying that the work the LORD had begun centuries earlier had now come to nothing, and that his own work was fruitless. Unlike Moses, who tried to defend Israel when they sinned with the golden calf, Elijah bitterly complains over the Israelites' unfaithfulness and says he is the "only one left". Up until this time Elijah has only the word of God to guide him, but now he is told to go outside the cave and "stand before the Lord." A terrible wind passes, but God was not in the wind. A great earthquake shook the mountain, but God was not in the earthquake. Then a fire passes the mountain, but God was not in the fire. Then a "still small voice" comes to Elijah and asks again, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" Elijah again evades the question and his lament is unrevised, showing that he did not understand the importance of the divine revelation he had just witnesed. God then sends him out again, this time to Damascus to anoint Hazael as king of Syria, Jehu as king of Israel, and Elisha as his replacement. Mount Horeb is thought to be located in the land of Midian.

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Mary's Well in Wikipedia

Mary’s Well (Arabic: عين العذراء, Ain il-'adra‎, or "The spring of the Virgin Mary") is reputed to be located at the site where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would bear the Son of God - an event known as the Annunciation. Found just below the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in modern-day Nazareth, the well was positioned over an underground spring that served for centuries as a local watering hole for the Arab villagers. Renovated twice, once in 1967 and once in 2000, the current structure is a symbolic representation of the structure that was once in use. In the New Testament -- The earliest written account that lends credence to a well or spring being the site of the Annunciation comes from the Protoevangelium of James, a non-canonical gospel dating to the second century. The author writes: "And she took the pitcher and went forth to draw water, and behold, a voice said: 'Hail Mary, full of grace, you are blessed among women.'"[1] However, neither the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke nor the Gospel of John mention the drawing of water in their accounts of the Annunciation. Similarly, the Koran records a spirit visiting a chaste Mary to inform her that the Lord has granted her a son to bear, without referencing the drawing of water. Through history -- An underground spring in Nazareth traditionally served as the city’s main water source for several centuries, possibly millennia; however, it was not always referred to as "Mary's well" or "Mary's spring". According to the Rosicrucian Forum (1935), before the Christian era, it was known as the "spring of the guard house", so named because the few houses located by it at the time housed a number of local guards who patrolled an important highway that passed by the well.[2] In his book, The Bible as History, Werner Keller writes that "Mary's Well" or "Ain Maryam", as the locals called it, had been so named since "time immemorial" and that it provided the only water supply in the area.[3] William Rae Wilson also describes "a well of the Virgin, which supplied the inhabitants of Nazareth with water" in his book, Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land (1824). [4] James Finn, then British Consul in Jerusalem, visited Nazareth in late June 1853 and his company pitched their tents near the fountain, - the only fountain there. He writes that "the water at this spring was very deficient this summer season, yielding only a petty trickling to the anxious inhabitants. All night long the women were there with their jars, chattering, laughing, or scolding in competition for their turns. [ ] It suggested a strange current of ideas to overhear pert damsels using the name of Miriam (Mary), in jest and laughter at the fountain of Nazareth"[5] While the current structure referred to as Mary's Well is a non-functional reconstruction inaugurated as part of the Nazareth 2000 celebrations,[6] the traditional Mary's Well was a local watering hole, with an overground stone structure. Through the centuries, villagers would gather here to fill water pitchers (up until 1966) or otherwise congregate to relax and exchange news.[7] At another area not too far off, which tapped into the same water source, shepherds and others with domesticated animals would bring their herds to drink. The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, located a little further up the hill from the current site of Mary's Well, is a Byzantine era church built over the spring in 3CE, based on the belief that the Annunciation took place at the site. The Catholic Church believes the Annuciation to have take place less than 0.5km away at the Basilica of the Annunciation, a now modern structure which houses an older church inside of it that dates from 4CE. Recent Archaeological Discoveries -- Excavations by Yardenna Alexandre and Butrus Hanna of the Israel Antiquities Authority in 1997-98 - sponsored by the Nazareth Municipality and the Government Tourist Corporation - discovered a series of underground water systems and suggested that the site today known as Mary’s Well served as Nazareth's main water supply from as early as Byzantine times. Despite having found Roman era potsherds, Alexandre's report claimed hard evidence of Roman-era use of the site was lacking. [8] Bathhouse -- In the late 1990s, a local Nazareth couple, Elias and Martina Shama, were trying to discover the source of a water leak in their gift shop, Cactus, just in front of Mary’s Well. Digging through the wall, they discovered underground passages that, upon further digging revealed a vast underground complex. A North American research team conducted high-resolution ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys at a number of locations in and around Mary’s Well in 2004-5 to determine appropriate locations for further digging to be conducted beneath the bathhouse. Samples were collected for radio-carbon dating and the initial data from GPR readings seem to confirm the presence of additional subterranean structures. [9] In 2003, archaeologist Richard Freund stated his belief that the site was clearly of Roman-era origins: ""I am sure that what we have here is a bathhouse from the time of Jesus," he says, "and the consequences of that for archaeology, and for our knowledge of the life of Jesus, are enormous."[10] Carbon 14 dating was done on 3 samples of charcoal, each was found to come from a very different time period, indicating the bath house had been used in multiple periods, and at least was used sometime between 1300-1400, although with only 3 samples dated, it is possible for the bath house to be older.[11]

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Mary’s Tomb in Wikipedia

Mary's Tomb is a tomb located in the Kidron Valley, on the foothills of Mount of Olives, near the Church of All Nations and Gethsemane garden, originally just outside Jerusalem. It is regarded as the burial place of Mary, the mother of Jesus by most Eastern Christians (many of whom refer to her as Theotokos)[1][2], in contradistinction to the House of the Virgin Mary near Ephesus. Her remains are not in the tomb though as it is believed that she was assumed bodily into heaven. History -- Repairs necessitated by a flood in 1972 afforded the opportunity for archaeological investigation of the site. Bellarmino Bagatti, a franciscan friar and controversial[3] archaeologist, performed the excavation, and found evidence of an ancient cemetery, which he dated to the 1st century; his findings have not yet been subject to peer review by the wider archaeological community, and the validity of his dating has not been fully assessed. Bagatti interpreted the remains to indicate that the cemetery's initial structure consisted of three chambers (the actual tomb being the inner chamber of the whole complex), was adjudged in accordance with the customs of that period. Later, the tomb interpreted by the local Christians to be that of Mary's was isolated from the rest of the necropolis, by cutting the surrounding rock face away from it. An edicule was built on the tomb[4]. A small upper church on an octagonal footing was built by Patriarch Juvenal (during Marcian's rule) over the location in the 5th century, and was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 614. During the following centuries the church was destroyed and rebuilt many times, but the crypt was left untouched, as for the Muslims it is the burial place of the mother of prophet Isa. It was rebuilt then in 1130 by the Crusaders, who installed a walled Benedictine monastery, the Abbey of St. Mary of the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The monastic complex included early Gothic columns, red-on-green frescoes, and three towers for protection. The staircase and entrance were also part of the Crusaders' church. This church was destroyed by Saladin in 1187, but the crypt was still respected; all that was left was the south entrance and staircase, the masonry of the upper church being used to build the walls of Jerusalem. In the second half of the 14th century Franciscan friars rebuilt the church once more. Since 1757, it has been owned by the Greek Orthodox Church. The Church -- The evidently empty interior of the sarcophagus. Preceded by a walled courtyard to the south, the cruciform church shielding the tomb has been excavated in an underground rock-cut cave[5] entered by a wide descending stair dating from the 12th century. On the left side of the staircase (towards the west) there is the chapel of Saint Joseph, Mary's husband, while on the right (towards the east) there is the chapel of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, holding also the tomb of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem. On the eastern side of the church there is the chapel of Mary's tomb. Altars of the Greeks and Armenians also share the east apse. A niche south of the tomb is a mihrab indicating the direction of Mecca, installed when Muslims had joint rights to the church. On the western side there is a Coptic altar. The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem is in possession of the shrine, sharing it with the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Syriacs, the Copts, and the Abyssinians have minor rights. Muslims also have a special place for prayer (the mihrab). Tradition -- The Sacred Tradition of Eastern Christianity teaches that the Virgin Mary died a natural death (the Dormition of the Theotokos, the falling asleep) like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, soul and body, into heaven in anticipation of the general resurrection. Her tomb, according to this teaching, was found empty on the third day. Roman Catholic teaching holds that Mary was "assumed" into heaven in bodily form, the Assumption; the question of whether or not Mary actually underwent physical death remains open in the Catholic view; however, most theologians believe that she did undergo death before her Assumption. A narrative known as the Euthymiaca Historia (written probably by Cyril of Scythopolis in the 5th century) relates how the Emperor Marcian and his wife, Pulcheria, requested the relics of the Virgin Mary from Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, while he was attending the Council of Chalcedon (451). According to the account, Juvenal replied that, on the third day after her burial, Mary's tomb was discovered to be empty, only her shroud being preserved in the church of Gethsemane. According to another tradition it was the Cincture of the Virgin Mary which was left behind in the tomb.[6] Authenticity -- The Eastern Orthodox Church acknowledges that Virgin Mary lived in the vicinity of Ephesus, in a place currently known as the House of the Virgin Mary and venerated by Christians and Muslims, but argues that she only stayed there for a few years; this teaching is based on the writings of the Holy Fathers. Although many Christians believe that no information about the end of Mary's life or her burial are provided in the New Testament accounts or early apocrypha, there are actually over 50 apocryphon about Mary's death (or other final fate). The 3rd century Book of John about the Dormition of Mary places her tomb in Gethsemene, as does the 4th century Treatise about the passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Breviarius of Jerusalem, a short text written in about AD 395,[7] mentions in that valley the basilica of Holy Mary, which contains her sepulchre. Later, Epiphanius of Salamis, Gregory of Tours, Isidore of Seville, Saint Modest, Sophronius of Jerusalem, German of Constantinople, Andrew of Crete, John of Damascus talk about the tomb being in Jerusalem, and bear witness that this tradition was accepted by all the Churches of East and West.

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Mount of Beatitudes in Wikipedia

The Mount of Beatitudes refers to the hill in northern Israel where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Location -- The traditional location for the Mount of Beatitudes is on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Gennesaret (Ginosar). The actual location of the Sermon on the Mount is not certain, but the present site (also known as Mount Eremos) has been commemorated for more than 1600 years. The site is very near Tabgha. Other suggested locations have included the nearby Mount Arbel, or even the Horns of Hattin. Churches at the site -- A Byzantine church was erected near the current site in the 4th century, and it was used until the 7th century. Remains of a cistern and a monastery are still visible. The current Roman Catholic Franciscan chapel was built in 1938. Other -- Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass at this site in March 2000. The Jesus Trail pilgrimage route connects the Mount to other sites from the life of Jesus. Vasco Nasorri is the italian artist who realised the mosaic installed in the floor in front of the Church in 1984

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Valley of Elah in Wikipedia

The Valley of Elah, "the valley of the oak or terebinth" [1] (Hebrew: עמק האלה‎ Emek HaElah) (Arabic Wadi es-Sunt), best known as the place described in the Bible where the Israelites were encamped when David fought Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2, 19). It was near Azekah and Socho (17:1). On the west side of the valley, near Socho, there is a very large and ancient tree of this kind, 55 feet in height, its trunk 17 feet in circumference, and the breadth of its shade no less than 75 feet. It marks the upper end of the valley, and forms a noted object, being one of the largest terebinths in the area. The Valley of Elah has gained new importance as a point of support for the argument that Israel was more than a tribal chiefdom in the time of King David. At Khirbet Qeiyafa, southwest of Jerusalem in the Elah Valley, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel has discovered a fortified Judahite city from the Iron Age IIa (1000–900 B.C.). Pottery styles and carbon dating place occupation in the early tenth century. The fortifications have been said to support the Biblical account of the United Monarchy at the beginning of Iron Age II.[2]

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Yad Hashmonah in Wikipedia

Yad Hashmona (Hebrew: יַד הַשְּׁמוֹנָה‎, lit. Memorial for the Eight) is a small moshav shitufi in central Israel, located in the Judean Mountains on the outskirts of Jerusalem, within the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council. The village was originally founded in the early 1970s by Finnish Christians but is today populated mainly by native Israeli Messianic Jews. In 2006 it had a population of 93. History - Yad Hashmona was founded in 1971 as a gesture of solidarity with the State of Israel. It is named for eight Jewish refugees from Austria who escaped to Finland in 1938. The Finnish government, collaborating with the Nazis, handed the refugees over to the Gestapo in 1942. Seven of them died in Auschwitz.[1] Economy - The community runs a guesthouse, convention center and banquet hall. In 2000, a biblical village was inaugurated with the assistance of the Swiss Beth Shalom society and the Israel Antiquities Authority.[2] A Biblical garden planted on the hillside provides a glimpse of agriculture in ancient times.[3]

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Yehiam in Wikipedia

Yehiam (Hebrew: יְחִיעָם‎) founded on November 26, 1946, is a Kibbutz located in the western Upper Galilee region of Israel - about 10 miles due east of the coastal town of Nahariya and five miles south of the border with Lebanon. Yehiam is located some 400 meteres above sea level, and is under the jurisdiction of the Matte Asher Regional Council. It features the ruins of a castle, atop a prominent hill, that is said to date from the time of the Crusades at the 12th century. The fortress has been under comprehensive overhaul during the 18th century, made by Dhaher al-Omar, and was occupied later on by Bedouin tribes when it was called Khirbat Jiddin, and then by the defenders of the new Kibbutz. History -- Yehiam was founded by members of the Zionist-socialist Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, and was named after Yehiam Weitz, son of zionist leader Yosef Weitz. Yehiam was a Palmach member who was killed at the "Night of the Bridges", Palmach operation of June 16 and June 17, 1946. The local British authorities assisted in the kibbutz establishment, despite it being against British policy.[1] The 1947 UN Partition Plan put Yehiam within the limits of the Arab state rather than the Jewish one. However, the siege of the Galilee saw Yehiam taken by Jewish forces during Operation Hiram in 1948. On March 27, 1948, a Haganah convoy was sent to reinforce the kibbutz which had been holding out against constant Arab attacks. The Yehiam convoy was ambushed near Kabri and 47 soldiers were killed. Yehiam was initially called Kibbutz HaSela (lit. The Rock). The origin of the name was the first Israeli Nahal group's name who had set sail at the fortress in 1946. Those pioneers were joined that year with Holocaust survivors - Hashomer Hatzair members from Hungary, as well as survivors from other parts of Europe. The Kibbutz life in the first years were handled in and around the fortress. The members lived inside the ancient structure using tents. The small kitchen provided meals as long as the supplies from the outside has managed to reach the isolated high fortress overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Daylight provided plenty of visibility for Arab troops settled on the hills surrounding the fortress, and a massive fire hit the fortress walls and outposts, killing several Kibbutz members during the heavy fire exchange. The members however, managed to keep on a decent routine, a hard one, but also necessary for their future. Communication with the outside world was made using bonfire and flashlight signals during the nights, as well as pigeon post. Those were directed towards Nahariya, but mainly towards Kiryat Haim, where Yehiam initially was founded at the very beginning. It was also the place where the women and the first born children stayed in those days to keep safe during the times of war. in times of (relative) calmness, Yehiam members worked the land, growing a variety of crops, such as vegetables, vineyard, and peachs. As the 1948 Arab-Israeli War came to an end, the siege of the Galilee ended and the conditions improved greatly. At the beginning of the new decade, the first new houses emerged, including the first children house which was occupied by the Kibbutz's first new born generation. An additional human resource was added as new Hashomer Hatzair groups has joined from different parts of Israel, as well as Aliya of that same movement from Cuba, France, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia. The kibbutz was now establishing its new sources of income. A sweets factory was the first industry in Yehiam, alongside with agriculture which included bananas, citrus, avocado, dairy farming, wheat, cotton and corn, and a large tobacco crop. In a constant pursuit of a new, profitable industry during the 1960s, Yehiam has finally set its targets in 1969, and has formed Deli- Yehiam: A kosher meat factory specializing in producing a variety of beef and chicken delicacy. Deli-Yehiam today dominates 20 percent of the local Israeli sausage and pastrami market, and exports unique meat products to the United States and Europe. In the early 90's, Yehiam used its natural resources and modified 60 rooms into a crusader style guest house at the foot of the castle, naming it Teva Be-Yehiam (lit. Nature in Yehiam).

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Mount of Olives in Wikipedia

The Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, Hebrew: הר הזיתים‎, Har HaZeitim ;Arabic: جبل الزيتون, الطور‎, Jebel az-Zeitun) is a mountain ridge in east Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south.[1] The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters (2,683 ft).[2] It is named for the olive groves that covers its slopes. The Mount of Olives is associated with Jewish and Christian traditions. History -- Two of the many Rock-cut tombs in ancient Israel; traditionally, the tombs of Zechariah and Beit Hezir. From Biblical times until today, Jews have been buried on the Mount of Olives. The necropolis on the southern ridge, the location of the modern village of Silwan, was the burial place of the city's most important citizens in the period of the Biblical kings.[3] There are an estimated 150,000 graves on the Mount, including tombs traditionally associated with Zechariah and Avshalom (Absalom). Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar, author of Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, is also buried there. Important rabbis from the 15th to the 20th centuries are buried there, among them Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, and his son Zvi Yehuda Kook. During the Islamization of Jerusalem under Jordanian occupation form 1948 to 1967, Jewish burials were halted, massive vandalism took place, and 40,000 of the 50,000 graves were desecrated.[4][5][6][7] King Hussein permitted the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel at the summit of the Mount of Olives together with a road that cut through the cemetery which destroyed hundreds of Jewish graves, some from the First Temple Period.[8][9][10] After the Six-Day War, restoration work began, and the cemetery was re-opened for burials. Roman soldiers from the 10th Legion camped on the Mount during the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE. The religious ceremony marking the start of a new month was held on the Mount of Olives in the days of the Second Temple.[11] After the destruction of the Temple, Jews celebrated the festival of Sukkot on the Mount of Olives. They made pilgrimages to the Mount of Olives because it was 80 meters higher than the Temple Mount and offered a panoramic view of the Temple site. It became a traditional place for lamenting the Temple's destruction, especially on Tisha B'Av.[11] In 1481, an Italian Jewish pilgrim, Rabbi Meshulam Da Volterra, wrote: "And all the community of Jews, every year, goes up to Mount Zion on the day of Tisha B'Av to fast and mourn, and from there they move down along Yoshafat Valley and up to Mount of Olives. From there they see the whole Temple (the Temple Mount) and there they weep and lament the destruction of this House."[12] In the mid-1850s, the villagers of Silwan were paid £100 annually by the Jews in an effort to prevent the desecration of graves on the mount. [13] Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin asked to be buried on the Mount of Olives near the grave of Etzel member Meir Feinstein, rather than Mount Herzl national cemetery.[14] Religious significance - Biblical references - The Mount of Olives is first mentioned in connection with David's flight from Absalom (II Samuel 15:30): "And David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up." The ascent was probably east of the City of David, near the village of Silwan.[1] The sacred character of the mount is alluded to in the Ezekiel (11:23): "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city."[1] Solomon built altars to the gods of his wives on the southern peak (I Kings 11:7-8). During the reign of King Josiah, the mount was called the Mount of Corruption (II Kings 23:13). An apocalyptic prophecy in the Book of Zechariah states that Yahweh will stand on the Mount of Olives and the mountain will split in two, with one half shifting north and one half shifting south (Zechariah 14:4). The biblical designation Har HaMashchit derives from the idol worship there, begun by King Solomon's Moabite and Ammonite wives "on the mountain which is before (east of) Jerusalem" (Kings I 11:17), just outside the limits of the holy city. This site was infamous for idol worship throughout the First Temple period, until king of Judah Josiah finally destroyed "the high places that were before Jerusalem, to the right of Har HaMashchit,..." Christian references - The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1 ;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 24-25), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39 ). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane. The New Testament, tells how Jesus and his friends sang together - "When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" Gospel of Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mt of Olives as recorded in the book of Acts 1:9-12...

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Mount of Temptation in Wikipedia

The Mount of Temptation was the hill in the Judean Desert where Jesus was tempted by the devil. The exact location is unknown, and impossible to determine. Atop the mount is the Monastery of the Temptation or "Qarantal". Above Qarantal, on top of the cliff, is a wall, that sits on the ruins of the Hasmonean (later Herodian) fortress, Dok – Dagon.

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Mount Scopus in Wikipedia

Mount Scopus (Hebrew הַר הַצּוֹפִים (Har HaTsofim), Arabic جبل المشارف Ǧabal al-Mašārif, lit. "Mount Lookout"), جبل المشهد Ǧabal al-Mašhad, جبل الصوانة) is a mountain (elevation: 2710 feet or 826 meters above sea level) in northeast Jerusalem, Israel. In the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Mount Scopus became a UN protected Jewish exclave within Jordanian-occupied territory until the Six-Day War in 1967. Today, Mount Scopus lies within the municipal boundaries of the city of Jerusalem. History [edit]Antiquity Overlooking Jerusalem, Mount Scopus has been strategically important as a base from which to attack the city since antiquity. A Roman Legion camped there in 66 CE.[1] Again in 70 CE Mount Scopus was used as a base to carry out a siege of the city by the 12th, 15th and 5th Legions (the 10th legions position being on the Mount of Olives).[2] The Crusaders used it as a base in 1099.[citation needed] [edit]Modern era After the ceasefire agreement of November 30, 1948, which established the division of East and West Jerusalem, Israel controlled the western part of the city while Jordan controlled the east. Several demilitarized "no man's land" zones were established along the border, one of them Mount Scopus.[3] Fortnightly convoys carrying supplies to the university and hospital located in the Israeli part of the demilitarized zone on Mount Scopus were periodically held up by Jordanian troops.[4] Access to hospital and university campus was through a narrow road, a mile and a half long, passing through the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.[5] Arab sniper fire on vehicles moving along the access route became a regular occurrence, and road mines were laid. When food and supplies at the hospital begun to dwindle, a large convoy carrying doctors and supplies set out for the besieged hospital, leading to an attack that became known as the Hadassah medical convoy massacre.[5] Article VIII of the 1949 Armistice Agreements signed by Israel and Jordan in April 1949[6] called for a resumption of "the normal functioning of the cultural and humanitarian institutions on Mount Scopus and free access thereto; free access to the Holy Places and cultural institutions and use of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives; resumption of operation of the Latrun pumping station; provision of electricity for the Old City; and resumption of operation of the railroad to Jerusalem."[6] In January 1958, Francis Urrutia, a representative of the UN Secretary-General, tried to persuade Jordan to abide by Article VIII, but without success.[4] In May 1958, Jordanian soldiers fired on Israeli patrols, killing a UN officer and four Israeli policemen. Ralph Bunche, assistant to UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld visited Jerusalem and Amman to find a solution, followed by Hammarskjöld himself, again unsuccessfully.[4] The Mount Scopus Agreement signed on July 7, 1948 regulated the demilitarised zone around Mount Scopus and authorized the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization to settle disputes between the Israelis and Jordanians. Two Jewish-owned plots in al-Issawiya, known as Gan Shlomit or Salomons Garden, were purchased by Mrs. V.F. Salomons in 1934 and sold to the Gan Shlomit Company, Ltd. in 1937.[7] This land was surrounded by a fence, but clashes erupted when Arabs living on the other side of the fence sought to cultivate land, pick olives and carry out repairs on homes close to the fence. The Arabs were requested not to work closer than fifty metres from the fence unless prior permission was granted by the Israeli police.[7] There were two versions of the demilitarization agreement one was initialled by Franklyn M. Begley, a UN official; the local Jordanian commander and the Israeli local commander. The other was not initialled by the Israeli local commander. Having two versions of the map was the cause many incidents within the Mount Scopus area.[7]...

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Mount Tabor in Wikipedia

Mount Tabor (Hebrew: הַר תָּבוֹר‎, Arabic: {جبل الطور }, Greek: Όρος Θαβώρ) is located in Lower Galilee, at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, 17 kilometres (11 mi) west of the Sea of Galilee, in Israel. It was the site of the battle between Barak and the army of Jabin, commanded by Sisera during the leadership of the Israelite judge Deborah in the mid 14th century BCE. It is believed by many Christians to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus[1]. It is also known as Har Tavor, Itabyrium, Jebel et-Tur, and the Mount of Transfiguration. The Jewish village Kfar Tavor is located at its base, was well as two Arab communities: Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam (east) and Daburiyya (west). Geology -- The mountain is a horst, and is not volcanic. In spite of its proximity to the Nazareth mountains, it constitutes a separate geological form. History -- At the bottom of the mountain was an important roads junction: Via Maris passed there from the Jezreel Valley northward towards Damascus. Its location on the road junction and its bulgy formation above its environment gave mount Tabor a strategic value and wars were conducted in its area in different periods in history. [edit]The period of Joshua and Judges The mountain is mentioned for the first time in the Hebrew Bible, in Joshua 19:22 , as border of three tribes: Zebulun, Issachar and Naphtali. The mountain's importance stems from its strategic control of the junction of the Galilee's north- south route with the east-west highway of the Jezreel Valley. Deborah the Jewish prophetess summoned Barak of the tribe of Naphtali and gave him God's command, "Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun" (Judges 4:6). Descending from the mountain, the Israelites attacked and vanquished Sisera and the Canaanites. The Second Temple period -- In the days of Second Temple, Mount Tabor was one of the mountain peaks on which it was the customed to light beacons in order to inform the northern villages of Jewish holy days and of beginnings of new months. During a Hasmonean rebellion against the Roman Aulus Gabinius, Alexander of Judaea and his army of 31,000 Judeans, was defeated in battle near Mount Tabor. As many as 10,000 Jewish fighters were killed in the battle; Alexander himself was captured and executed. In 66 AD during the First Jewish-Roman War, the Galilean Jews retrenched on the mountain under the command of Josephus Flavius, whence they defended against the Roman assault. Mount Tabor was one of the 19 cities which the rebels in Galilee fortified, under the command of Yosef Ben Matityahu. According to what is written in the book "The Wars of the Jews", Vespasian sent an army of 600 riders, under the command of Platsidus, who fought the rebels. Platsidus understood that he could not reach the top of the steep mountain with his forces, and therefore called the fortified rebels to walk down the mountain. A group of Jewish rebels descended from the mountain, supposedly, in order to negotiate with Platsidus, but they attacked him. The Roman forces initially retreated, but while they were in the valley, they returned towards the mountain, attacked the Jewish rebels, killed many of them, and blocked the road for the remaining rebels who tried to flee back to the top of the mountain. Many of the Jewish rebels left Mount Tabor and returned to Jerusalem. The rest of the fortified rebels in the fortress on the mountain surrendered after the water, which they possessed, ran out. They, then, handed over the mountain to Platsidus.[2] After the destruction of the second temple the Jewish settlement in Mount Tabor was renewed...

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Nabataeans in Wikipedia

The Nabateans (Arabic: الأنباط‎ / ALA-LC: Al-Anbāṭ; Hebrew: נְבָיוֹת | Nevayōt, also נַבָּטִים | Nabatim) were an ancient Semitic people of southern Jordan, Canaan and the northern part of Arabia, whose oasis settlements in the time of Josephus (AD 37 – c. 100), gave the name of Nabatene to the borderland between Syria and Arabia, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. Their loosely-controlled trading network, which centered on strings of oases that they controlled, where agriculture was intensively practiced in limited areas, and on the routes that linked them, had no securely defined boundaries in the surrounding desert. Trajan conquered the Nabatean kingdom, annexing it to the Roman Empire, where their individual culture, easily identified by their characteristic finely-potted painted ceramics, became dispersed in the general Greco-Roman culture and was eventually lost. Culture -- Many examples of graffiti and inscriptions - largely of names and greetings - document the area of Nabatean culture, which extended as far north as the north end of the Dead Sea, and testify to widespread literacy; but no Nabatean literature has survived, nor was any noted in antiquity,[1] and the temples bear no inscriptions. Onomastic analysis has suggested [2] that the Nabatean culture may have embraced multiple ethnicities. Classical references to the Nabateans begin with Diodorus Siculus; they suggest that the Nabateans' trade routes and the origins of their goods were regarded as trade secrets, and disguised in tales that should have strained outsiders' credulity. Diodorus Siculus (book ii) described them as a strong tribe of some 10,000 warriors, pre-eminent among the nomads of Arabia, eschewing agriculture, fixed houses, and the use of wine, but adding to pastoral pursuits a profitable trade with the seaports in frankincense and myrrh and spices from Arabia Felix (today's Yemen), as well as a trade with Egypt in bitumen from the Dead Sea. Their arid country was their best safeguard, for the bottle-shaped cisterns for rain- water which they excavated in the rocky or clay-rich soil were carefully concealed from invaders.[3] The extent of Nabatean trade resulted in cross-cultural influences that reached as far as the Red Sea coast of southern Arabia. The gods worshipped at Petra were headed by Dushara and al-Uzza. Origins -- The brief Babylonian captivity of the Hebrews that began in 586 BC opened a minor power vacuum in Judah (prior to the Israelites' return under the Persian King, Cyrus), and as Edomites moved into open Judaean grazing lands, Nabatean inscriptions began to be left in Edomite territory. The first definite appearance was in 312 BC, when they were attacked at Petra without success by Antigonus I's officer Athenaeus as part of the Third War of the Diadochi; at that time Hieronymus of Cardia, a Seleucid officer, mentioned the Nabateans in a battle report. About 50 BC, the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus cited Hieronymus in his report,[clarification needed] and added the following: "Just as the Seleucids had tried to subdue them, so the Romans made several attempts to get their hands on that lucrative trade."[citation needed] Petra or Sela was the ancient capital of Edom; the Nabateans must have occupied the old Edomite country, and succeeded to its commerce, after the Edomites took advantage of the Babylonian captivity to press forward into southern Judaea. This migration, the date of which cannot be determined, also made them masters of the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba and the important harbor of Elath. Here, according to Agatharchides, they were for a time very troublesome, as wreckers and pirates, to the reopened commerce between Egypt and the East, until they were chastised by the Ptolemaic rulers of Alexandria.[citation needed] The Nabateans had already some tincture of foreign culture when they first appear in history. That culture was naturally Aramaic; they wrote a letter to Antigonus in Syriac letters, and Aramaic continued to be the language of their coins and inscriptions when the tribe grew into a kingdom, and profited by the decay of the Seleucids to extend its borders northward over the more fertile country east of the Jordan. They occupied Hauran, and in about 85 BC their king Aretas III became lord of Damascus and Coele-Syria. Nabateans became the Arabic name for Aramaeans, whether in Syria or Iraq, a fact which has been incorrectly held to prove that the Nabateans were originally Aramaean immigrants from Babylonia. Proper names on their inscriptions suggest that they were true Arabs who had come under Aramaic influence. Starcky identifies the Nabatu of southern Arabia (Pre-Khalan migration) as their ancestors. However different groups amongst the Nabateans wrote their names in slightly different ways, consequently archeologists are reluctant to say that they were all the same tribe, or that any one group is the original Nabateans[4]...

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Nabi Musa in Wikipedia

Nabi Musa (Arabic: نبي موسى‎, meaning the "Prophet Moses",[1] also transliterated Nebi Musa) is the name of a site in the Judean desert that popular Palestinian folklore associates with Moses. It is also the name of a seven-day long religious festival that was celebrated annually by Palestinian Muslims, beginning on the Friday before Good Friday in the old Orthodox Greek calendar.[2] Considered "the most important Muslim pilgrimage in Palestine,"[3] the festival centered around a collective pilgrimage from Jerusalem to what was understood to be the Tomb of Moses, near Jericho. History -- The Jerusalem-Jericho road was one of the primary routes used by Mediterranean Arabs to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The great, many-domed building which marks the Mausoleum of Moses was located at what would be have marked the end of the first day's march in that direction. Originally, it was simply a point from which pilgrims could look across the Jordan Valley and catch a glimpse of Mount Nebo where the tomb of Moses was thought to be located.[4] It appears to have become a fixed point in the local Muslim calendar from the time of Saladin.[5] In 1269 the Mamluk sultan Baibars al-Bunduqdari built a small shrine here, as part of a general policy he adopted after conquering towns and rural areas from Lebanon down to Hebron from the Crusaders. The shrines were mostly dedicated to biblical prophets and the companions of Mohammed, and their maintenance was funded by an awqaf, an endowment from properties that formerly belonged to the Latin Church. In the case of Nabi Musa, the waqf fund was secured from ecclesiastical assets expropriated in nearby Jericho.[6] Baibars al-Bunduqdari's constructive piety set a precedent for others. Over the late medieval period, hostels for travellers were built on adjacent to the shrine, and the hospice in its present form was completed in the decade between 1470 and 1480. Gradually, the lookout point for Moses' distant gravesite beyond the Jordan was confused with Moses' tomb itself, laying the ground for the cultic importance Nabi Musa was to acquire in the Palestinian worship of saints (walis). Ottoman Turks, around 1820, restored the buildings, which had, over the previous centuries, fallen into a state of dilapidated disrepair. In addition, they promoted a festive pilgrimage to the shrine, coinciding with the Christian celebration of Easter. This 'invention of tradition', as such imaginative constructs are called,[7] made the pageantry of the Nabi Musa pilgrimage a potent symbol of both political and religious identity among Muslims from the outset of the modern period. Over the nineteenth century, thousands of Muslims would assemble in Jerusalem, trek to Nabi Musa, and pass three days in feasting, prayer, games and visits to the large tomb two kilometres south, identified as that of Moses' shepherd, Hasan er-Rai, They were then entertained, as guests of the waqf, before returning on the seventh day triumphantly back to Jerusalem.[8] In the late nineteenth century, the Ottomans appointed the al-Husayni clan as official custodians of the shrine and hosts of the festival, though their connection with the cult may date back to the previous century. According to Yehoshua Ben-Aryeh, the governor of Jerusalem Rauf Pasha (1876–1888), was the first to attempt to exploit the festival to incite Muslims against Christians. Ilan Pappé offers a different view: 'It is more likely, however, that the governor and his government were rather apprehensive of such an anti-Christian uprising as it could stir instability and disorder at a time when the central government was trying to pacify the Empire. This had been indeed the impression of the engineer (seconded to the Palestine Exploration Fund) Claude Conder. The Hebrew paper, Ha-havazelet, at the time blessed the Ottoman government for imposing law and order in the Nabi Musa affair. The travelogues of Francis Newton testify as well to a peaceful execution of the ceremonies. Indeed, the Turkish government must have acted here against popular feelings, shared by the Husaynis as the masters of the ceremony that Nabi Musa was celebrated in the most unfavourable conditions for the Muslims. It was the iron fist imposed by the Turks that prevented the situation form deteriorating into an all out riot.'[9] Ottoman flags fly over the Nabi Musa for the last time, in 1917. The procession moved off from Jerusalem under a distinctive Nabi Musa banner which the Husaynis conserved for the annual occasion in their Dar al-Kabira. On arriving at the shrine, the al-Husaynis and another rising Jerusalem family of notables (A'ayan), the Yunis clan, were required to provide two meals a day over the week for all worshippers.[10] Once their vows were taken, or vows previously taken were renewed, they were offered to the festival. The priestly family conducting events would provide about twelve lambs, together with rice, bread, and Arab butter, for a communal meal every day.[2] Writing in the early twentieth century, Samuel Curtiss recorded that an estimated 15,000[11] people from all over the country attended the Nabi Musa festival every year.[12] For some years from 1919, pilgrims made their trek back from Jericho to Jerusalem to the sound of English military music.[13] The festival was suppressed when Jordan assumed administration over the West Bank in the aftermath of 1948 Arab-Israeli war, because of its symbolic value as a vehicle for potential expressions of political protest. Since 1995, control over the tomb of Nabi Musa has been allocated to the Palestinian National Authority...

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Nabi Samwil in Wikipedia

An-Nabi Samwil also al-Nabi Samuil (Arabic: النبي صموئيل‎ an- Nabi Samwil, translit: "the prophet Samuel") is a Palestinian village of nearly 220 inhabitants in the West Bank, within the Jerusalem Governorate, located four kilometers north of Jerusalem. The village consists of a few houses and in addition to serving worshipers, its mosque acts as a prominent landmark. Geography Nabi Samwil is situated atop of a mountain, 890 meters above sea level, four kilometers north of the Jerusalem neighborhood Shuafat and southwest of Ramallah in the Seam Zone.[1] Nearby localities include Beit Iksa to the south, al-Jib to the north, Beit Hanina to the east and Biddu to the west.[2] The village consists of 1,592 dunams of which only dunams are built-up.[3] [edit]History See also: Tomb of Samuel The village is traditionally held to contain the tomb of the prophet Samuel (Arabic: Nabi Samwil),[1][4] from which the village receives its name. The tomb is draped by cloth and is located in a dark cellar in Nabi Samwil's large turreted mosque. A monastery was built by the Byzantines at Nabi Samwil, serving as a hostel for Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. The monastery was restored and enlarged during the reign of Justinian I in the mid-6th century CE. [5] Since then, the site has been a place of pilgrimage for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.[1] The tomb continued to be in use throughout the early Arab period of rule in Palestine from the 7th to 10th centuries.[5] Jerusalem-born geographer al-Muqaddasi recounted in 985 CE, a story which he had heard from his uncle concerning the place: A certain Sultan wanted to take possession of the Dayr Shamwil, which he describes as a village about a farsakh from Jerusalem. The Sultan asked the owner to describe the village, at which the owner enumerated the ills of the place ("hard is the labour,/the profit is low./Weeds are all over,/almonds are bitter,/one bushel you sow,/one bushel you reap;") After hearing this the ruler exclaimed "Begone! We have no need for your village!"[6] 13th century Syrian geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi, describes "Mar Samwil" or "Maran Samwil" as a "a small town in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Mar in Syriac signifies al-Kass, 'the priest', and Samwil is the name of the Doctors of Law."[7] During Islamic times, Nabi Samwil became center for pottery production,[8] supplying nearby Jerusalem, as well as Ramla and Caesarea.[9]...

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Nablus in Wikipedia

Nablus (sometimes Nābulus; Arabic: نابلس‎ [næːblʊs] ( listen); Hebrew: שכם‎ Šəḵem; Biblical Shechem) is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately 63 kilometers (39 mi) north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132.[1] Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center. Founded by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 72 CE as Flavia Neapolis, Nablus has been ruled by many empires over the course of its almost 2,000-year-long history. In the 5th and 6th centuries, conflict between the city's Christian and Samaritan inhabitants climaxed in a series of Samaritan revolts against Byzantine rule, before their violent quelling in 529 CE drastically dwindled that community's numbers in the city. In 636, Neapolis, along with most of Palestine, came under the rule of the Islamic Arab Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab; its name Arabicized to Nablus. In 1099, the Crusaders took control of the city for less than a century, leaving its mixed Muslim, Christian and Samaritan population relatively undisturbed. After Saladin's Ayyubid forces took control of the interior of Palestine in 1187, Islamic rule was reestablished, and continued under the Mamluk and Ottoman empires to follow. Following its incorporation into the Ottoman empire in 1517, Nablus was designated capital of the Jabal Nablus ("Mount Nablus") district. In 1657, after a series of upheavals, a number of Arab clans from the northern and eastern Levant were dispatched to the city to reassert Ottoman authority, and loyalty from amongst these clans staved off challenges to the empire's authority by rival regional leaders, like Dhaher al-Omar in the 18th century, and Muhammad Ali-who briefly ruled Nablus-in the 19th century. When Ottoman rule was firmly reestablished in 1841, Nablus prospered as a center of trade. After the loss of the city to British forces during World War I, Nablus was incorporated into the British Mandate of Palestine in 1922, and later designated to form part of the Arab state of Palestine under the 1947 UN partition plan. The end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the city instead fall to Jordan, to which it was unilaterally annexed, until its occupation by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. Today, the city's population is predominantly Muslim, with small Christian and Samaritan minorities. Since 1995, day-to-day administration is the purview of the Palestinian National Authority, though Israel retains control over entrances and exits to the city. There are three Palestinian refugee camps located around Nablus, established in 1949–50. In the Old City, there are a number of sites of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries. Regionally famous for its native sweet kanafeh and traditionally well-known for its soap industry, Nablus' main economic sectors are in industry and commerce. History Antiquity -- Flavia Neapolis ("new city of the emperor Flavius") was founded in 72 CE by the Roman emperor Vespasian over an older Samaritan village, Mabartha ("the passage").[3] Located between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, the new city lay 2 kilometers (1 mi) west of the Biblical city of Shechem which was destroyed by the Romans that same year during the First Jewish-Roman War.[4][5] Holy places at the site of the city's founding include Joseph's Tomb and Jacob's Well. Due to the city's strategic geographic position and the abundance of water from nearby springs, Neapolis prospered, accumulating extensive territory, including the former Judean toparchy of Acraba.[4] Insofar as the hilly topography of the site would allow, the city was built on a Roman grid plan and settled with veterans who fought in the victorious legions and other foreign colonists.[3] In the 2nd century CE, Emperor Hadrian built a grand theater in Neapolis that could seat up to 7,000 people.[6] Coins found in Nablus dating to this period depict Roman military emblems and gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon such as Zeus, Artemis, Serapis, and Asklepios.[3] Neapolis was entirely pagan at this time.[3] Justin Martyr who was born in the city c. 100 CE, came into contact with Platonism, but not with Christians there.[3] The city flourished until the civil war between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger in 198–9 CE. Having sided with Niger, who was defeated, the city was temporarily stripped of its legal privileges by Severus, who designated these to Sebastia instead.[3] In 244 CE, Philip the Arab transformed Flavius Neapolis into a Roman colony named Julia Neapolis. It retained this status until the rule of Trebonianus Gallus in 251 CE. The Encyclopaedia Judaica speculates that Christianity was dominant in the 2nd or 3rd century, with some sources positing a later date of 480 CE.[7] It is known for certain that a bishop from Nablus participated in the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.[8] The presence of Samaritans in the city is attested to in literary and epigraphic evidence dating to the 4th century CE.[8] As yet, there is no evidence attesting to a Jewish presence in ancient Neapolis.[8]

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Nain in Wikipedia

Nein (Arabic: نين‎, Na'in, lit. Charming, Hebrew: ניין‎, called in English Bibles Nain or Naim) is an Arab village in Israel that forms part of the Bustan al-Marj Regional Council in the Lower Galilee. Located 14 kilometers (9 mi) south of Nazareth, Nein covers a land area of approximately 1,000 dunums. Its total land area consisted of 3,737 dunums prior to 1962.[1] According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Nein had a population 1,600 in 2005.[2] The city hall for the Bustan al-Marj Regional Council is located in Nein.[3] Location - Nein lies a short distance from Mount Tabor.[4] A hill known in Arabic as Tell el-Ajul lay on the path that ran between Nein and nearby Indur, an Arab village destroyed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. [5] While Edward Robinson describes Nein as lying on the northern slope of a hill called, "the little Hermon," and it is described in biblical guidebooks as lying at the foot of the Hill of Moreh.[6] Biblical associations - Edward Robinson (scholar) and Eli Smith, who visited Palestine in the mid-19th century, identify Nein as, "the Nain of the New Testament," where, according to the Bible's (Gospel of Luke 7:11-17), Jesus resurrected a young man.[7] According to Luke, a widow, who was living in Galilee, had lost her sole remaining son, and thus all she had to live for. When Jesus saw the dead son being carried out and the mourning widow, he felt compassion for her. He walked towards the stretcher, touched it, and told the man: "Young man, I say to you, rise!" The man came alive, sat up, and began to speak. The people who were standing around were all very struck by the event, and the report of it spread widely around the region. History -- Nein is mentioned in the writing of Eusebius (c. 263–339) and Jerome (c. 347 – 420) as being situated near Endor (Indur).[7] Its identity as a biblical site was recognized by the Crusaders, who built a church there to commemorate the site of the miracle, a church rebuilt by the Fransciscans. [7][4] Nein has been visited by many travellers and pilgrims since. Robinson and Smith also note that Nein decreased in size over the ages, and was at their time of writing but a small hamlet, inhabited by only a few families.[7]

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Nazareth in Wikipedia

Nazareth (pronounced /ˈnæzərəθ/; Hebrew: נָצְרַת‎, Natzrat or Natzeret; Arabic: الناصرة‎ al-Nāṣira or al-Naseriyye) is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is predominantly made up of Arab citizens of Israel.[2][3] In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events. Etymology -- Nazareth is not mentioned in pre-Christian texts and appears in many different Greek forms in the New Testament. There is no consensus regarding the origin of the name. Biblical references -- "Nazareth" assumes several forms (Nazara, Nazaret, Nazareth, Nazarat, Nazarath) in surviving Greek versions of the New Testament. Many scholars have questioned a link between "Nazareth" and the terms "Nazarene" and "Nazoraean" on linguistic grounds,[4] while some affirm the possibility of etymological relation "given the idiosyncrasies of Galilean Aramaic."[5] Of the twelve appearances of the town's name in the New Testament, ten use the form Nazaret or Nazareth, and two use the form Nazara. [6] Nazara (Ναζαρα) is generally considered the earliest form of the name in Greek, and is found in Matthew 4:13 and Luke 4:16 , as well as the putative Q document, which many scholars maintain preceded 70 CE and the formation of the canonical Christian gospels.[6][7] The form Nazareth appears once in the Gospel of Matthew 21:11 , four times in the birth chapters of the Gospel of Luke at 1:26 ; 2:4 , 2:39 , 2:51 , and once in the Acts of the Apostles at 10:38 . In the Gospel of Mark, the name appears only once in 1:9 in the form Nazaret. Extrabiblical references -- The form Nazara is also found in the earliest non-scriptural reference to the town, a citation by Sextus Julius Africanus dated about 200 CE. (See "Middle Roman to Byzantine Periods" below.) The Church Father Origen (c. 185 to 254 CE) knows the forms Nazara and Nazaret.[8] Later, Eusebius in his Onomasticon (translated by St. Jerome) also refers to the settlement as Nazara.[9] In their scriptures, the Mandeans mention nasirutha as a place they go.[6][10] The first non-Christian reference to Nazareth is an inscription on a marble fragment from a synagogue found in Caesarea Maritima in 1962.[11] This fragment gives the town's name in Hebrew as nun·tsade·resh·tav. The inscription dates to c. 300 CE and chronicles the assignment of priests that took place at some time after the Bar Kokhba revolt, 132-35 CE.[12] (See "Middle Roman to Byzantine Periods" below.) An 8th century CE Hebrew inscription, which was the earliest known Hebrew reference to Nazareth prior to the discovery of the inscription above, uses the same form.[6] Origin of name -- One theory holds that "Nazareth" is derived from the Hebrew noun ne·tser, נֵ֫צֶר, meaning branch.[13] Ne·tser is not the common Hebrew word for "branch," but one understood as a messianic title based on a passage in the Book of Isaiah.[14] Alternately, the name may derive from the verb na·tsar, נָצַר, "watch, guard, keep."[15] The negative references to Nazareth in the Gospel of John suggest that ancient Jews did not connect the town's name to prophecy.[16] Another theory holds that the Greek form Nazara, used in Matthew and Luke, may derive from an earlier Aramaic form of the name, or from another Semitic language form.[17] If there were a tsade in the original Semitic form, as in the later Hebrew forms, it would normally have been transcribed in Greek with a sigma instead of a zeta.[6] This has led some scholars to question whether "Nazareth" and its cognates in the New Testament actually refer to the settlement we know traditionally as Nazareth in Lower Galilee.[18] Such linguistic discrepancies may be explained, however, "by a peculiarity of the 'Palestinian' Aramaic dialect wherein a sade (ṣ) between two voiced (sonant) consonants tended to be partially assimilated by taking on a zayin (z) sound."[6] The Arabic name for Nazareth is an-Nāṣira, and Jesus (Arabic: يسوع‎‎, Yasū` or Arabic: عيسى‎, `Īsā) is also called an-Nāṣirī, reflecting the Arab tradition of according people a nisba, a name denoting from whence a person comes in either geographical or tribal terms. In the Koran, Christians are referred to as nasara, meaning "followers of an-Nāṣirī," or "those who follow Jesus." [19] Geography and population -- Two general locations of Nazareth are attested in the most ancient texts. The Galilean (Northern) location is familiar from the Christian gospels. However, a Southern (Judean) tradition is also attested in several early noncanonical texts.[20] Modern-day Nazareth is nestled in a natural bowl which reaches from 1,050 feet (320 m) above sea level to the crest of the hills about 1,600 feet (490 m).[21] Nazareth is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the Sea of Galilee (17 km as the crow flies) and about 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) west from Mount Tabor. The Nazareth Range, in which the town lies, is the southernmost of several parallel east-west hill ranges that characterize the elevated tableau of Lower Galilee. Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel.[22] Until the beginning of the British Mandate in Palestine (1922–1948), the population was predominantly Arabic speaking Christian (majority Greek Orthodox), with an Arab Muslim minority. Nazareth today still has a significant Christian population, made up of Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Coptics, among others. The Muslim population has grown, for a number of historical factors, that include the city having served as administrative center under British rule, and the influx of internally displaced Palestinian Arabs absorbed into the city from neighbouring towns following the 1948 Arab- Israeli war. Its population remains almost exclusively Arab and numbered 64,800 in late 2009.[23] History -- Ancient times -- Archaeological research revealed a funerary and cult center at Kfar HaHoresh, about two miles (3 km) from Nazareth, dating back roughly 9000 years (to what is known as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B era).[24] The remains of some 65 individuals were found, buried under huge horizontal headstone structures, some of which consisted of up to 3 tons of locally-produced white plaster. Decorated human skulls uncovered there have led archaeologists to believe that Kfar HaHoresh was a major cult centre in that remote era.[25] In 1620 the Catholic Church purchased an area in the Nazareth basin measuring approx. 100 × 150 m (328.08 ft × 492.13 ft). on the side of the hill known as the Nebi Sa'in. This "Venerated Area" underwent extensive excavation in 1955-65 by the Franciscan priest Belarmino Bagatti, "Director of Christian Archaeology." Fr. Bagatti has been the principal archaeologist at Nazareth. His book, Excavations in Nazareth (1969) is still the standard reference for the archaeology of the settlement, and is based on excavations at the Franciscan Venerated Area. Fr. Bagatti uncovered pottery dating from the Middle Bronze Age (2200 to 1500 BC) and ceramics, silos and grinding mills from the Iron Age (1500 to 586 BC), pointing to substantial settlement in the Nazareth basin at that time. However, lack of archaeological evidence from Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic or Early Roman times, at least in the major excavations between 1955 and 1990, shows that the settlement apparently came to an abrupt end about 720 BC, when many towns in the area were destroyed by the Assyrians. Early Christian era -- According to the Gospel of Luke, Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary and the site of the Annunciation (when Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would have Jesus as her son); in the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph and Mary resettle in Nazareth after fleeing to Egypt from their home in Bethlehem.[ Mt. ] The differences and possible contradictions between these two accounts of the nativity of Jesus are part of the Synoptic Problem. Nazareth is also allegedly where Jesus grew up from some point in his childhood. However, some modern scholars argue that Nazareth was also the birth place of Jesus.[26] James Strange, an American archaeologist, notes: "Nazareth is not mentioned in ancient Jewish sources earlier than the third century AD. This likely reflects its lack of prominence both in Galilee and in Judaea."[27] Strange originally speculated that the population of Nazareth at the time of Christ to be "roughly 1,600 to 2,000 people", but later, in a subsequent publication, at "a maximum of about 480."[28] In 2009 Israeli archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre excavated archaeological remains in Nazareth that might date to the time of Jesus in the early Roman period. Alexandre told reporters, "The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth."[29] According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, "The artifacts recovered from inside the building were few and mostly included fragments of pottery vessels from the Early Roman period (the first and second centuries CE)... Another hewn pit, whose entrance was apparently camouflaged, was excavated and a few pottery sherds from the Early Roman period were found inside it." Alexandre adds that "based on other excavations that I conducted in other villages in the region, this pit was probably hewn as part of the preparations by the Jews to protect themselves during the Great Revolt against the Romans in 67 CE".[30] Ancient Nazareth may have built on the hillside, as indicated in the Gospel of Luke: [And they led Jesus] to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.[Lk. 4:29 ] However, the hill in question (the Nebi Sa'in) is far too steep for ancient dwellings and averages a 14% grade in the venerated area.[31] Historic Nazareth was essentially constructed in the valley; the windy hilltops in the vicinity have only been occupied since the construction of Nazareth Illit in 1957. Noteworthy is that all the post-Iron Age tombs in the Nazareth basin (approximately two dozen) are of the kokh (plural:kokhim) or later types; this type probably first appeared in Galilee in the middle of the first century AD.[32] Kokh tombs in the Nazareth area have been excavated by B. Bagatti, N. Feig, Z. Yavor, and noted by Z. Gal.[33] Excavations conducted prior to 1931 in the Franciscan venerated area revealed no trace of a Greek or Roman settlement there,[34] Fr. Bagatti, who acted as the principal archaeologist for the venerated sites in Nazareth, unearthed quantities of later Roman and Byzantine artifacts,[35] attesting to unambiguous human presence there from the 2nd century AD onward. John Dominic Crossan, a major figure in New Testament studies, remarked that Bagatti's archaeological drawings indicate just how small the village actually was, suggesting that it was little more than an insignificant hamlet.[36] Matthew 2:19-23 reads: After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." In the Gospel of John, Nathaniel asks, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"[1:46 ] The meaning of this cryptic question is debated. Some commentators and scholars suggest that it means Nazareth was very small and unimportant, but the question does not speak of Nazareth’s size but of its goodness. In fact, Nazareth was described negatively by the evangelists; the Gospel of Mark argues that Nazareth did not believe in Jesus and therefore he could "do no mighty work there";[Mk 6:5 ] in the Gospel of Luke, the Nazarenes are portrayed as attempting to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff;[Lk 4:29 ] in the Gospel of Thomas, and in all four canonical gospels, we read the famous saying that "a prophet is not without honor except in his own country."[37] Many scholars since W. Wrede (in 1901)[38] have noted the so-called Messianic secret in the Gospel of Mark, whereby Jesus' true nature and/or mission is portrayed as unseen by many, including by his inner circle of disciples[Mk 8:27-33 ] (compare the Gospel of John's references to those to whom only the Father reveals Jesus will be saved).[39] Nazareth, being the home of those near and dear to Jesus, apparently suffered negatively in relation to this doctrine. Thus, Nathanael’s question, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" is consistent with a negative view of Nazareth in the canonical gospels, and with the Johannine proclamation that even his brothers did not believe in him.[Jn 7:5 ] A tablet at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, dating to 50 AD, was sent from Nazareth to Paris in 1878. It contains an inscription known as the "Ordinance of Caesar" that outlines the penalty of death for those who violate tombs or graves. However, it is suspected that this inscription came to Nazareth from somewhere else (possibly Sepphoris). Bagatti writes: "we are not certain that it was found in Nazareth, even though it came from Nazareth to Paris. At Nazareth there lived various vendors of antiquities who got ancient material from several places."[40] C. Kopp is more definite: "It must be accepted with certainty that [the Ordinance of Caesar]… was brought to the Nazareth market by outside merchants."[41] Princeton University archaeologist Jack Finegan describes additional archaeological evidence related to settlement in the Nazareth basin during the Bronze and Iron Ages, and states that "Nazareth was a strongly Jewish settlement in the Roman period.".[42] In the mid-1990s, shopkeeper Elias Shama discovered tunnels under his shop near Mary's Well in Nazareth. The tunnels were eventually recognized as a hypocaust (a space below the floor into which warm air was pumped) for a bathhouse. The surrounding site was excavated in 1997-98 by Yardena Alexandre, and the archaeological remains exposed were ascertained to date from the Roman, Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman periods.[43][44][45][46] Epiphanius writes in the Panarion (c. 375 AD)[47] of a certain elderly Count Joseph of Tiberias, a wealthy imperial Roman Jew who converted to Christianity in the time of Constantine. Count Joseph claimed that as a young man he built churches in Sepphoris and other towns that were inhabited only by Jews.[48] Nazareth is mentioned, though the exact meaning is not clear. [49] In any case, Joan Taylor writes: "It is now possible to conclude that there existed in Nazareth, from the first part of the fourth century, a small and unconventional church which encompassed a cave complex."[50] The town was Jewish until the seventh century AD.[51] Although mentioned in the New Testament gospels, there are no extant non-biblical references to Nazareth until around 200 AD, when Sextus Julius Africanus, cited by Eusebius (Church History 1.7.14), speaks of "Nazara" as a village in "Judea" and locates it near an as-yet unidentified "Cochaba."[52] In the same passage Africanus writes of desposunoi - relatives of Jesus - who he claims kept the records of their descent with great care. A few authors have argued that the absence of first and second century textual references to Nazareth suggest the town may not have been inhabited in Jesus' day.[53] Proponents of this hypothesis have buttressed their case with linguistic, literary and archaeological interpretations,[54] though some historians and archaeologists generally dismiss such views as "archaeologically unsupportable".[55]...

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Negev in Wikipedia

The Negev (also Negeb; Hebrew: נֶּגֶב‎, Tiberian vocalization: Néḡeḇ, Turkish: Necef Çölü) is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region refer to the desert as al-Naqab (Arabic: النقب‎). The origin of the word Neghebh (or in Modern Hebrew Negev) is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'. In the Bible the word Neghebh is also used for the direction 'south'. Geography -- The Negev covers more than half of Israel, over some 13,000 km² (4,700 sq mi) or at least 55% of the country's land area. It forms an inverted triangle shape whose western side is contiguous with the desert of the Sinai Peninsula, and whose eastern border is the Arabah valley. The Negev has a number of interesting cultural and geological features. Among the latter are three enormous, craterlike makhteshim (box canyons), which are unique to the region; Makhtesh Ramon, Makhtesh Gadol, and Makhtesh Katan. The Negev is a rocky desert. It is a melange of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis (dry riverbeds that bloom briefly after rain) and deep craters. It can be split into five different ecological regions: northern, western, and central Negev, the high plateau and the Arabah Valley. The northern Negev, or Mediterranean zone, receives 300 mm of rain annually and has fairly fertile soils. The western Negev receives 250 mm of rain per year, with light and partially sandy soils. Sand dunes can reach heights of up to 30 metres here. Home to the city of Beersheba, the central Negev has an annual precipitation of 200 mm and is characterized by impervious soil, allowing minimum penetration of water with greater soil erosion and water runoff. The high plateau area of Ramat HaNegev (Hebrew: רמת הנגב‎, The Negev Heights) stands between 370 metres and 520 metres above sea level with extreme temperatures in summer and winter. The area gets 100 mm of rain per year, with inferior and partially salty soils. The Arabah Valley along the Jordanian border stretches 180 km from Eilat in the south to the tip of the Dead Sea in the north. The Arabah Valley is very arid with barely 50 mm of rain annually. It has inferior soils in which little can grow without irrigation and special soil additives. History -- Nomads -- Nomadic life in the Negev dates back at least 4,000 years [2] and perhaps as much as 7,000 years.[3] The first urbanized settlements were established by a combination of Canaanite, Amalekite, and Edomite groups circa 2000 BC.[2] Pharaonic Egypt is credited with introducing copper mining and smelting in both the Negev and the Sinai between 1400 and 1300 BC.[2][4] [edit]Biblical According to the Hebrew Bible, the northern Negev was inhabited by the Tribe of Judah and the southern Negev by the Tribe of Shimon. The Negev was later part of the Kingdom of Solomon and then part of the Kingdom of Judah. In the 9th century BC, development and expansion of mining in both the Negev and Edom (modern Jordan) coincided with the rise of the Assyrian Empire.[5] Beersheba was the region's capital and a center for trade in the 8th century BC.[5] Small settlements of Israelites in the areas around the capital existed between 1020 and 928 BC.[5] Nabateans -- The 4th century BC arrival of the Nabateans resulted in the development of irrigation systems that supported at least five new urban centers: Avdat, Mamshit, Shivta, Haluza (Elusa), and Nitzana.[5] The Nabateans controlled the trade and spice route between their capital Petra and the Gazan seaports. Nabatean currency and the remains of red and orange potsherds, identified as a trademark of their civilization, have been found along the route, remnants of which are also still visible.[5] Nabatean control of southern Palestine ended when the Roman empire annexed their lands in 106 AD.[5] The population, largely made up of Arabian nomads and Nabateans, remained largely tribal and independent of Roman rule, with an animist belief system.[5]...

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Nimrud in Wikipedia

Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located south of Nineveh on the river Tigris in modern Ninawa Governorate Iraq. In ancient times the city was called Kalḫu. The Arabs called the city Nimrud after the Biblical Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero (cf. Genesis 10:11-12 , Micah 5:6 , and 1Chronicles 1:10 ). The city covered an area of around 16 square miles (41 km2). Ruins of the city are found in modern day Iraq, some 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of Mosul. The ruins are located in the District of Al Hamdaniya, within 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of the village of Noomanea. Nimrud has been suggested as the site of the biblical city of Calah or Kalakh. History -- Assyrian king Shalmaneser I made Nimrud, which existed for about a thousand years, the capital in the 13th century BC. The city gained fame when king Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria (c. 880 BC) made it his capital. He built a large palace and temples on the site of an earlier city that had long fallen into ruins. A grand opening ceremony with festivities and an opulent banquet in 879 BC is described in an inscribed stele discovered during archeological excavations. The city of king Ashurnasirpal II housed perhaps as many as 100,000 inhabitants[citation needed], and contained botanic gardens and a zoologic garden. His son, Shalmaneser III (858–824 BC), built the monument known as the Great Ziggurat, and an associated temple. The palace, restored as a site museum, is one of only two preserved Assyrian palaces in the world, the other being Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh. Nimrud remained the Assyrian capital until 706 BC when Sargon II moved the capital to Khorsabad. It remained a major centre and a royal residence until the city was completely destroyed in 612 BC when Assyria succumbed under the invasion of the Medes and the Babylonians[citation needed]. The name Nimrud in connection with the site is apparently first used in the writings of Carsten Niebuhr, who was in Mosul in March 1766.. King Ashurnasirpal II -- King Ashurnasirpal II who reigned from 883–859 BC built a new capital at Nimrud. Thousands of men worked to build a 5-mile (8.0 km) long wall surrounding the city and a grand palace. There were many inscriptions carved into limestone including one that said "The palace of cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, mulberry, pistachio wood, and tamarisk, for my royal dwelling and for my lordly pleasure for all time, I founded therein. Beasts of the mountains and of the seas, of white limestone and alabaster I fashioned and set them up on its gates." The inscriptions also described plunder stored at the palace. "Silver, gold, lead, copper and iron, the spoil of my hand from the lands which I had brought under my sway, in great quantities I took and placed therein." The inscriptions also described great feasts he had to celebrate his conquests. However his victims were horrified by his conquests. The text also said "Many of the captives I have taken and burned in a fire. Many I took. alive from some I cut off their hands to the wrists, from others I cut off their noses, ears and fingers; I put out the eyes of many of the soldiers. I burned their young men women and children to death." About a conquest in another vanquished city he wrote "I flayed the nobles as many as rebelled and spread their skins out on the piles." These shock tactics brought success in 877 BCE, when after a march to the Mediterranean he announced "I cleaned my weapons in the deep sea and performed sheep-offerings to the gods."[1] Shalmaneser III -- King Arshurnasirpal's son Shalmaneser III continued where he left off. He spent 31 of his 35-year reign waging war. After a battle near the Orontes River with a coalition of Syro-Palestinian states he boasted: I slew 14,000 of their warriors with the sword. Like Adad, I rained destruction on them. I scattered their corpses far and wide, (and) covered the face of the desolate plain with their widespreading armies. With (my) weapons I made their blood to flow down the valleys of the land. The plain was too small for their bodies to fall; the wide countryside was used to bury them. With their corpses I spanned the Arantu (Orontes) as with a bridge.[2][1] At Nimrud he built a palace that far surpassed his father's. It was twice the size and it covered an area of about 12 acres (49,000 m2) and included more than 200 rooms.[3] In 828 BC, his son rebelled against him and was joined by 27 Assyrian cities including Nineveh and Ashur. This conflict lasted until 821 BC, 3 years after Shalmaneser's death.[3] Archaeology -- The site was first described by the British traveler Claudius James Rich in 1820, shortly before his death. Excavations at Nimrud were first conducted by Austen Henry Layard, working from 1845 to 1847 and from 1849 until 1851 [5] [6] [7] Layard believed at the time that the site was part of Nineveh, and his excavation publications were thus labeled. At this point, the work was handed over to Hormuzd Rassam, himself an Assyrian in 1853-54 and then W.K. Loftus in 1854-55. [8] After George Smith briefly worked the site in 1873 and Rassam returned there from 1877 to 1879, Nimrud was left untouched for almost 60 years. [9] A British School of Archaeology in Iraq team led by Max Mallowan resumed digging at Nimrud in 1949. The work continued until 1963 with David Oates becoming director in 1958 followed by Julian Orchard in 1963. [10] [11] [12] Subsequent work was by the Directorate of Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq (1956, 1959–60, 1969–78 and 1982–92), Janusz Meuzynski (1974–76), Paolo Fiorina (1987–89) with the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino who concentrated mainly on Fort Shalmaneser, and John Curtis (1989). [13] In 1974 to his untimely death in 1976 Janusz Meuszynski the director of the Polish Center for Mediteranean Archaeology project, with the permission of the Iraqi excavation team, had the whole site documented on film--in 35mm slide film and 120mm black and white print film. Every relief that remained in situ, as well as the fallen, broken pieces that were distributed in the rooms across the site were photographed. Meuszynski also arranged with the architect of his project, Richard P. Sobolewski, to survey the site and record it in plan and in elevation. [14] Excavations revealed remarkable bas-reliefs, ivories, and sculptures. A statue of Ashurnasirpal II was found in an excellent state of preservation, as were colossal winged man-headed lions weighing 10 short tons (9.1 t) to 30 short tons (27 t)[15] each guarding the palace entrance. The large number of inscriptions dealing with king Ashurnasirpal II provide more details about him and his reign than are known for any other ruler of this epoch. Portions of the site have been also been identified as temples to Ninurta and Enlil, a building assigned to Nabu, the god of writing and the arts, and as extensive fortifications. The palaces of Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser III, and Tiglath-Pileser III have been located. The famous Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III was discovered by Layard in 1846. Layard was aided by Hormuzd Rassam. The monument stands six-and-a-half-feet tall and commemorates the king's victorious campaigns of 859–824 BC. It is shaped like a temple tower at the top, ending in three steps. On one panel, Israelites led by king Jehu of Israel pay tribute and bow in the dust before king Shalmaneser III, who is making a libation to his god. The cuneiform text on the obelisk reads "Jehu the son of Omri", and mentions gifts of gold, silver, lead, and spear shafts. The "Treasure of Nimrud" unearthed in these excavations is a collection of 613 pieces of gold jewelry and precious stones. It has survived the confusions and looting after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 in a bank vault, where it had been put away for 12 years and was "rediscovered" on June 5, 2003...

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Plain of Sharon in Wikipedia

The Sharon Plain (Hebrew: שרון‎) is the northern half of the coastal plain of Israel. Its largest city is Netanya. The Plain lies between the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Samarian Hills, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the east. It stretches from Haifa and Mount Carmel in the north to the Yarkon River in the south, at the edge of the present city of Tel Aviv, about 90 kilometres (56 mi). Parts of the Plain are included in the Haifa, Center, and Tel Aviv Districts of Israel. In 2008 The Sharon Plain was home to 1,131,600 people[1], 965,300 of them (85.3%) are Jews, and 166,300 (14.6%) are Arabs. The Plain of Sharon is mentioned in the Bible. In ancient times, the plain was particularly fertile and populous. Zionist immigrants arrived in the early 20th century, and populated the region with many settlements.[2] In 2008, it was the most densely populated region of Israel.[3]

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Qubeiba in Wikipedia

al-Qubayba (also: Qubeiba, Arabic: القبيبة‎) was a Palestinian village, located 24 kilometers northwest of Hebron. History Known in Crusader times as Deirelcobebe, the ruins of the ancient Canaanite city of Lachish lay adjacent to the village,[4] which was subject to extensive archaeological excavations by the British Mandatory authorities in Palestine, and by Israeli authorities subsequent to its capture during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.[5] In 1596 Al-Qubayba was a village in the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the liwa' (district) of Gaza, with a population of 182. It paid taxes on wheat, barley, sesame, and fruit trees, as well as goats and beehives.[6] In the late 19th century, Al-Qubayba was described as a large village built of adobe brick, situated on rolling hills near a plain, surrounded by a barren and stony area. [7] The population was Muslim, and the village had a school, a mosque, and a number of small shops. Two wells located northwest and southwest of it provided drinking water. By 1944/45 11,912 dunums of land belonged to the village, of which 8,109 dunums were allotted to cereals...

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Ramat Hanadiv in Wikipedia

Ramat HaNadiv (Hebrew: רמת הנדיב‎, Heights of the Benefactor, also known as Umm el-'Aleq ["Mother of leeches"] in Arabic) is a nature park and gardens in northern Israel, covering 4.5 kilometers at the southern end of Mount Carmel between Zichron Ya'akov to the north and Binyamina to the south.[1] The Jewish National Fund planted pine and cypress groves in most of the area.[2] History Umm el-'Aleq was a small Palestinian Arab village where in the nineteenth century a farmstead (Beit Khouri) was constructed by the Palestinian Arab Christian family of el- Khouri from Haifa. The Baron Edmond James de Rothschild purchased the land from the el-Khouri family. The Third Aliyah settlers changed the name of the region to Ummlaleq ("the miserable one"). The third aliyah settlers lasted only 3 months. The malarial mosquitoes proved to be an impediment to settlement within the region.[3] Baron Rothschild died in 1934 at Château Rothschild, Boulogne-Billancourt. His wife Adelaide died a year later on December 29, 1935. They were interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris until April 1954 when their remains were transported to Israel aboard a naval frigate. At the port of Haifa, the ship was met with sirens and a nineteen-gun salute. A state funeral was held with former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion giving the eulogy following which Edmond de Rothschild and his wife were re-interred in the Memorial Gardens of Ramat HaNadiv. For his Jewish philanthropy Baron Edmond became known as "HaNadiv HaYadu'a" (Hebrew for "The Known Benefactor" or "The Famous Benefactor") and in his memory his son bequeathed the funds to construct the building for the Knesset...

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Ramla in Wikipedia

Ramla (Hebrew: רַמְלָה‎ Ramlāh; Arabic: الرملة‎ ar-Ramlah, also Ramlah,[2] Ramle, Remle and sometimes Rama), is a city in central Israel. The city is predominantly Jewish with a significant Arab minority. Ramla was founded circa 705–715 AD by the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman ibn Abed al-Malik after the Arab conquest of the region. Ramla lays along the route of the Via Maris, connecting old Cairo (Fustat) with Damascus, at the intersection of the roads connecting the port of Jaffa with Jerusalem.[3] It was conquered many times in the course of its history, by the Abbasids, the Ikhshidids, the Fatamids, the Seljuqs, the Crusaders, the Mameluks, the Turks, the British, and the Israelis. After an outbreak of the Black Death in 1347, which decimated the population, an order of Franciscan monks established a presence in the city.[4] Under Arab and Ottoman rule the city become an important trade center. Napoleon's French Army occupied it in 1799 on its way to Acre. Most of the town's Arab residents were expelled during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War while others remained in the town. The town was subsequently repopulated by Jewish immigrants. The Giv'on immigration detention centre is located in Ramla. In recent years, attempts have been made to develop and beautify the city, which has been plagued by neglect, financial problems and a negative public image. New shopping malls and public parks have been built, and a municipal museum opened in 2001.[5] History - Early history -- According to the 9th century Arab geographer Ya'qubi, al- Ramleh (Ramla) was founded in 716 by the Caliph Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, and its name was derived from the Arabic word Raml (رمل)-meaning sand. The early residents came from nearby Ludd (Lydda, Lod). Ramla flourished as the capital of Jund Filastin, which was one of the five districts of the ash-Sham (Syrian) province of the Ummayad Caliphate and Abbasid empire. In the 8th century, the Ummayads constructed the White Mosque. Ramla was the principal city and district capital until the arrival of the Crusaders in the 11th century.[6] Ramla's White Mosque was hailed as the finest in the land, outside of Jerusalem. The remains of this mosque, flanked by a minaret added at a later date, can still be seen today. In the courtyard are underground water cisterns from this period.[7] A geographer, el-Muqadasi ("the Jerusalemite"), describes Ramla at the peak of its prosperity: "It is a fine city, and well built; its water is good and plentiful; it fruits are abundant. It combines manifold advantages, situated as it is in the midst of beautiful villages and lordly towns, near to holy places and pleasant hamlets. Commerce here is prosperous, and the markets excellent...The bread is of the best and the whitest. The lands are well favoured above all others, and the fruits are the most luscious. This capital stands among fruitful fields, walled towns and serviceable hospices...".[8] Ramla's economic importance, shared with the neighboring city of Lydda, was based on its strategic location. Ramla was at the intersection of two major roads, one linking Egypt with Syria and the other linking Jerusalem with the coast.[9] In the early years of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, control over this strategic location led to three consecutive battles between the Crusaders and Egyptian armies from Ascalon. As Crusader rule stabilized, Ramla became the seat of a seigneury in the Kingdom of Jerusalem (the Lordship of Ramla within the County of Jaffa and Ascalon). It was a city of some economic significance and an important way station for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem. The Crusaders identified it with the biblical Ramathaim and called it Arimathea.[10] Ramla Around 1163 Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela visited "Rama, or Ramleh, where there are remains of the walls from the days of our ancestors, for thus it was found written upon the stones. About 300 Jews dwell there. It was formerly a very great city; at a distance of two miles there is a large Jewish cemetery."[11] He wrote that the Crusaders had found the bones of Samuel, the biblical prophet, close to a Jewish synagogue in Ramla and "conveyed them unto Shiloh, and erected over them a large church, and called it St. Samuel of Shiloh unto this day".[11] This site is identified with Neby Samwil overlooking Jerusalem.[11] Ramla was sometimes referred to as Filastin, in keeping with the common practice of referring to districts by the name of their main city.[12]...

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Roman Roads in Wikipedia

The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.[1][2] Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate news.[3] The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km of roads, including over 80,500 km of paved roads.[4][5] When Rome reached the height of its power, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the city.[6] Hills were cut through and deep ravines filled in.[6] At one point, the Roman Empire was divided into 113 provinces traversed by 372 great road links.[6] In Gaul alone, no less than 21,000 km of road are said to have been improved, and in Britain at least 4,000 km.[6] The Romans became adept at constructing roads,[7] which they called viae.[8] They were intended for carrying material from one location to another. It was permitted to walk or pass and drive cattle, vehicles, or traffic of any description along the path.[8] The viae differed from the many other smaller or rougher roads, bridle-paths, drifts, and tracks.[8] The Roman road networks were important both in maintaining the stability of the empire and for its expansion. The legions made good time on them, and some are still used millennia later. In later antiquity, these roads played an important part in Roman military reverses by offering avenues of invasion to the barbarians. Etymology - The Romans' roads were called viae (plural of the singular term via) in Latin. The word is related to the English way (Old English weg) and weigh, (OE wegan, "to lift up, carry, bear, move, convey"; cf. "weigh anchor", where the sense is simply "lift up"). These words are all derived from the Indo-European root, *wegh-, which means "to move or convey". Vehicle, from Latin vehere, "to carry, bring, drive", has the same root, as do the English words wain and wagon (the latter word coming from Germanic). Roman systems -- Livy mentions some of the most familiar roads near Rome, and the milestones on them, at times long before the first paved road - the Appian Way.[8] Unless these allusions are just simple anachronisms, the roads referred to were probably at the time little more than levelled earthen tracks.[8] Thus, the Via Gabina (during the time of Porsena) is mentioned in about 500 BC; the Via Latina (during the time of Coriolanus) in about 490 BC; the Via Nomentana, or Via Ficulensis, in 449 BC; the Via Labicana in 421 BC; and the Via Salaria in 361 BC.[8] In the Itinerary of Antoninus, the description of the road system, after the death of Julius Caesar and during Augustus tenure, is as follows: "With the exception of some outlying portions, such as Britain north of the Wall, Dacia, and certain provinces east of the Euphrates, the whole Empire was penetrated by these itinera (plural of iter). There is hardly a district to which we might expect a Roman official to be sent, on service either civil or military, where we do not find roads. They reach the Wall in Britain; run along the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates; and cover, as with a network, the interior provinces of the Empire."[8] A road map of the empire reveals that it was generally laced with a dense network of prepared viae.[8] Beyond the borders were no roads; however, one might presume that footpaths and dirt roads allowed some transport.[8] For specific roads, see Roman road locations below. Laws and traditions -- The laws of the Twelve Tables, dated to approximately 450 BC, specified that a road shall be 8 ft (2.45 m) wide where straight and 16 ft (4.90 m) where curved.[9] Actual practices varied from this standard. The Tables command Romans to build roads and give wayfarers the right to pass over private land where the road is in disrepair. Building roads that would not need frequent repair therefore became an ideological objective. Roman law defined the right to use a road as a servitus, or claim. The ius eundi ("right of going") established a claim to use an iter, or footpath, across private land; the ius agendi ("right of driving"), an actus, or carriage track. A via combined both types of servitutes, provided it was of the proper width, which was determined by an arbiter. The default width was the latitudo legitima of 8 ft (2.4 m). In these rather dry laws we can see the prevalence of the public domain over the private, which characterized the republic. Roman law and tradition forbade the use of vehicles in urban areas, except in certain cases. Married women and government officials on business could ride. The Lex Iulia Municipalis restricted commercial carts to night-time access to the city within the walls and within a mile outside the walls. Types of roads -- Roman roads varied from simple corduroy roads to paved roads using deep roadbeds of tamped rubble as an underlying layer to ensure that they kept dry, as the water would flow out from between the stones and fragments of rubble, instead of becoming mud in clay soils. According to Ulpian, there were three types of roads[8]: Viae publicae, consulares, praetoriae or militares Viae privatae, rusticae, glareae or agrariae Viae vicinales Viae publicae, consulares, praetoriae and militares -- The first type of road included public high or main roads, constructed and maintained at the public expense, and with their soil vested in the state. Such roads led either to the sea, or to a town, or to a public river (one with a constant flow), or to another public road. Siculus Flaccus, who lived under Trajan (A.D. 98-117), calls them viae publicae regalesque,[8] and describes their characteristics as follows: They are placed under curatores (commissioners), and repaired by redemptores (contractors) at the public expense; a fixed contribution, however, being levied from the neighboring landowners.[8] These roads bear the names of their constructors (e.g. Via Appia, Cassia, Flaminia).[8] Roman roads were named after the censor who had ordered their construction or reconstruction. The same person often served afterwards as consul, but the road name is dated to his term as censor. If the road was older than the office of censor or was of unknown origin, it took the name of its destination or of the region through which it mainly passed. A road was renamed if the censor ordered major work on it, such as paving, repaving, or rerouting. With the term viae regales compare the roads of the Persian kings (who probably organized the first system of public roads) and the King's highway.[8] With the term viae militariae compare the Icknield Way (e.g., Icen-hilde-weg, or "War-way of the Iceni").[8] But there were many other persons, besides special officials, who from time to time, and for a variety of reasons, sought to connect their names with a great public service like that of the roads[8]. Gaius Gracchus, when Tribune of the People (123- 122 BC), paved or gravelled many of the public roads, and provided them with milestones and mounting-blocks for riders. Again, С. Scribonius Curio, when Tribune (50 BC), sought popularity by introducing a Lex Viaria, under which he was to be chief inspector or commissioner for five years. Dio Cassius mentions as one of the forcible acts of the triumvirs of 43 BC (Octavianus, Antony, and Lepidus), that they obliged the senators to repair the public roads at their own expense...

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Rujm el-Hiri in Wikipedia

Rujm el-Hiri (Arabic: رُجم الهِرّي‎, Rujm al-Hirrī, also romanized as Rujm Hiri and Rujum al-Hiri; Hebrew: Gilgal Refaim, גִּלְגַּל רְפָאִים) is an ancient megalithic monument consisting of concentric circles of stone with a tumulus at center.[1] It is located in the Golan Heights some 16 kilometers (10 mi) east of the eastern coast of the Sea of Galilee, in the middle of a large plateau covered with hundreds of dolmens. It is also called Rogem Hiri (its Arabic name in Hebrew). [2][3][4] Made up of more than 42,000 basalt rocks arranged in concentric circles, at center is a mound 15 feet (4.6 m) tall.[2] Some circles are complete, others incomplete. The outermost wall is 520 feet (160 m) in diameter and 8 feet (2.4 m) high.[5] The establishment of the site, and other nearby ancient settlements, is dated by archaeologists to Early Bronze Age II (3000–2700 BCE).[1] There are several hypotheses regarding its purpose and uses, ranging from a calendar, to a tomb or site of worship.[citation needed] Origins of the name -- The name Rujm el-Hiri was originally obtained from Syrian maps.[6] Translated from Arabic into English, it means, "the stone heap of the wild cat."[2] The term rujm in Arabic (pl. rujum; Hebrew: rogem) can also refer to a tumulus, a heap of stones underneath which human burial space was located.[7] Rogem Hiri is the Hebrew pronunciation of the Arabic name, Rujm el-Hiri.[2][3] More recently, another Hebrew name for the site is also being used: Gilgal Refaim (Gilgal Refā'īm or Galgal Refā'īm, "Wheel of Refaim").[4] Refa'im in modern Hebrew means "ghosts" or "spirits". The same root underlies the word used in the Tanakh to refer to a race of giants, the "Rephaites", described as the ancient people of the Bashan (modern Golan). Structure and description -- The site's dimensions and its location on a wide plateau scattered with hundreds of dolmens, means that an aerial perspective allows for a fuller appreciation of its layout.[5] From above one can see a large circle (slightly oval) of basalt rocks, containing four smaller, concentric circles, that get progressively thinner, with some complete, others incomplete.[8] The walls of the circles are connected by irregularly placed smaller stone walls.[8] Basalt rocks are common in the Golan Heights, due to the region's history of volcanic activity. Described as the "Stonehenge of the Levant," the site is made up of 37,500 metric tons of partly worked stone stacked up to 2 meters (7 ft) high.[9] A central tumulus 65 feet (20 m) in diameter and 15 feet (4.6 m) high is surrounded by concentric circles, the outermost of which is 520 feet (160 m) in diameter and 8 feet (2.4 m) high.[5] Two entrances to the site face the northeast (29 meters (95 ft) wide) and southeast (26 meters (85 ft) wide).[5][10] The northeast entrance leads to an accessway 20 feet (6.1 m) long leading to the center of the circle which seems to point in the general direction of the June solstice sunrise.[9][10] The axis of the tomb discovered at the site's center is similarly aligned.[9] The central tumulus (or tomb) is built from smaller rocks and is thought to have been constructed about 150 years after the surrounding walls were constructed.[9] Connecting to it are four main stone walls. The first wall, shaped like a semicircle, is 50m in diameter and 1.5m wide. That wall is connected to a second one, an almost complete circle 90m in diameter. The third wall is a full circle, 110m in diameter and 2.6m wide. The fourth and outermost wall is the largest: 150m in diameter and 3.2m wide. History and purpose -- The Golan Heights were occupied by Israel from Syria in the 1967 war, and the site was "discovered" during an Israeli archaeological survey carried out in 1967-68.[5] Already mentioned on Syrian maps, a Syrian triangulation post was found on top of its cairn.[6] The area's residents, of course, have known it for millennia, but scientific research of it commenced after it came under Israeli occupation. After initial research the site was mostly abandoned, and the first professional archaeological excavations of it only began in the 1980s, when it became the focus of interest for scientists and researchers, following the work of Professors Moshe Kochavi and Yoni Mizrachi. Due to the site's age and its deteriorated state, having been weathered by the elements, its purpose remains unclear. However, one fact is accepted among all researchers - at some point in history the site served as a place of worship and tribal gatherings. In the site's center, inside the Dolman, researchers found an ancient tomb, filled with jewelry and other expensive objects. The tomb was dated to the end of the second millennium BCE. The structure itself predates the tomb, and thus the people who buried the individual there are not the site's original builders. Main hypotheses concerning the site's purpose -- Burial site, for leaders or other important individuals. Supporting this theory was the tomb in the Dolman. However, no human remains were found, only objects pointing to its function as a tomb. Also, even if it were a tomb, that was not the site's original function, as the tomb is a 1,000 years newer than the site itself. Worship - According to this hypothesis, supported by a large part of the researchers, the site was used for special ceremonies during the longest and shortest days of the year. It seems, that on the year 3000 BCE, on the longest day, the first rays of the sun shone through the opening in the north-east gate, which is 20 by 29 metres. However, they did not shine in a perfect angle. It is assumed this is because the builders of those days didn't have sufficiently accurate architectural tools. The resident probably used the site to worship Tammuz and Ishtar, the gods of fertility, to thank them for the good harvest during the year. After the erection of the tomb in the center, the rays' path was blocked. Calendar - Some believe the site was used an as ancient calendar. Although the site could not be used to calculate an exact date, it was sufficient for the people's needs. At the times of the two equinoxes, the sun's rays would pass between two rocks, 2m in height, 5m in width, at the eastern edge of the compound. This way, they could know when the first rains would come, and determine the right time to sow or reap their crops. Astronomical observations - Perhaps the site was used for astronomical observations of the constellations, probably for religious calculations. Researchers found the site was built with dimensions and scales common for other period structures, and partly based on the stars' positions. However, they could not explain a large part of the structure, including the smaller walls connecting the circles. A placemark - Perhaps the mark is intended to mark the place. Modern placemarks are abundant, and required for many purposes, such as land and nation borders. Similar purposes in antiquity would have required marking places also. After the civilization who built the site grew and evolved, it seems to have lost its importance, and had little use beside a military observation post, or a pen for livestock. Due to the antiquity of the site and similarities to other sites, some outlandish explanations have also been suggested.[citation needed] Rujm el-Hiri today -- The site is currently inside an IDF training ground, but it can be visited freely in the weekend, when there is no risk of military activity in the area.[citation needed] As a result of New Age movements, advocating a return to nature, and the "natural religions", every year a group of "New Agers" gathers at the site on the summer solstice, and on the equinox, to view the first rays of the sun shine though the rocks. A new archaeological field project on the site was initiated in 2007 by Yosef Garfinkel and Michael Fraikhman from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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Samaria in Wikipedia

Samaria, or the Shomron (Hebrew: שֹׁמְרוֹן‎, Standard Šoməron Tiberian Šōmərôn; Greek: Σαμάρεια; Arabic: سامريّون‎, Sāmariyyūn or السامرة, as-Samarah – also known as جبال نابلس, Jibal Nablus) is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank. Etymology - The name "Samaria" derives from an ancient city of the same name, which was located near the south of Samaria, and was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. According to Kings 1 16:24, it is derived from the individual [or clan] Shemer, from whom Omri purchased the site. The name was the only name used for this area from ancient times until the Jordanian conquest of 1948, at which point the Jordanian occupiers coined the term West Bank.[1] Geographical location - To the north, Samaria is bounded by the Jezreel Valley; to the east by the Jordan Rift Valley; to the west by the Carmel Ridge (in the north) and the Sharon plain (in the west); to the south by the Jerusalem mountains. In Biblical times, Samaria "reached from the [Mediterranean] sea to the Jordan Valley",[2] including the Carmel Ridge and Plain of Sharon. The Samarian hills are not very high, seldom reaching the height of over 800 meters. Samaria's climate is more hospitable than the climate further south. [edit]Political control The modern history of Samaria begins when the territory of Samaria, formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, was entrusted to the United Kingdom to administer in the aftermath of World War I as a British Mandate of Palestine, by the League of Nations. As a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the territory was unilaterally incorporated as Jordanian-controlled territory and residents would later receive Jordanian passports. The areas of Samaria and Judea conquered by Jordan were renamed the West Bank (of the Jordan river).[citation needed] Samaria came under the control of Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. Jordan ceded control of the area to the PLO [West Bank, including Samaria], in November 1988- later confirmed by the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty of 1993. Jordan instead recognizes the Palestinian Authority as sovereign in the territory. In the 1994 Oslo accords, responsibility for the administration over some of the territory of Samaria (Areas 'A' and 'B') was transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Samaria is one of the several standard statistical "areas" utilized by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.[3] "The Israeli CBS also collects statistics on the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza District. It has produced various basic statistical series on the territories, dealing with population, employment, wages, external trade, national accounts, and various other topics."[4] The Palestinian Authority however use Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin, Qalqilya, Salfit, Ramallah and Tubas Governorates as administrative centres for the same region. The Shomron Regional Council administers the Jewish communities and settlements throughout the northern Samaria area. Israel has been criticized for the policy of establishing settlements in Samaria. Israel's position is that the legal status of the land is unclear. On March 22, 1979, the UN Security approved resolution 446 which unambiguously stated settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem were illegal...

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Samaritans in Wikipedia

The Samaritans (Hebrew: שומרונים‎ Shomronim, Arabic: السامريون‎ as-Sāmariyyūn) are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism. Based on the Samaritan Torah, Samaritans claim their worship is the true religion of the ancient Israelites prior to the Babylonian Exile, preserved by those who remained in the Land of Israel, as opposed to Judaism, which they assert is a related but altered and amended religion brought back by the exiled returnees. Ancestrally, they claim descent from a group of Israelite inhabitants from the tribes of Joseph and Levi (another Benjamin tribe branch went exinct in the 20th century), who have connections to ancient Samaria from the beginning of the Babylonian Exile up to the Samaritan Kingdom of Baba Rabba. The Samaritans, however, derive their name not from this geographical designation, but rather from the Hebrew term שַמֶרִים, "Keepers [of the Law]".[3] In the Talmud, a central post-exilic religious text of Judaism, their claim of ancestral origin is disputed, and in those texts they are called Cutheans (Hebrew: כותים‎, Kuthim), allegedly from the ancient city of Cuthah (Kutha), geographically located in what is today Iraq. Modern genetics has suggested some truth to both the claims of the Samaritans and Jewish accounts in the Talmud.[4] Although historically they were a large community - up to more than a million in late Roman times, then gradually reduced to several tens of thousands up to a few centuries ago - their unprecedented demographic shrinkage has been a result of various historical events, including most notably the bloody repression of the Third Samaritan Revolt (529 CE) against the Byzantine Christian rulers and the mass conversion to Islam in the Early Muslim period of Palestine.[5][6] According to their tally, as of November 1, 2007, there were 712[1] Samaritans living almost exclusively in two localities, one in Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim near the city of Nablus in the West Bank, and the other in the Israeli city of Holon.[7] There are, however, followers of various backgrounds adhering to Samaritan traditions outside of Israel especially in the United States. With the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language by Jewish immigrants to Ottoman and Mandate Palestine, and its growth and officialization following the establishment of the state, most Samaritans today speak Modern Hebrew, especially in Israel. As with their counterpart Muslim, Christian, Druze and other Israeli religious communities, the most recent spoken mother tongue of the Samaritans was Arabic, and it still is for those in the West Bank city of Nablus. For liturgical purposes, Samaritan Hebrew, Samaritan Aramaic, and Samaritan Arabic are used, all of which are written in the Samaritan alphabet, a variant of the Old Hebrew alphabet, distinct from the so-called square script "Hebrew alphabet" of Jews and Judaism, which is a stylized form of the Aramaic alphabet.[8] Hebrew, and later Aramaic, were languages in use by the Israelites of Judea prior to the Roman exile, and beyond.[9] History and origin - Samaritan sources According to Samaritan tradition, Mount Gerizim was the original Holy Place of the Israelites from the time that Joshua conquered Canaan and the twelve tribes of Israel settled the land. The reference to Mount Gerizim takes us back to the biblical story of the time when Moses ordered Joshua to take the Twelve Tribes of Israel to the mountains by Nablus and place half of the tribes, six in number, on the top of Mount Gerizim, the Mount of the Blessing, and the other half in Mount Ebal, the Mount of the Curse. The two mountains were used to symbolize the significance of the commandments and serve as a warning to whoever disobeyed them (Deut. 11:29; 27:12; Josh. 8:33). The Samaritans have insisted that they are direct descendants of the Northern Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who survived the destruction of the Northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. The inscription of Sargon II records the deportation of a relatively small proportion of the Israelites (27,290, according to the annals), so it is quite possible that a sizable population remained that could identify themselves as Israelites, the term that the Samaritans prefer for themselves. Samaritan historiography would place the basic schism from the remaining part of Israel after the twelve tribes conquered and returned to the land of Canaan, led by Joshua. After Joshua's death, Eli the priest left the tabernacle which Moses erected in the desert and established on Mount Gerizim, and built another one under his own rule in the hills of Shiloh (1 Samuel 1:1-3 ; 2:12-17 ). Thus, he established both an illegitimate priesthood and an illegitimate place of worship. Abu l-Fath, who in the 14th century CE wrote a major work of Samaritan history, comments on Samaritan origins as follows:[10] A terrible civil war broke out between Eli son of Yafni, of the line of Ithamar, and the sons of Pincus (Phinehas), because Eli son of Yafni resolved to usurp the High Priesthood from the descendants of Pincus. He used to offer sacrifices on an altar of stones. He was 50 years old, endowed with wealth and in charge of the treasury of the children of Israel... He offered a sacrifice on the altar, but without salt, as if he were inattentive. When the Great High Priest Ozzi learned of this, and found the sacrifice was not accepted, he thoroughly disowned him; and it is (even) said that he rebuked him. Thereupon he and the group that sympathized with him, rose in revolt and at once he and his followers and his beasts set off for Shiloh. Thus Israel split in factions. He sent to their leaders saying to them, Anyone who would like to see wonderful things, let him come to me. Then he assembled a large group around him in Shiloh, and built a Temple for himself there; he constructed a place like the Temple (on Mount Gerizim). He built an altar, omitting no detail - it all corresponded to the original, piece by piece. At this time the Children of Israel split into three factions. A loyal faction on Mount Gerizim; a heretical faction that followed false Gods; and the faction that followed Eli son of Yafni on Shiloh. Further, the Samaritan Chronicle Adler, or New Chronicle, believed to have been composed in the 18th century CE using earlier chronicles as sources states: And the children of Israel in his days divided into three groups. One did according to the abominations of the Gentiles and served other Gods; another followed Eli the son of Yafni, although many of them turned away from him after he had revealed his intentions; and a third remained with the High Priest Uzzi ben Bukki, the chosen place...

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Sea of Galilee in Wikipedia

The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: ים כנרת‎, Arabic: بحيرة طبرية‎), is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 miles) in circumference, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8 miles) wide. The lake has a total area of 166 km², and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet).[3] At 209 metres below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake).[4] The lake is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south. Geography -- The Kinneret is situated in Northern Israel, near the Golan Heights, and deep in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, the valley caused by the separation of the African and Arabian Plates. Consequently the area is subject to earthquakes and, in the past, volcanic activity. This is evident by the abundant basalt and other igneous rocks that define the geology of the Galilee region. Etymology -- The lake often appears on maps and in the New Testament as Sea of Galilee or Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1 ) while in the Hebrew Bible, it is called the "Sea of Chinnereth" (or spelled as "Kinnereth") (Numbers 34:11 ; Joshua 13:27 ). The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor ("harp" or "lyre")) in view of the shape of the lake. Christian religious texts call it Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1 ) or Sea of Gennesaret[5] after a small fertile plain that lies on its western side. The Arabic name for the lake is Buhairet Tabariyya (help·info) (بحيرة طبريا) meaning Lake Tiberias. Other names for the Sea of Galilee are Ginnosar, Lake of Gennesar, Sea of Chinneroth and Sea of Tiberias (Roman). History -- Antiquity -- The Sea of Galilee lies on the ancient Via Maris, which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans founded flourishing towns and settlements on the land-locked lake including Gadara, Hippos and Tiberias. The first-century historian Flavius Josephus was so impressed by the area that he wrote, "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." Josephus also reported a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake. Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of Lake Galilee. In those days, there was a continuous ribbon development of settlements and villages around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic gospels of Mark (1:14-20), Matthew (4:18-22), and Luke (5:1-11) describe how Jesus recruited four of his apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew and the brothers John and James. His disciples were the ones who caught the boatload of fish. One of Jesus' famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, and his feeding five thousand people (in Tabgha). In 135 CE the second Jewish revolt against the Romans was put down. The Romans responded by banning all Jews from Jerusalem. The center of Jewish culture and learning shifted to the region of the Kinneret, particularly the city of Tiberias. It was in this region that the so-called "Jerusalem Talmud" is thought to have been compiled. In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's significance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims. This led to the growth of a full-fledged tourist industry, complete with package tours and plenty of comfortable inns. The lake's importance declined when the Byzantines lost control and area came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate and subsequent Islamic empires. Apart from Tiberias, the major towns and cities in the area were gradually abandoned.[citation needed] The palace Khirbat al-Minya was built by the lake during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I (705-715 CE). In 1187, Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, largely because he was able to cut the Crusaders off from the valuable fresh water of the Sea of Galilee...

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Sepphoris in Wikipedia

Tzippori (Hebrew: צִפּוֹרִי, ציפורי‎), also known as Sepphoris, Dioceserea and Saffuriya (Arabic: صفورية‎, also transliterated Safurriya and Suffurriye) is located in the central Galilee region, 6 kilometers (4 mi) north-northwest of Nazareth, in modern-day Israel.[1] The site holds a rich and diverse historical and architectural legacy that includes Assyrian, Hellenistic, Judean, Babylonian, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Crusader, Arabic and Ottoman influences. Interest on the part of Biblical archaeologists is related to the belief in Christian tradition that the parents of the Virgin Mary, Anna and Joachim, were natives of Tzippori, at the time a Hellenized town.[2] Notable structures at the site include a Roman theater, two early Christian Churches, a Crusader fortress that was renovated by Daher El-Omar in the 18th century, and upwards of forty different mosaics.[2] Tzippori once served as a center of Jewish religious and spiritual life in the Galilee; remains of a 6th century synagogue have been uncovered in the lower section of the site. In the 7th century, it came under the rule of the Arab caliphates like much of the rest of Palestine. Successive Arab and Islamic imperial authorities ruled the area until the end of the first World War I, with a brief interruption during the Crusades. Until the forcible expulsion of its inhabitants by Israeli forces in 1948-1949[citation needed], Saffuriya was an Arab village. The Israeli moshav Tzippori was established adjacent to the site in 1949, and the area occupied by the former Arab village was designated a national park in 1992. Moshav Tzippori falls under the jurisdiction of Jezreel Valley Regional Council, and in 2006 had a population of 616. History - Early history -- Although the date of the city's establishment is a point of some dispute, it is at least as old as the 7th century BCE, when it was fortified by the ancient Assyrians, and subsequently served as an administrative center in the region under Babylonian, Hellenistic and Persian rule. Throughout this time period, the city was known as Sepphoris. In 104 BCE, the Hasmoneans settled there under the leadership of either Alexander Jannaeus or Aristobulus I.[3] The city was called Tzippori and may have derived from the Hebrew word for 'bird,' tsippor, perhaps because of the bird's-eye view the hilltop provides. The Hasmonean Kingdom was divided into five districts by the Roman pro-consul Gabinius and Sepphoris came under the direct rule of the Romans in the year 37 BCE, when Herod the Great captured the city from Mattathaias Antigonus reportedly at the height of a snowstorm.[4] Tzippori of the time of Jesus was a large, Roman-influenced city and hotbed of political activism. Archaeological evidence supports the idea that Jesus, while living in Nazareth, did most of his business in Tzippori.[5] After Herod's death in 4 BCE, the Jewish inhabitants of Tzippori rebelled against Roman rule and the Roman army moved in under the command of the Roman Governor in Syria, Varus. Completely destroying the city, the Roman army then sold many of its inhabitants into slavery.[4] Herod's son, Herod Antipas was made Tetrarch, or governor, in 1 CE, and proclaimed the city's new name to be Autocratis, or the "Ornament of the Galilee."[6] A ancient route linking Tzippori to Legio, and further to the south to Sebaste-Samaria, is believed to have been paved by the Romans around this time.[7] The inhabitants of Autocratis did not join the resistance against Roman rule in the First Jewish Revolt of 66 CE Rather, they signed a pact with the Roman army and opened the gates of the city to the Roman general Vespasian upon his arrival in 67 CE[4] They were then rewarded for this allegiance by having their city spared from the destruction suffered by many other Jewish cities, including Jerusalem. Coins minted in the city at the time of the First Revolt carried the inscription Neronias and Eirenopolis, "City of Peace." After the revolt, symbolism used on the coins was little different from other surrounding pagan city coins with depictions of laurel wreaths, palm trees, caduceus', and ears of barley.[6] Just prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt, the city's name was changed yet again to Diocaesarea. Following the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132–135, many Jewish refugees settled there, turning it into the center of religious and spiritual life in the Galilee. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, one of the compilers of the Mishnah, a commentary on the Torah, moved to Tzippori, along with the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish religious court.[8] Before moving to Tiberias by 150 CE, Jewish academies of learning, Yeshivot, were now based there. Diocaeserea, so named in honor of Zeus and the Roman Emperor, became not only a center of spiritual and religious study, but also a busy metropolis of trade because of its proximity to important trade routes through the Galilee region. Diocaesarea was destroyed by the Galilee earthquake of 363, but rebuilt soon afterwards, and retained its importance in the greater Jewish community of the Galilee, both socially, commercially, and spiritually. Jews and pagan Romans lived peacefully alongside one another during the Byzantine period, and the city welcomed a number of Christians, as well...

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Shiloh in Wikipedia

Shiloh was an ancient biblical city located north of Beth El in the West Bank.[1] The Biblical Period -- The site of ancient Shiloh, a city in the Ephraim hill-country and the religious capital of Israel in the time of the Judges, is situated north of Beth-El, east of the Beth El-Shechem highway and south of Lebonah in the hill-country of Ephraim (Judg. 21:19). It has been identified unambiguously with Khirbet Seilun by American philologist E. Robinson in 1838. The location had been established long before by the Roman writer Eusebius and Nestorius ha-Parhi. Shiloh is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an assembly place for the people of Israel where there was a sanctuary containing the Ark of the Covenant until it was taken by the Philistines from the battlefield at Aphek (probably Antipatris). At Shiloh, the "whole congregation of Israel assembled...and set up the tabernacle of the congregation...", (Joshua 18:1) being the tent built under Moses' direction to house the ark. According to Talmudic sources, the Tabernacle rested at Shiloh for 369 years. (Zevachim 118B ) The Mishkan left Shiloh when Eli HaCohen died. At some point during its long stay at Shiloh, the portable tent seems to have been enclosed within a compound or replaced with a standing structure with "doors" (1 Samuel 3:15) a precursor to the Temple. Shiloh was the center of Israelite worship. The people assembled here for the mandatory feasts and sacrifices, and here lots were cast for the various tribal areas and for the Levitical cities. This was a sacred act, as lots were cast revealing how God would choose to parcel out the land within the tribes. Generations later, Samuel was raised at the shrine in Shiloh by the high priest Eli. Samuel began prophesying at a young age and continued to serve in the Tabernacle, but not as a priest because he was not from the family of Aaron. When the Philistines defeated the Israelites at Aphek, one contingent of Philistines carried the Ark of the Covenant off to Philistia, while another contingent apparently marched on Shiloh and destroyed the shrine (1 Samuel 4, Psalms 78:60 and Jeremiah 7:4 ). Apparently the Tabernacle was removed before the Philistines arrived, and it was shipped to Gibeon, where it remained until Solomon's time. The Ark was soon returned to Israel, but was subsequently kept in Kiryat-Yearim until David had it brought to Jerusalem. It never returned to Shiloh. When Solomon died, ten of the tribes seceded, and their religious leaders built local worship sites[citation needed]. At this time, Shiloh was probably revived as a holy shrine; it was home to Ahijah HaShiloni, who announced the secession of the ten tribes after Solomon died (1 Kings 14:6-16 ). Isaac b. Joseph Chelo of Aragon, author of "Shibhe di-Yerushalayim", reputedly visited the site in 1334...

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Shivta in Wikipedia

Shivta or Sobota or Subeitah or Subaytah (Hebrew: שבטה‎), is an archaeological site in the Negev Desert of Israel, east of Nitzana. It is now the Israeli Artillery Corps main training facility. Long considered a classic Nabataean town and terminal on the ancient spice route, archaeologists are now considering the possibility that the town was actually a Byzantine agricultural colony and a way station for pilgrims en route to the Santa Catarina, Egypt , located on the supposed site of Mount Sinai. The new assessment of Shivta is based on an analysis of the irrigation system found at the site, which bears parallels to Byzantine structures elsewhere. Until now, the preponderance of Byzantine ruins were believed to be the remains of a monastic community that established itself on the ruins of an earlier Nabataean town. The Shivta site contains three Byzantine churches, 2 wine- press, residential areas and administrative buildings. After the Arab conquest in the 7th Century CE, Shivta began to decline in population. It was finally abandoned in the 8th or 9th Century CE. Shivta was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO on June 2005.

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Solomon's Quarries in Wikipedia

Zedekiah's Cave – also known as Solomon's Quarries – is a 5-acre (20,000 m2) underground meleke limestone quarry that runs the length of five city blocks under the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was carved over a period of several thousand years and is a remnant of the biggest quarry in Jerusalem, having once stretched all the way from Jeremiah's Grotto and the Garden Tomb – a traditional Protestant site of Jesus's burial – to the walls of the Old City. [1] Names -- In addition to Zedekiah's Cave and Solomon's Quarries, this site has been called Zedekiah's Grotto, Suleiman's Cave, the Royal Caverns (or Royal Caves or Royal Quarries), and Korah's Cave. The Arabic name Migharat al-Kitan, or "Cotton Cave", has also been used; the cavern is thought to have been once used as a storage place for cotton[2]. Description -- The entrance to Zedekiah's Cave is just beneath the Old City wall, between the Damascus and Herod Gates, about 500 feet (150 m) east of the former. Beyond the narrow entrance, the cave slopes down into a vast 300-foot-long auditorium-like chamber. Drops of water, known as "Zedekiah's tears", trickle through the ceiling (See below for the legend associating the cave with King Zedekiah.) Beyond the "auditorium", are a series of artificial galleries hewn by ancient stonecutters into chaotic, sometimes bizarre, patterns and formations. Paths give access to every corner of the quarry system, which takes at least 30 minutes to explore thoroughly. Chisel marks are visible in many sections and in some galleries huge, nearly finished building blocks destined for some long-ago structure are locked into the rock where the stonecutters left them centuries ago. In a few places the stones are marked by Arabic, Greek, Armenian and English charcoal and engraved graffiti (e.g., "W. E. Blackstone Jan. 1889"). Several plaques explaining some of the myriad legends associated with the site have been mounted on the cave walls. From entrance to the furthest point, the cave extends about 650 feet (200 m). Its maximum width is about 330 feet (100 m) and its depth is generally about 30 feet (9.1 m) below the street level of the Muslim Quarter. History -- Only the mouth of Zedekiah's Cave is a natural phenomenon. The interior of the cavern was carved by slaves and laborers over a period of several thousand years; precisely when quarrying began is impossible to determine. Herod the Great (73 BC – 4 BC) certainly used the main quarry at Zedekiah's Cave for building blocks in the renovation of the Temple and its retaining walls, including what is known today as the Western (Wailing) Wall. Stone from the quarry may also have been utilized for the building projects of Herod Agrippa I (10 BC - 44 AD). The subterranean quarry would have been usable in all seasons and any weather. [3]. When the Roman Jewish writer Flavius Josephus (37 - 100 AD) mentions the "Royal Caverns" of the Old City[4], it is thought that he is probably referring to Zedekiah's Cave. The midrash known as Numbers Rabbah (1512) mentions (and exaggerates) the cave when it says that "One who observed the Sabbath in a cave, even though it be like the cave of Zedekiah, which was eighteen miles long, may walk through the whole of it..."[5]. Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566), the Ottoman sultan who built the present walls around the Old City, also apparently mined the quarry, ultimately sealing it up around 1540 because of security concerns. The site was then lost to history for over 300 years until, in 1854, the American missionary James Turner Barclay was walking his dog one day. According to the story, the dog, following a fox’s scent, dug through dirt near the Old City wall and suddenly disappeared through an opening. After nightfall, Barclay and his two sons, dressed in Arab garb and carrying candles, slithered through the newly opened crack to discover the vast cavern as well as the skeletons of previous visitors. [6] The Freemasons of Israel hold an annual ceremony in Zedekiah's Cave, and consider it one of the most revered sites in their history. (Masonic ritual claims that King Solomon was their first Grand Master - and some Freemasons feel that the cave is definitely Solomon's quarry[3].) According to Matti Shelon, head of the Israeli Freemasons, "Since the 1860s we have been holding ceremonies in the cave"[3]. According to the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Israel, the site "has special meaning for Mark Master Masons and the Royal Arch Masons in particular". Starting in the days of the British Mandate (1920s), the cave was used for the ceremony of Mark Master Masons. Although this practice was temporarily suspended between the years 1948 and 1968, the impressive ceremony of the consecration of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Israel was commenced again in the spring of 1969, and ever since then the Mark degree has been performed in the caves on the average of once a year. [7] In 1873, French archeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau uncovered a crude carving of a cherub in a small niche in the cave. It had two long narrow wings that opened like a pair of scissors, a curled tail and a bearded human head under a conical headdress. (The site is now marked by a plaque.) As cherubs were a popular Old Testament motif (especially famous are the two giant cherubs flanking the Holy Ark in Solomon's Temple), the cherub graffiti has been advanced as evidence that the quarry dates from the time of Solomon. [3]. In the mid-1880s, the cave was occupied by a German religious sect which was eventually evacuated by the German Consul in Jerusalem after many of the group fell ill from living in the damp, unsanitary conditions. [8] Minor quarrying occurred in 1907 when stone was obtained to be used in the Turkish clock tower over the Jaffa Gate. Otherwise, the site was not frequented again until the 1920s, when it began to be something of a tourist attraction ...

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Solomons' Pools in Wikipedia

Solomon's Pools (Beraik Solayman), are located immediately to the south of al-Khader and about 5 kilometres southwest of Bethlehem. The pools consist of three open cisterns, each pool with a 6 metre drop to the next, fed from an underground spring. With each pool being over 100 metres long, 65 metres wide and 10 metres deep, the total water capacity is approximately 200 million litres. Consequently the pools have played a significant role in the area's water supply for centuries. They are erroneously named after the Biblical Solomon, stemming from a legend of Solomon using the waters and gardens as in Ecclesiastes 2.6, where Solomon is recorded as saying "I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees".[1] However, recent evidence suggests that the lowest pool was probably the constructed during the Maccabean period at the time of the reconstruction of the temple at Jerusalem (circa 2 BCE). A second phase occurred when Pontius Pilate built 39 km of aqueduct from the collection pools at Arrub. Roman engineering under Herod the Great in connection with his improvements to the Second Temple created the underground tunnel feeding the upper pool.[2] The pools provide water for an aqueduct system supplying Bethlehem and for the population of Jerusalem where the aqueduct terminated under the Temple Mount and separated from its neighbour by 50 metres and each pool is 6 metres lower than that above it, the conduits being so arranged that the lowest, which is the largest and finest of the three, is filled first, and then in succession the others. It has been estimated that these pools cover about 7 acres (28,000 m2). The pools are fed by four different springs; the most prominent is Ein-Atan or Etam at the head of the Wadi Urtas, called "the sealed fountain," about 200 metres to the north-west of the upper pool. The spring water is transferred to the upper pool by a large subterranean passage.[3] The water system as a whole shows a high degree of sophistication. Five different aqueducts, totalling nearly 60 kilometres in length, were linked to Solomon's Pools. From the lower pool an aqueduct has been traced carrying the water through Bethlehem and across the valley of Gihon, and along the west slope of the Tyropoeon valley, till it finds its way into the great cisterns underneath the temple hill in Jerusalem. The water, however, from the pools now reaches only to Bethlehem. The aqueduct beyond this has been destroyed. Two of the aqueducts connected to additional water sources from the south; another, from the upper pool, carried water east to the Herodium where Herod had constructed a large recreational pool, lined with columns; and two aqueducts brought water to Jerusalem. The area around Solomon's Pools has provided a pleasant atmosphere for picnics and relaxation over the centuries. On the north side at the entry to the park is an old Ottoman structure, built in 1620, which is known as Qal'at el-Burak or the castle of the pools. This has served at times as a khan (a resting place for caravans) and now has a restaurant with a garden area inside.

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Susita in Wikipedia

Hippos is an archaeological site in Israel, located on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Between the 3rd century BC and the 7th century AD, Hippos was the site of a Greco-Roman city. Besides the fortified city itself, Hippos controlled two port facilities on the lake and an area of the surrounding countryside. Hippos was part of the Decapolis, or Ten Cities, a group of cities in Roman Palestine that were culturally tied more closely to Greece and Rome than to the Middle East. Established as Antiochia Hippos (Greek: Αντιόχεια του Ίππου) by Seleucid settlers, the city is named after the Greek language word for horse, Hippos, and a common name of Seleucid monarchs, Antiochus. The local Aramaic and Hebrew name, Sussita (Hebrew: סוסיתא‎), also means horse, while the Arabic name, Qal'at el-Husn, means "Fortress of the Horse." Other names include the alternate spelling Hippus and the Latinized version of the Greek name: Hippum. The precise reason why the city received this name is as yet unknown.[1] Location - Hippos was built on a flat-topped foothill 2 kilometers east of and 350 meters above the Sea of Galilee, 144 meters above sea level - near modern Kibbutz Ein Gev.[2] The site is just on the Israeli side of the 1949 UN-demarcated border between Syria and Israel. Hippos was part of a demilitarized zone between the Golan Heights and Israel proper, until Israel captured the former in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. History -- Hellenistic period -- Excavations in Hippos have revealed traces of habitation from as early as the Neolithic period.[3] The site was again inhabited in the third century BCE by the Ptolemies, though whether it was an urban settlement or a military outpost is still unknown.[1] During this time, Coele-Syria served as the battleground between two dynasties descending from Captains of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. It is likely that Hippos, on a very defensible site along the border lines of the 3rd century BCE, was founded as a border fortress for the Ptolemies. The city of Hippos itself was established by Seleucid colonists, most likely in the second century BC. Its full name, Antiochia Hippos (Latin: Antiocheia ad Hippum), reflects a Seleucid founding. As the Seleucids took possession of all of Coele-Syria, Hippos grew into a full-fledged polis, a city-state with control over the surrounding countryside. Antiochia Hippos was improved with all the makings of a Greek polis: a temple, a central market area, and other public structures. The availability of water limited the size of Hellenistic Hippos. The citizens relied on rain-collecting cisterns for all their water; this kept the city from supporting a very large population. Hasmonean Period -- The Maccabean revolt resulted in an independent Jewish kingdom under the Hasmonean family in 142 BC. In c. 83-80 BC, Alexander Jannaeus led a Hasmonean campaign to conquer lands east of the Jordan River. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Alexander forced the entire population of Hippos to convert to Judaism and be circumcised. Roman period -- Map of the Decapolis showing the location of Hippos (here spelled Hippus) In 63 BC the Roman general Pompey conquered Coele-Syria, including Judea, and ended Hasmonean rule. Pompey granted self- rule to roughly ten Greek cities on Coele-Syria's eastern frontier; this group, of which Hippos was one, came to be called the Decapolis and was incorporated into the Roman Provincia Syria.[1] Under Roman rule, Hippos was granted a certain degree of autonomy. The city minted its own coins, stamped with the image of a horse in honor of the city's name. Hippos was given to Herod the Great in 37 BC and returned to the Province of Syria in 4 BC. According to Josephus, during this time Hippos, a pagan city, was the "sworn enemy" of the new Jewish city across the lake, Tiberias. This raises questions, as Tiberius was not founded until approximately 25 years after Herod's death by his son, Herod Antipas, in honor of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius, in 20 A.D. However, Hippos must have had some Jewish residents in the city. Josephus reports that during the Great Jewish Revolt of AD 66-70, Hippos persecuted its Jewish population. Other Jews from Sussita participated in attacks on Magdala and elsewhere. Hippos itself fell under attack by rebels at least once. After the Romans put down the Bar Kokhba revolt, they created the province of Palaestina in 135, of which Hippos was a part. This was the beginning of Hippos' greatest period of prosperity and growth. It was rebuilt along a grid pattern, centered around a long Decumanus Maximus running east-west through the city. The streets were lined with hundreds of red granite columns imported from Egypt. The great expense required to haul these columns to Palestine and up the hill is proof of the city's wealth. Other improvements included a Kalybe (a shrine to the Emperor), a theatre, an odeon, a basilica,[4] and new city walls. The most important improvement, however, was the aqueduct, which led water into Hippos from springs in the Golan Heights, 50 km away. The water, collected in a large, vaulted cistern, allowed a large population to live in the city. Byzantine period - The imperial restructuring under the emperor Diocletian placed Hippos in the province of Palestina Secunda, encompassing Galilee and the Golan. When Christianity became officially tolerated in the Roman Empire, Palestine became the target of Imperial subsidies for churches and monasteries, and Christian pilgrims brought additional revenue. Industry expanded and more luxury goods became available to common people. Christianity came slowly to Hippos. There is no evidence of any Christian presence before the 4th century. A Byzantine- era pagan tomb of a man named Hermes has been found just outside the city walls, attesting to the relatively late presence of paganism here. Gradually, however, the city was Christianized, becoming the seat of a bishop by at least 359. One Bishop Peter of Hippos is listed in surviving records of church councils in 359 and 362...

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Tel Arad in Wikipedia

Tel Arad (Hebrew: תל ערד‎) or 'old' Arad is located west of the Dead Sea, about 10 km west of modern Arad in an area surrounded by mountain ridges which is known as the Arad Plain. The site is divided into a lower city and an upper hill which holds the only ever discovered 'House of Yahweh' in the land of Israel.[1] Tel Arad was excavated during 18 seasons by Ruth Amiran and Yohanan Aharoni. The Lower City And Upper Hill -- The lower area was first settled during the Chalcolithic period, around 4000 BCE. Excavations at the site have unearthed an extensive Bronze Age Canaanite settlement which was in place until approximately 2650 BCE. The site was then apparently deserted for over 1500 years until resettled during the Israelite period from the 11th century BCE onwards, initially as an unwalled piece of land cut off as an official or sacred domain was established on the upper hill, and then later as a garrison-town known as 'The Citadel'. The citadel and sanctuary were constructed at the time of King David and Solomon. Artifacts found within the sanctuary of the citadel mostly reflect offerings of oil, wine, wheat, etc. brought there by numerous people throughout the reign of the kings of Judah until the kingdom's fall to the Babylonians. However, during the Persian, Maccabean, Roman, and early Muslim eras, locals continued to transport these items to the sacred precinct of the upper hill. Markers of these ancient Israelite rituals remain to this day, with broken pottery littering the entire site. Under the Judaean kings the citadel was periodically refortified, remodeled and rebuilt, until ultimately it was destroyed between 597 BCE and 577 BCE whilst Jerusalem was under siege by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. Among the most significant artifacts unearthed from this time are ostraca dating from the mid-7th century BCE, referring to this citadel as the House of Yahweh (Biblical term). Habitation of Tel Arad and the upper citadel did not end with the Babylonian siege. During the Persian period (5th - 4th centuries BCE) almost a hundred ostracon and pottery were written in Aramaic, mostly accounts of locals who brought oil, wine, wheat, etc. to the upper hill. Thus, several citadels were built one upon the other and existed in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Herod even reconstructed the lower city for the purpose of making bread. The site lasted til the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and completely expelled the 'circumcised' in 135 AD. Tel Arad laid in ruins for 500 years until the Islamic period when the former Roman citadel was rebuilt and remodeled by some prosperous clan in the area and functioned for 200 years until around 861 AD when there was a breakdown of central authority and a period of widespread rebellion and unrest. The citadel was destroyed and no more structures were built on the site...

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Tel Aviv in Wikipedia

Tel Aviv-Yafo (Hebrew: תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, lit. "Spring Hill"-Jaffa; Arabic: تل أبيب‎, Tall ʼAbīb),[2] usually referred to as Tel Aviv, is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400.[1] The city is situated on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline, on a land area of 51.4 square kilometres (19.8 sq mi). It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, home to 3.3 million residents as of 2010.[1] The city is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, headed by Ron Huldai. Residents of Tel Aviv are called Tel Avivians.[3] Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa (Hebrew: יָפוֹ‎, Yafo; Arabic: يافا‎, Yaffa). The growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced Jaffa, which was largely Arab at the time. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the establishment of the State of Israel. Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings.[4][5][6] Tel Aviv is classified as a beta+ world city.[7] It is a major economic hub, home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and many corporate offices and research and development centers.[8] Its beaches, parks, bars, cafés, restaurants, shopping, cosmopolitan lifestyle and 24-hour culture have made it a popular tourist destination for domestic and overseas tourists alike, contributing to its reputation as "the city that never sleeps.[9][10][11] Tel Aviv is the country's financial capital and a major performing arts and business center.[12] The economy of Tel Aviv was ranked second in the Middle East,[13] and 50th globally by Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index.[14] It is the most expensive city in the region, and the 17th most expensive city in the world.[15] New York City-based writer and editor David Kaufman named it the "Mediterranean's New Capital of Cool".[16] In 2010, Tel Aviv has been named the third-best city in the world by Lonely Planet, third-best in the Middle East & Africa by Travel + Leisure magazine, and one of the best beach cities in the world by National Geographic.[17][18][19] Etymology -- The name Tel Aviv (literally "Spring Hill") was chosen in 1910 among many suggestions, including "Herzliya". Tel Aviv is the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland ("Old New Land"), translated from German by Nahum Sokolow. Sokolow took the name from Ezekiel 3:15 : "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days."[20] This name was found fitting as it embraced the idea of the renaissance of the ancient Jewish homeland. Aviv is Hebrew for "spring", symbolizing renewal, and tel is an archaeological site that reveals layers of civilization built one over the other.[21] Theories vary about the etymology of Jaffa or Yafo in Hebrew. Some believe that the name derives from yafah or yofi, Hebrew for "beautiful" or "beauty". Another tradition is that Japheth, son of Noah, founded the city and that it was named for him. The name is also transliterated as Tel-Abib in the King James Bible. [edit]History [edit]Jaffa The port of Jaffa, circa 1899 The ancient port of Jaffa changed hands many times in the course of history. Archeological excavations from 1955 to 1974 unearthed towers and gates from the Middle Bronze Age.[22] Subsequent excavations, from 1997 onwards, helped date earlier discoveries.[22] They also exposed sections of a packed-sandstone glacis and a "massive brick wall", dating from the Late Bronze Age as well as a temple "attributed to the Sea Peoples" and dwellings from the Iron Age.[22] Remnants of buildings from the Persian, Hellenistic and Pharaonic periods were also discovered.[22] The city is first mentioned in letters from 1470 BCE that record its conquest by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III.[6] Jaffa is mentioned several times in the Bible, as the port from which Jonah set sail for Tarshish;[23] as bordering on the territory of the Tribe of Dan;[24] and as the port at which the wood for Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem arrived from Lebanon.[25] According to some sources it has been a port for at least 4,000 years.[26] In 1099, the Christian armies of the First Crusade, led by Godfrey of Bouillon occupied Jaffa, which had been abandoned by the Muslims, fortified the town and improved its harbor.[27] As the County of Jaffa, the town soon became important as the main sea supply route for the Kingdom of Jerusalem.[28] Jaffa was captured by Saladin in 1192 but swiftly re-taken by Richard Coeur de Lion, who added to its defenses.[29] In 1223, Emperor Frederick II added further fortications.[29] Crusader domination ended in 1268, when the Mamluk Sultan Baibars captured the town, destroyed its harbor and razed its fortifications.[29][30] To prevent further Crusader incursions, the city was ransacked in 1336, 1344 and 1346 by Nasir al-Din Muhammad.[31] In the 16th century, Jaffa was conquered by the Ottomans and was administered as a village in the Sanjak of Gaza.[30] Napoleon besieged the city in 1799 and killed scores of inhabitants; a plague epidemic followed, decimating the remaining population.[30] Jaffa began to grow as an urban center in the early 18th century, when the Ottoman government in Constantinople intervened to guard the port and reduce attacks by Bedouins and pirates.[30] However, the real expansion came during the 19th century, when the population grew from 2,500 in 1806 to 17,000 in 1886.[6] From 1800 to 1870, Jaffa was surrounded by walls and towers, which were torn down to allow for expansion as security improved.[32] The sea wall, 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) high, remained intact until the 1930s, when it was built over during a renovation of the port by the British Mandatory authorities.[32] During the mid-19th century, the city grew prosperous from trade, especially of silk and Jaffa oranges, with Europe.[6] In the 1860s Jaffa's small Sephardic community was joined by Jews from Morocco and small numbers of European Ashkenazi Jews, making by 1882 a total Jewish population of more than 1,500.[6] The first Jews to build outside of Jaffa, in the area of modern day Tel Aviv, were Yemenite Jews. These homes, built in 1881, became the core of Kerem HaTeimanim (Hebrew for "the Vineyard of the Yemenites"). In 1896 the Yemenite Jews established Mahane Yehuda, and in 1904, Mahane Yossef. These neighbourhoods later became the Shabazi neighbourhood. During the 1880s, Ashkenazi immigration to Jaffa increased with the onset of the First Aliyah. The new arrivals were motivated more by Zionism than religion and came to farm the land and engage in productive labor.[6] In keeping with their pioneer ideology, some chose to settle in the sand dunes north of Jaffa.[6] The beginning of modern-day Tel Aviv is marked by the construction of Neve Tzedek, a neighborhood built by Ashkenazi settlers between 1887 and 1896...

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Tel Balata in Wikipedia

Tell Balata (Arabic: تل بلاطة‎) is the site of the remains of an ancient city located in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank.[1] The site is listed by UNESCO as part of the Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in the Palestinian Territories.[1] Experts estimate that the towers and buildings at the site date back 5,000 years to the Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages.[1] Traditionally, the site has been associated with biblical Shechem, based on circumstantial evidence such as its location and preliminary evidence of habitation during the late Bronze and early Iron Ages.[2] No inscriptional evidence to support this conclusion has been found in situ, and other sites have also been identified as the possible site of biblical Shechem; for example, Yitzhak Magen locates it nearby on Mount Gerizim itself.[2][3] Name -- Tell is the Hebrew and Arabic word for an archaeological mound.[4] Balata is the name of the ancient Arab village located on the tell, and of the adjacent Palestinian refugee camp of Balata established in 1950.[5] The name was preserved by local residents and used to refer both to the village and the hill (and later on, the refugee camp).[6] One theory holds that balata is a derivation of the Aramaic word Balut, meaning acorn (or in Arabic, oak); another theory holds that it is a derivation of the Byzantine-Roman era, from the Greek word platanos, meaning terebinth, a type of tree that grew around the spring of Balata.[5][6] Location -- Tell Balata lies in a mountain pass between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, a location fits well with the geographical description provided for Shechem in the Bible.[2] The Palestinian village of Salim (biblical Salem) is located 4.5 kilometers (3 mi) to the west.[7] The built-up area of Balata, a Palestinian village and suburb of Nablus, covers about one-third of the tell, and overlooks a vast plain to the east.[8][9] Excavations -- Excavations were conducted at Tell Balata by the American Schools of Oriental Research between 1956 and 1964 when the West Bank was under the rule of Jordan.[10] Archaeologists who took part in this expedition included Paul and Nancy Lapp, Albert Glock, Lawrence Toombs, Edward Campbell, Robert Bull, Joe Seeger, and William G. Dever, among others.[11] Further excavations are to be undertaken by Palestinian archaeologists along with students from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands as part of a joint effort funded by the Dutch government.[1] Findings -- A 2002 final published report on the stratigraphic and architectural evidence at Tell Balata indicates that there was a break in occupation between the end of the Late Bronze Age (c. 1150 BC) through to the early Iron Age II (c. 975 BC).[12] A small quadrangular altar discovered in Tell Balata, similar to ones found in other Iron Age sites such as Tel Arad and Tel Dan, may have been used for burning incense.[13] One of the oldest coins discovered in Palestine was an electrum Greek Macedonian coin, dated to circa 500 BC, found at Tell Balata.[14] There is evidence that the site was inhabited in the Hellenistic period until the end of the 2nd century BC.[15] This Hellenistic era city was founded in the late 4th century BC and extended over an area of 6 hectares. The built structure shows evidence of considerable damage dated to the 190s BC, and attributed to Antiochus III's conquest of Palestine. Habitation continued until the final destruction of the city at this site in the late 2nd century BC. While this site was previously thought to be the site of the Samaritan city of Shechem said by Josephus to have been destroyed by John Hyrcanus I, Y. Magen places locates that city nearby, on Mount Gerizim at a site covering an area of 30 hectares.[3]

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Tel Beer Sheva in Wikipedia

Tel Be'er Sheva (Hebrew: תל באר שבע‎) is an archeological site in southern Israel believed to be the remains of the biblical town of Be'er Sheva [1] The modern town of Beersheba is situated west of the tel. The Bedouin town of Tel Sheva lies to the east. The town is mentioned numerous times in the Tanakh, often as a means of describing the extent of the Land of Israel, as being from "Be'er Sheva to Dan". For examples, see Judges 20:1-3 and I Samuel 3:19-21. The name is derived from the Hebrew Be'er meaning a well, and Sheva, meaning either the number seven, or "to swear an oath". Archeological finds indicate that the site was used from the Chalcolithic period, around 4000 BCE, through to the sixteenth century CE. This was probably due to the abundance of underground water, as evidenced by the numerous wells in the area. The settlement itself dates from the early Israelite period, around the tenth century BCE. The streets of ancient Be'er Sheva are laid out in a grid, with separate areas for administrative, military, commercial and residential use. The town is regarded as the first planned settlement in the region. The site is also noteworthy for its elaborate water system and huge cistern, carved out of the rock beneath the town. A large horned altar was uncovered at the site. It was reconstructed with several well-dressed stones found in secondary use in the walls of a later building. This altar attests to the existence of a temple or cult center in the city which was probably dismantled during the reforms of King Hezekiah. (2 Kings 18:4 ) The site was excavated by Prof. Yohanan Aharoni and by Prof. Ze'ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University.

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Tel Dan in Wikipedia

Dan (Hebrew: דן‎), is a city mentioned in the Bible, described as the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel, belonging to the Tribe of Dan. The city is identified with the tel known as Tel Dan ("Mound of Dan" תל דן in Hebrew), or Tel el-Qadi ("Mound of the Judge" in Arabic, تل القاضي, literal translation of the Hebrew name Tel Dan, "Dan" meaning "judge", or "one who judges") in Israel. Identification and names - Dan was first identified by Edward Robinson in 1838, and has been securely identified with the archaeological site of Tel Dan, which the Book of Judges (Judges 18:27-29 ) states was known as Laish prior to its conquest by the Tribe of Dan,[1] whereas in Joshua 19:47 it is called Leshem. Geography - Dan is situated in Israel, in the area known as the Finger of the Galilee. To the west is the southern part of Mount Lebanon; to the east and north are the Hermon mountains. Melting snow from the Hermon mountains provides the majority of the water of the Jordan River, and passes through Dan, making the immediate area highly fertile. The lush vegetation that results makes the area around Dan seem somewhat out of place in the otherwise arid region around it. Due to its location close to the border with Lebanon and at the far north of the territory which fell under the British Mandate of Palestine, the site has a long and often bitterly contested modern history, most recently during the 1967 Six-Day War. History and archeaology - According to the archaeological excavations at the site, the town was originally occupied in the late Neolithic era (c 4500BCE), although at some time in the fourth millennium BCE it was abandoned, for almost 1000 years. Bronze age - According to the Book of Judges, prior to the Tribe of Dan occupying the land, the town was known as Laish, and allied with the Sidonians; This might indicate they were Phoenicians (Sidonians were Phoenicians from the city of Sidon), who may or may not have been Canaanite. The alliance had little practical benefit due to the remoteness of the town from Sidon, and the intervening Lebanon mountains. The town was also isolated from the Assyrians and Aram by the Hermon mountains; the Septuagint mentions that the town was unable to have an alliance with the Aramaeans. The masoretic text does not mention the Aramaeans, but instead states that the town had no relationship with any man - textual scholars believe that this is a typographic error, with adham (man) being a mistake for aram.[2]. According to the narrative in Judges concerning Micah's Idol, the Tribe of Dan did not at that point have any territory to their name (Judges 18:1 ), and so, after scouting out the land, eventually decided to attack Laish, as the land around it was fertile, and the town was demilitarised. Most Biblical scholars now believe that the Tribe of Dan originated as one of the Sea Peoples, hence remaining on their ships in the early Song of Deborah, and not having Israelite land to their name,[3][4] though conservative scholars argue[citation needed] that the Tribe of Dan migrated because they were forced out of their original lands by the Philistines. The bible describes the Tribe of Dan brutally defeating the people of Laish and burning the town to the ground, and then building their own town in the same spot. However, textual scholars believe that the whole narrative concerning Micah's idol is a slur on the sanctuary at Dan, by a writer or writers who were opposed to the presence of idols there, and that the apparent brutality may not reflect historic reality.[2] The narrative states that Laish subsequently became known as Dan, after the name of the tribe, and that it housed a sanctuary filled with idols, which remained in use until the time of captivity of the land and the time that the house of God ceased to be in Shiloh. Scholars think that the former refers to the Assyrian conquest of the Kingdom of Israel by Tiglath-pileser III in 733/732 BCE, and that the latter refers to the time of Hezekiah's religious reform;[4] an alternative possibility, however, supported by a minority of scholars, is that time of captivity of the land is a typographic error and should read time of captivity of the ark, referring to the battle of Eben-Ezer, and the Philistine capture of the Ark, and that the ceasing of the house of God being in Shiloh refers to this also.[5] The excavators of Tel Dan uncovered a city gate made of mud bricks estimated to have been built around 1750 BCE, presumed to be the period of the Biblical patriarchs. Its popular name is Abraham's gate, because Abraham traveled to Dan to rescue his nephew Lot. Genesis 14:14 : "And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan." The gate was restored in the late 2000s, and has become a popular tourist attraction.[6] Iron Age -- According to 2 Kings 10:29 and 2 Chronicles 13:8 , Jeroboam erected two golden calves as gods in Bethel and Dan. Textual scholars believe that this is where the Elohist story of Aaron's Golden Calf actually originates, due to opposition in some sections of Israelite society (including the Elohist themselves) to the seeming idol-worship of Jeroboam.[7] However, Biblical scholars believe that Jeroboam was actually trying to outdo the sanctuary at Jerusalem (Solomon's Temple), by creating a seat for God that spanned the whole kingdom of Israel, rather than just the small space above the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem; the seat for God in the Jerusalem sanctuary was represented by a cherubim on either side, while scholars believe that Jeroboam was using the calves to represent the sides of his seat for God - implying his whole kingdom was equal in holiness to the Ark[7] Within the remains of the city wall, close to the entrance of the outer gate, parts of the Tel Dan Stele were found. Three related basalt fragments, which the Israelites apparently broke up following the end of foreign occupation by the Aramaean king who commissioned the text[8], bears an Aramaic inscription, referring to one of the kings of Damascus; the excavators of the site believe that the king it refers to is Hazael (c 840 BCE), though a minority argue that it instead refers to Ben-Hadad (c 802 BCE)[9][10]. A small part of the inscription remains, with text containing the letters 'ביתדוד' (BYTDWD), which some archaeologists agree refers to House of David (Beth David in Hebrew.[11][12] In the line directly above, the text reads 'MLK YSR'L', i.e. "King of Israel". Hebrew script from the era is vowel-less), which would make the inscription the first time that the name David has been found at an archaeological site dating before 500 BCE. Dan suffered in the era of expansion by the Aramaeans, due to being the closest city to them in the kingdom of Israel. The several incursions indicated by the Book of Kings suggest that Dan changed hands at least four times between the Kingdom of Israel and Aramaeans, around the time that Israel was ruled by Ahab and the Aramaeans by Ben Hadad I, and their successors. Around this time, the Tel Dan stele was created by the Aramaeans, during one of the periods of their control of Dan. When the Assyrian empire expanded to the south, the kingdom of Israel initially became a vassal state, but after rebelling, the Assyrians invaded, the town fell to Tiglath-pileser III in 733/732 BCE. In 1992, in order to tidy up the site for presentation to visitors, a heap of debris was removed which dated from the time of the Assyrian destruction of the city by Tiglath-pileser III in 733/2 BCE. A hitherto unknown earlier gateway to the city was uncovered. The entrance complex led to a courtyard paved with stone with a low stone platform. This has been identified by some biblical literalists[who?] as the podium for the golden calf which the Bible states was placed there by Jeroboam[13] dated to the 10th century BCE. In the 9th century BCE, the podium was enlarged, and major fortifications were built, a city wall with buttresses and a complex gate. The podium was enlarged further in the 8th century BCE by Jeroboam II, then destroyed by Tiglath-pileser III.[14] Later periods -- During the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods, remains indicate that cultic activities continued around the podium (AKA "the High Place").[14]

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Tel Miqne in Wikipedia

The city of Ekron (Hebrew: עֶקְרוֹן‎ ʿeqrōn, also transliterated Accaron) was one of the five cities of the famed Philistine 'pentapolis,' located in southwestern Canaan. During the Iron Age, Ekron was a border city on the frontier contested between Philistia and the kingdom of Judah. Robinson identified the Arab village of Aqir as the site of Ekron in 1838[1] [2] and this was accepted until it was contested by Macalister in 1913, who suggested Khirbet Dikerin, and Albright in 1922, who suggested Qatra.[2] The identification of Ekron as Tel Mikne (Tel Miqne, Khirbet Muqanna) was suggested by Naveh and Kallai in 1957–1958,[3][4] a theory widely accepted in light of a royal dedication inscription found during the 1996 excavations.[5] Ekron lies 35 kilometers west of Jerusalem, and 18 kilometers north of Gath, on the western edge of the inner coastal plain. Excavations in 1981-1996 at the low square tel have made Ekron one of the best documented Philistine sites. Ekron was a settlement of the indigenous Canaanites. The Canaanite city had shrunk in the years before its main public building burned in the 13th century BCE; it was refounded by Philistines at the beginning of the Iron Age, ca 12th century BCE. Ekron is mentioned in the Book of Joshua 13:2-3: "This is the land that still remains: all the regions of the Philistines and all those of the Geshurites from Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron." Joshua 3:13 counts it the border city of the Philistines and seat of one of the five Philistine city lords, and Joshua 15:11 mentions Ekron's satellite towns and villages. The city was reassigned afterwards to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:43), but came again into the full possession of the Philistines. It was the last place to which the Philistines carried the Ark of the Covenant before they sent it back to Israel (1 Samuel 5:10; 6:1-8). There was here a noted sanctuary of Baal. The Baal who was worshipped was called Baal Zebul, which some scholars connect with Beelzebub, known from the Hebrew Bible: (2 Kings 1:2): Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber at Samaria and was injured. So he sent messengers whom he instructed: "Go inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury." (JPS translation) Non-Hebrew sources also refer to Ekron. The siege of Ekron in 712 BCE is depicted on one of Sargon II's wall reliefs in his palace at Khorsabad, which names the city. Ekron revolted against Sennacherib and expelled Padi, his governor, who was sent to Hezekiah, at Jerusalem, for safe-keeping. Sennacherib marched against Ekron and the Ekronites called upon the aid of the king of Mutsri. Sennacherib turned aside to defeat this army, which he did at Eltekeh, and then returned and took the city by storm, put to death the leaders of the revolt and carried their adherents into captivity. This campaign led to the famous attack of Sennacherib on Hezekiah and Jerusalem, in which Sennacherib compelled Hezekiah to restore Padi, who was reinstated as governor at Ekron. Ashdod and Ekron survived to become powerful city-states dominated by Assyria in the 7th century BCE. The city may have been destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer II around 604 BCE, but it is mentioned, as "Accaron", as late as 1 Maccabees 10:89 (2nd century BCE). Excavations in the temple complex at Tel Miqne in 1996 recovered a significant artifact for the corpus of Biblical archaeology, a dedicatory inscription of the seventh-century king of Ekron 'Akish. The inscription not only securely identifies the site, it gives a brief king-list of rulers of Ekron, fathers to sons: Ya'ir, Ada, Yasid, Padi, 'Akish.[5] Ekron imagined in a medieval fresco illustrating 1 Samuel 5-6 (Cathedral crypt, Anagni, Italy, c.1255) Of more than local interest is the recipient of the inscription, 'Akish's divine "Lady. May she bless him, and guard him, and prolong his days, and bless his land." The name or title of the Lady of Ekron is Ptgyh or Ptnyh. Aaron Demsky (Demsky 1997) reads the name as Ptnyh and relates it to the title Potnia ("Mistress")[6] that was applied to the Great Goddess of the Aegean, in her various local manifestations, which include Mycenaean sites. A much earlier representation of the Lady of Ekron, perhaps thirteenth century BCE offers her left breast. More recently, Stephen R. Berlant [7] argued that the name of this goddess was Petryah, a Hebraized variation or corruption of the name Pidray of Baal's daughter, in accordance with Demsky's suggestion that "the reading will be strengthened if it results in a recognizable term that more aptly fits the context." Berlant theorizes that the cult activities that revolved around Petryah at Ekron were a theophagic right, wherein a priestess would ingest Petryah's botanical embodiment, the A. muscaria, which seemingly rendered this priestess Petryah's human embodiment, after which the priestess would use her mediumship to channel Petryah's voice to her supplicants.[8]

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Kedesh in Wikipedia

The ruins of the ancient Canaanite village of Kedesh are located within the modern Kibbutz Malkiya in Israel on the Israeli-Lebanese border.[1] Kedesh was first documented in the Book of Joshua as a Canaanite citadel that was conquered by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. Ownership for Kedesh was turned over, by lot, to the tribe of Naphtali and subsequently, at the command of God, Kedesh was set apart by Joshua as one of the Cities of Refuge along with Shechem and Kiriath Arba (Hebron) (Joshua 20:7 ). In the 8th century BCE during the reign of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser III king of Assyria took Kedesh and deported its inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29 ). Later, in the 5th century BCE Kedesh may have become the capital for the Persian controlled, Tyrian administrated province of the Upper Galilee[2]. In 259 BC Kedesh was mentioned by Zenon, a traveling merchant from Egypt[3]. Between 145 BC and 143 BC Kedesh (Cades) was overthrown by Jonathan Maccabeus in his fight against the Seleucid king Demetrius I Soter [4] [5]. It remains abandoned until this day. Tel Kedesh continues to be excavated by the University of Michigan. Other In the Book of Judges, the great oak tree in Zaanaim is stated to be near Kedesh (Judges 4:11 ).

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Tell Abu Hawam in Wikipedia

Tell Abu Hawam was a small city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th Century BCE) on the site of Modern-day Haifa, Israel. The sixth century BCE geographer Scylax described the city as being located "between the bay and the promontory of Zeus (Currently Mount Carmel)". It existed as a port city and a fishing village, and was moved to the site south of what is now the neighborhood of Bat Galim. The city eventually expanded into what is now the city of Haifa.

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The Galilee in Wikipedia

Galilee (Hebrew: הגליל‎ HaGalil, lit: the province, Ancient Greek: Γαλιλαία, Latin: Galileia, Arabic: الجليل‎ al-Jaleel), is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee (Hebrew: גליל עליון‎ Galil Elyon), Lower Galilee (Hebrew: גליל תחתון‎ Galil Tahton), and Western Galilee (Hebrew: גליל מערבי‎ Galil Ma'aravi), extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the ridges of Mount Carmel and Mount Gilboa to the south, and from the Jordan Rift Valley to the east across the plains of the Jezreel Valley and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Coastal Plain in the west. Most of Galilee consists of rocky terrain, at heights of between 500 and 700 meters. There are several high mountains including Mount Tabor and Mount Meron in the region, which have relatively low temperatures and high rainfall. As a result of this climate, flora and wildlife thrive in the region, while many birds annually migrate from colder climates to Africa and back through the Hula–Jordan corridor. The streams and waterfalls, the latter mainly in Upper Galilee, along with vast fields of greenery and colorful wildflowers, as well as numerous towns of biblical importance, make the region a popular tourist destination. Due to its high rainfall (900–1200 mm), mild temperatures and high mountains (Mount Meron's elevation is 1,000–1,208 meters), the upper Galilee region contains some unique flora and fauna : prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus), Lebanese cedar (Cedrus libani), which grows in a small grove on Mount Meron, cyclamens, paeonias and Rhododendron ponticum which sometimes appears on Meron. History According to the Bible, Solomon rewarded Hiram I for certain services by giving him the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of Naphtali. Hiram called it "the land of Cabul". In Isaiah (8:23/9:1),[1] the region is referred to as "the District of the Nations" (גְּלִיל - הַגּוׁיִם; lit:Glil HaGoyim), with much of this name being retained in its present name of Galil or HaGalil. According to one view, during the Hasmonean period, with the revolt of the Maccabees and the decline of the Seleucid Empire, Galilee was conquered by the newly independent state of Judaea, and the region was resettled by Jews. However, according to another view there were not particularly large-scale population movements during this period, Galilee became Jewish because its population decided to recognize the authority of the Jerusalem temple rather than the Samaritan temple. In Roman times, the country was divided into Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, which comprised the whole northern section of the country, and was the largest of the three regions. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, ruled Galilee as tetrarch. The Galilee region was presumably the home of Jesus during at least 30 years of his life. The first three Gospels of the New Testament are mainly an account of Jesus' public ministry in this province, particularly in the towns of Nazareth and Capernaum. Galilee is also cited as the place where Jesus cured a blind man. After the Arab caliphate took control of the region in 638, it became part of Jund al-Urrdun (District of Jordan). Its major towns were Tiberias - which was capital of the district-Qadas, Baysan, Acre, Saffuriya and Kabul.[2] The Shia Fatimids conquered the region in the 10th century; a breakaway sect, venerating the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim, formed the Druze religion, centered in and to north of, Galilee. Eastern Galilee, however, retained a Jewish majority for most of its history.[citation needed] During the Crusades, Galilee was organized into the Principality of Galilee, one of the most important Crusader seigneuries. The Jewish population of Galilee increased significantly following their expulsion from Spain and welcome from the Ottoman Empire. The community for a time made Safed an international center of cloth weaving and manufacturing, as well as a key site for Jewish learning.[3] Today it remains one of Judaism's four holy cities and a center for kabbalah. In the mid 18th century, Galilee was caught up in a struggle between the Bedouin leader Dhaher al-Omar and the Ottoman authorities who were centered in Damascus. Al-Omar ruled Galilee for 25 years until Ottoman loyalist Jezzar Pasha conquered the region in 1775. In the early 20th century, Galilee was inhabited by Arab Christians, Arab Muslims, Druze and Jews, whilst the Ottomans also settled minorities from elsewhere in their empire including Circassians and Bosniaks. Two Circassian villages exist in the Galilee region today. The Jewish population was increased significantly by Zionist immigration. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli war nearly the whole of Galilee came under Israel's control. A large portion of the population fled, leaving dozens of entire villages empty; however, a large Israeli Arab community remained based in and near the cities of Nazareth, Acre, Tamra, Sakhnin and Shefa-'Amr, due to some extent to a successful rapprochement with the Druze. The kibbutzim around the Sea of Galilee were sometimes shelled by the Syrian army's artillery until Israel seized the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six-Day War. During the 1970s and the early 1980s, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) launched several attacks on towns of the Upper and Western Galilee from Lebanon. Israel initiated Operation Litani (1979) and Operation Peace For Galilee (1982) with the stated objectives of destroying the PLO infrastructure in Lebanon and protecting the citizens of the Galilee. Israel occupied much of Southern Lebanon until 1985 when it withdrew to a narrow security buffer zone. Until the year 2000, Hezbollah, and earlier Amal, continued to fight the Israeli Defence Forces, sometimes shelling Upper Galilee communities with Katyusha rockets. In May 2000, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak unilaterally withdrew IDF troops from southern Lebanon, maintaining a security force on the Israeli side of the international border recognized by the UN. However, clashes between Hezbollah and Israel continued along the border, and UN observers condemned both for their attacks. The 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict was characterized by round- the-clock Katyusha rocket attacks (with a greatly extended range) by Hezbollah on the whole of Galilee, with long-range ground-launched missiles, hitting as far south as the Sharon plain, Jezreel Valley, and Jordan Valley below the Sea of Galilee...

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Tel Hazor in Wikipedia

Tel Hazor (Hebrew: תל חצור‎), also Hatzor, present day Tell el-Qedah, is a tell above the site of ancient Hazor, whose archaeological remains are the largest and richest known in modern Israel. Hazor was an ancient city located in the Upper Galilee, north of the Sea of Galilee, between Ramah and Kadesh, on the high ground overlooking Lake Merom. In 2005, the remains of Hazor were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as part of the Biblical Tels - Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba. Canaanite Hazor -- During the Egyptian Second Intermediate Period and early New Kingdoms (together running between 18th century BC and 13th century BC), Canaan was an Egyptian vassal state; thus 14th century documents, from the El Amarna archive in Egypt, describe the king of Hazor (in Amarna letters called Hasura), Abdi-Tirshi, as swearing loyalty to the Egyptian Pharaoh. However, EA 148 specifically reports that Hasura's king has gone over to the Habiru who were invading Canaan. In these documents, Hazor is described as an important city in Canaan. Hazor is also mentioned in the Execration texts, that pre-date the Amarna letters, and in 18th century BCE documents found in Mari on the Euphrates River. According to the Book of Joshua Hazor was the seat of Jabin, a powerful Canaanite king that led a Canaanite confederation against Joshua, but was defeated by Joshua, who burnt Hazor to the ground.[1] According to the Book of Judges Hazor was the seat of Jabin, the king of Canaan, whose commander, Sisera, led a Canaanite army against Barak, but was ultimately defeated.[2] Textual scholars believe that the prose account of Barak, which differs from the poetic account in the Song of Deborah, is a conflation of accounts of two separate events, one concerning Barak and Sisera like the poetic account, the other concerning Jabin's confederation and defeat.[3] In addition, textual scholars think that the Book of Judges and Book of Joshua are parallel accounts, referring to the same events, rather than describing different time periods,[3][4] and thus that they refer to the same Jabin, a powerful king based in Hazor, whose Canaanite confederation was defeated by an Israelite army.[5] Some archaeologists believe that the Israelites emerged simply as a subculture within Canaanite society, and thus that the Israelite conquest of Canaan did not happen as detailed in the Bible;[6] most biblical scholars believe that the Book of Joshua conflates several independent battles between disparate groups, over multiple centuries, and artificially attributes them to a single leader - Joshua.[3] Nevertheless, one archaeological stratum, dating from around 1200 BC, shows signs of catastrophic fire, and cuneiform tablets found at the site refer to monarchs named Ibni Addi, where Ibni may be the etymological origin of Yavin (Jabin).[1] [6] The city also show signs of having been a magnificent Canaanite city prior to its destruction, with great temples and opulent palaces,[6] split into an upper acropolis, and lower city; the town evidently had been a major Canaanite city. Some archaeologists suspect the reason for the destruction of Hazor could be civil strife, attacks by the Sea Peoples, and/or a result of the general collapse of civilisation across the whole eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age.[6] This view is disputed by recent archaeological dig there. Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor (Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University) who is in charge believes that evidence of this violent destruction by burning was discovered in various areas of excavation of the site.[7] Israelite Hazor -- The archaeological remains suggest that some time after its destruction, the city of Hazor was rebuilt as a minor village. According to the Books of Kings, the town, along with Megiddo, and Gezer, was later substantially fortified and expanded by Solomon.[8] Like those at Megiddo, and Gezer, the remains at Hazor show that during the Early Iron Age the town gained a highly distinctive six chambered gate, as well as a characteristic style to its administration buildings; archaeologists determined that these constructions at Hazor were built by the same leadership as those at Megiddo and Gezer.[6] By reference to the Books of Kings, some archaeologists conclude that these remains verify the Biblical account-that they were constructed in the tenth century by King Solomon[9]; others date these structures to the early 9th century BC, during the reign of the Omrides.[6] Yigael Yadin, one of the earliest archaeologists to have worked on the site, saw certain features as clearly being Omride; Megiddo, Gezer, and Hazor, all feature deep rock cut pits, from the base of which were rock cut tunnels leading to a well that reached the water table, as water-supply systems, which Yadin attributed to the rule of Ahab;[6] Yadin also attributed to Ahab a citadel, measuring 25 x 21 m, with two-meter thick walls, which was erected in the western part of Hazor. However, Yadin's dating was based on the assumption that the layer connected with the gates and administration buildings were built by Solomon, and thus most archaeologists now date the citadel and rock cut water system much later.[6] Archaeological remains indicate that towards the later half of the 9th century BC, when the king of Israel was Jehu, Hazor fell into the control of Aram Damascus.[6] Most archaeologists suspect that subsequent to this conquest, unmentioned by the Bible, was a sustained period of occupation by the Aramaean forces; the remains indicate that Hazor was rebuilt shortly after its conquest by Aram, probably as an Aramaean city.[6] When the Assyrians later defeated the Aramaeans, Hazor seemingly returned to Israelite control; Assyrian records indicate that Joash, the king of Israel at the time, had paid tribute to Assyria and Israel had become an Assyrian vassal.[6] Subsequently, the town, along with the remainder of the kingdom of Israel, entered a period of great prosperity, particularly during the rule of Jeroboam II; most archaeologists now attribute the later large scale constructions at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer, including the rock cut water supply systems, to this era. Israel's attempted rebellion against Assyrian domination resulted in an invasion by the forces of the Assyrian ruler, Tiglath-Pileser III; the evidence on the ground suggests that hasty attempts were made to reinforce the defenses of Hazor.[6] Despite the defences, in 732 BC Hazor was captured, its population deported,[6][10] and the city was burnt to the ground.[6].[11] Archaeology -- The site of Hazor is around 200 acres (0.81 km2) in area, with an upper city making up about 1/8th of that. The upper mound has a height of about 40 meters. Initial soundings at Tell el-Qedah were done by John Garstang in 1926. [12] In modern times, major excavations were conducted for 4 seasons from 1955-1958 by a Hebrew University team led by Yadin Yigael. [13] [14] [15] Yadin returned to Hazor for a final season of excavation in 1968. [16] The excavations were supported by James A. de Rothschild, and were published in a dedicated five volume set of books by the Israel Exploration Society. Excavation at the site by Hebrew University, joined by the Complutense University of Madrid, resumed in 1990. The work is led by Amnon Ben-Tor and continues to the present. Findings form the dig are housed in a museum at Ayelet HaShahar. In 2008, artifacts in the museum were damaged in an earthquake.[17]

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Hebron in Wikipedia

Hebron (Arabic: الخليل (help·info) al-Ḫalīl; Hebrew: חֶבְרוֹן (help·info), Standard Hebrew: Ḥevron, Tiberian: Ḥeḇrôn), is located in the southern West Bank, 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters (3,050 ft) above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians,[1] and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter.[2][3][4][5][6] The city is most notable for containing the traditional burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs and is therefore considered the second-holiest city in Judaism.[7] The city is also venerated by Muslims for its association with Abraham[8] and was traditonally viewed as one of the "four holy cities of Islam."[9][10][11][12] Hebron is a busy hub of West Bank trade, responsible for roughly a third of the area's gross domestic product, largely due to the sale of marble from quarries.[13] It is locally well-known for its grapes, figs, limestone, pottery workshops and glassblowing factories, and is the location of the major dairy product manufacturer, al- Junaidi. The old city of Hebron is characterized by narrow, winding streets, flat-roofed stone houses, and old bazaars. The city is home to Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University.[14][15][16][17][18] Etymology The name "Hebron" traces back to two Semitic roots, which coalesce in the form ḥbr, having reflexes in Hebrew, Amorite and Arabic, and denoting a range of meanings from "colleague", "unite", "friend" or "to be noisy". In the proper name Hebron, the sense may be alliance.[19] In Arabic, Ibrahim al-Khalil (إبراهيم الخليل) means "Abraham the friend", according to Islamic teaching signifying that, God chose Abraham as his friend.[20] [edit]History Antiquity and Israelite period -- Hebron was originally a Canaanite royal city[21] before it became one of the principal centers of the Tribe of Judah and one of the six traditional cities of refuge.[22] The earliest references to Hebron are found in the Hebrew Bible, where the city is shown to change from being under Hittite control during the time of Abraham (Gen. 23) to falling under Canaanite ownership five hundred years later, during the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan (Joshua 10:5,6). Archaeological excavations reveal traces of strong fortifications dated to the Early Bronze Age. The city was destroyed in a conflagration, and resettled in the late Middle Bronze Age.[23] It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as being the site of Abraham's purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs from the Hittites.[24] In settling here, Abraham made his first covenant, an alliance with two local Amorite clans who became his ba’alei brit or masters of the covenant.[25] The Abrahamic traditions associated with Hebron are nomadic, and may also reflect a Kenite element, since the nomadic Kenites are said to have long occupied the city,[26] and Heber is the name for a Kenite clan.[27] Hebron is also mentioned there as being formerly called Kirjath-arba, or "city of four", possibly referring to the four pairs or couples who were buried there (see above) or four hamlets, or four hills,[28] before being conquered by Caleb and the Israelites[29] Later, the town itself, with some contiguous pasture land, was granted to the Levites of the clan of Kohath, while the fields of the city, as well as its surrounding villages were assigned to Caleb.[30][31] King David reigned from Hebron for over seven years. Initially as a vassal of the Philistines and anointed by the men of Judah, while he gradually extended his authority over a wider area, until he was able to incorporate the remnants of Saul’s kingdom with the capture of Jerusalem, where he was subsequently anointed king of the Kingdom of Israel.[32] Hebron continued to constitute an important local economic centre, given its strategic position along trading routes, but, as is shown by the discovery of seals with the inscription lmlk Hebron (to the king. Hebron), it remained administratively and politically dependent on Jerusalem.[33] Second Temple period -- After the destruction of the First Temple, most of the Jewish inhabitants of Hebron were exiled, and according to the conventional view,[34] their place was taken by Edomites in about 587 BCE. Some Jews appear to have lived there after the return from the Babylonian exile, however.[35] This Idumean town was in turn destroyed by Judah Maccabee in 167 BCE.[36] Herod the Great built the wall which still surrounds the Cave of the Patriarchs. During the first war against the Romans, Hebron was conquered by Simon Bar Giora, a Sicarii leader, and burnt down by Vespasian's officer Cerealis.[37] After the defeat of Simon bar Kokhba in 135 CE, innumerable Jewish captives were sold into slavery at Hebron's Terebinth slave-market.[38][39] Eventually it became part of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine emperor Justinian I erected a Christian church over the Cave of Machpelah in the 6th century CE which was later destroyed by the Sassanid general Shahrbaraz in 614 when Khosrau II's armies besieged and took Jerusalem.[40] Islamic era -- Hebron was one of the last cities of Palestine to fall to the Islamic invasion in the 7th century.[41] The Rashidun Caliphate established rule over Hebron without resistance in 638, and converted the Byzantine church at the site of Abraham's tomb into a mosque. Trade greatly expanded, in particular with Bedouins in the Negev and the population to the east of the Dead Sea. The Jerusalem geographer al-Muqaddasi, writing in 985 described the town as: Habra (Hebron) is the village of Abraham al-Khalil (the Friend of God)...Within it is a strong fortress...being of enormous squared stones. In the middle of this stands a dome of stone, built in Islamic times, over the sepulchre of Abraham. The tomb of Isaac lies forward, in the main building of the mosque, the tomb of Jacob to the rear; facing each prophet lies his wife. The enclosure has been converted into a mosque, and built around it are rest houses for the pilgrims, so that they adjoin the main edifice on all sides. A small water conduit has been conducted to them. All the countryside around this town for about half a stage has villages in every direction, with vineyards and grounds producing grapes and apples called Jabal Nahra...being fruit of unsurpassed excellence...Much of this fruit is dried, and sent to Egypt. In Hebron is a public guest house continuously open, with a cook, a baker and servants in regular attendance. These offer a dish of lentils and olive oil to every poor person who arrives, and it is set before the rich, too, should they wish to partake. Most men express the opinion this is a continuation of the guest house of Abraham, however, it is, in fact from the bequest of [the sahaba (companion) of the prophet Muhammad] Tamim-al Dari and others.... The Amir of Khurasan...has assigned to this charity one thousand dirhams yearly, ...al-Shar al-Adil bestowed on it a substantial bequest. At present time I do not know in all the realm of al-Islam any house of hospitality and charity more excellent than this one.[42] Tamim al-Dari, before converting to Islam, lived in southern Palestine. The prophet Muhammad arranged for Hebron, Beit Einun and surrounding villages to be a part of al-Dari's domain; this was implemented during Umar's reign as caliph. According to the arrangement, al-Dari and his descendants were only permitted to tax the residents for their land and the waqf of the Ibrahimi Mosque was entrusted to them.[43] The custom, known as the 'table of Abraham' (simāt al-khalil), was similar to the one established by the Fatimids, and in Hebron's version, it found its most famous expression. The Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusraw who visited Hebron in 1047 records in his Safarnama that "... this Sanctuary has belonging to it very many villages that provide revenues for pious purposes. At one of these villages is a spring, where water flows out from under a stone, but in no great abundance; and it is conducted by a channel, cut in the ground, to a place outside the town (of Hebron), where they have constructed a covered tank for collecting the water...The Sanctuary (Mashad), stands on the southern border of the town....it is enclosed by four walls. The Mihrab (or niche) and the Maksurah (or enclosed space for Friday-prayers) stand in the width of the building (at the south end). In the Maksurah are many fine Mihrabs.[44] He further recorded that "They grow at Hebron for the most part barley, wheat being rare, but olives are in abundance. The [visitors] are given bread and olives. There are very many mills here, worked by oxen and mules, that all day long grind the flour, and further, there are slave-girls who, during the whole day are baking bread. The loaves are [about three pounds] and to every persons who arrives they give daily a loaf of bread, and a dish of lentils cooked in olive- oil, also some raisins....there are some days when as many as five hundred pilgrims arrive, to each of whom this hospitality is offered."[45][46]...

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Herod's Palace in Wikipedia

Herod's Palace was a fortified palace, built by Herod the Great to protect the Old City of Jerusalem. Part of Herodian architecture, the palace consisted of two principal buildings, each with its banquet halls, baths and accommodations for hundreds of guests.[1] The archaeological remains of Herod's Palace, however, are scarce. During the 1970s excavations an exit of a water drain belonging to Herod's Palace was discovered. It transported water from the palace into the Valley of Hinnom.[2]

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Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Wikipedia

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a Christian church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan. The site is venerated by many Christians as Golgotha,[1] (the Hill of Calvary), where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified,[2] and is said to also contain the place where Jesus was buried (the sepulchre). The church has been an important Christian pilgrimage destination since at least the 4th century, as the purported site of the resurrection of Jesus. Today it also serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, while control of the building is shared between several Christian churches and secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for centuries. Today, the church is home to six denominations, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and Ethiopian Orthodox. The church is also of limited importance to Protestant Christians. History - Construction -- In the early second century, the site of the present Church had been a temple of Aphrodite; several ancient writers alternatively describe it as a temple to Venus, the Roman equivalent to Aphrodite. Eusebius claims, in his Life of Constantine,[3] that the site of the Church had originally been a Christian place of veneration, but that Hadrian had deliberately covered these Christian sites with earth, and built his own temple on top, due to his alleged hatred for Christianity[4] (the authenticity/inaccuracy of this claim is discussed below). Although Eusebius does not say as much, the temple of Aphrodite was probably built as part of Hadrian's reconstruction of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina in 135, following the destruction of the Jewish Revolt of 70 and Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132–135. Emperor Constantine I ordered in about 325/326 that the temple be demolished and the soil - which had provided a flat surface for the temple - be removed, instructing Macarius of Jerusalem, the local Bishop, to build a church on the site. The Pilgrim of Bordeaux reports in 333: There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica, that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty.[5] Constantine directed his mother, Helena, to build churches upon sites which commemorated the life of Jesus Christ; she was present in 326 at the construction of the church on the site, and involved herself in the excavations and construction. During the excavation, Helena is alleged to have rediscovered the True Cross, and a tomb, though Eusebius' account makes no mention of Helena's presence at the excavation, nor of the finding of the cross but only the tomb. According to Eusebius, the tomb exhibited a clear and visible proof that it was the tomb of Jesus;[6][7] several scholars have criticised Eusebius' account for an uncritical use of sources, and for being thoroughly dishonest[8][9] with Edward Gibbon, for example, pointing out that Eusebius' own chapter headings[10] claim that fictions are lawful and fitting for him to use.[11] Socrates Scholasticus (born c. 380), in his Ecclesiastical History, gives a full description of the discovery[12] (that was repeated later by Sozomen and by Theodoret) which emphasizes the role played in the excavations and construction by Helena; just as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (also founded by Constantine and Helena) commemorated the birth of Jesus, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre would commemorate his death and resurrection. Constantine's church was built as two connected churches over the two different holy sites, including a great basilica (the Martyrium visited by the nun Egeria in the 380s), an enclosed colonnaded atrium (the Triportico) with the traditional site of Golgotha in one corner, and a rotunda, called the Anastasis ("Resurrection"), which contained the remains of a rock-cut room that Helena and Macarius had identified as the burial site of Jesus. The rockface at the west end of the building was cut away, although it is unclear how much remained in Constantine's time, as archaeological investigation has revealed that the temple of Aphrodite reached far into the current rotunda area,[13] and the temple enclosure would therefore have reached even further to the west. According to Christian tradition, Constantine arranged for the rockface to be removed from around the tomb, without harming it, in order to isolate the tomb; in the centre of the rotunda is a small building called the Kouvouklion (Kουβούκλιον; Modern Greek for small compartment) or Aedicule[14] (from Latin: aediculum, small building), which supposedly encloses this tomb, although it is not currently possible to verify the claim, as the alleged remains are completely enveloped by a marble sheath. The discovery of the kokhim tombs just beyond the west end of the Church, and more recent archaeological investigation of the rotunda floor, suggest that a narrow spur of at least ten yards length would have had to jut out from the rock face if the contents of the Aedicule were once inside it. The dome of the rotunda was completed by the end of the 4th century. Each year, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the anniversary of the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) on September 13 (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, September 13 currently falls on September 26 of the modern Gregorian Calendar)....

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Church of the Nativity in Wikipedia

The Church of the Nativity (Arabic: كنيسة المهد‎) in Bethlehem is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, and it is considered sacred by followers of both Christianity and Islam (see Jesus in Islam). History -- The antiquity of this tradition is attested by the Christian apologist Justin Martyr (c. 100 - 165), who noted in his Dialogue with Trypho that the Holy Family had taken refuge in a cave outside of town: Joseph took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger, and here the Magi who came from Arabia found Him.(chapter LXXVIII). Origen of Alexandria (185 AD–ca. 254) wrote: In Bethlehem the cave is pointed out where He was born, and the manger in the cave where He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. And the rumor is in those places, and among foreigners of the Faith, that indeed Jesus was born in this cave who is worshipped and reverenced by the Christians. (Contra Celsum, book I, chapter LI). The first basilica on this site was begun by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine I. Under the supervision of Bishop Makarios of Jerusalem, the construction started in 327 and was completed in 333. That structure was burnt down in the Samaritan Revolt of 529. The current basilica was rebuilt in its present form in 565 by the Emperor Justinian I. When the Persians under Chosroes II invaded in 614, they unexpectedly did not destroy the structure. According to legend, their commander Shahrbaraz was moved by the depiction inside the church of the Three Magi wearing Persian clothing, and commanded that the building be spared. The Crusaders made further repairs and additions to the building during the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem with permission and help given by the Byzantine Emperor, and the first King of Jerusalem was crowned in the church. Over the years, the compound has been expanded, and today it covers approximately 12,000 square meters. The church was one of the direct causes for French involvement in the Crimean War against Russia. The church is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities. All three traditions maintain monastic communities on the site...

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Church of John the Baptist in Wikipedia

The Church of St John the Baptist in Nessebar, Bulgaria is a domed cruciform church, built of undressed stone. It's one of the best preserved in Nessebar. It is 12 m long and 10 wide. The structure of the church consists of two cylindrical vaults which intersect in the center of the composition. The masonry is crushed stone and pebbles and the facades were probably smoothly plastered. It was built in the 10th century. It has no narthex. The altar space consists of three semi-circular apses. Four massive pillars support the dome and form the cross. Inside the walls are smooth and unbroken. Some frescoes have been preserved dating from later periods. The faded portraits of the donor and his contemporaries on the southern wall and the fragments beneath the dome date from 14th c. and the others are from the 16th and 17th centuries. One depicts St. Marina pulling a devil from the sea before braining it with a hammer - possibly representing the local merchants' hopes that their patron would deal the Cossack pirates who raided Nessebar in the 17th Century A.D. The exterior is simple without decorative niches and ceramic plaques, typical of the ornamental style. Bricks were used as a decorative element over the entrance, in the jagged cornices and around the windows. Nowadays the church houses a gallery.

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Horns of Hattin in Wikipedia

Horns of Hattin (Arabic:Kûrun Hattîn) (Hebrew: קרני חיטין‎) (Karnei Hittin) is an extinct volanco with twin peaks overlooking the plains of Hattin in the Lower Galilee, Israel. History Karnei Hittin is believed to be the site of the Battle of Hattin, Saladin's victory over the Crusaders in 1187. The Battle of Hattin was fought in summer when the grass was tinder-dry. Saladin's troops set fire to the grass, cutting off the Crusaders' access to water in the Sea of Galilee.[1] Saladin built a "victory dome," Qubbat al-Nasr, on the hill. Thietmar, a German pilgrim who visited the site in 1217, wrote that the "temple Saladin had erected to his gods after the victory is now desolate." In the early 17th century, ruins were found on the summit that appeared to be those of a church. Prior to 1948, an Arab village, Hittin, lay at the foot of the hill.[2] Excavations were carried out on the hill in 1976 and 1981.[3] Some scholars have identified the hill with the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. [4][5] Writing in 1864, Fergus Ferguson describes it as the "supposed" site, because although "its position corresponds with the particulars of the narrative", no one can declare with any certainty that He gave a sermon at that exact spot."[2]

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Jacob's Well in Wikipedia

Jacob's Well (also, Jacob's fountain and Well of Sychar) is a deep well hewn of solid rock that has been associated in religious tradition with Jacob for roughly two millennia. It is situated a short distance from the archaeological site of Tell Balata, which is thought to be the site of biblical Shechem.[1] Also commonly known as Bir Ya'qub or Bir Ya'kub (Arabic: بئر يعقوب‎, Bir="Well" and Ya'qub="Jacob"), the well currently lies within the complex of an Eastern Orthodox monastery of the same name, in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank.[2][3] Religious significance Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well Jewish, Samaritan, Christian, and Muslim traditions all associate the well with Jacob.[2] The well is not specifically mentioned in the Old Testament; the Book of Genesis (33:18f) states that when Jacob returned to Shechem from Paddan-aram, he camped "before" the city and bought the land on which he pitched his tent. Biblical scholars contend that plot of land is the same one upon which Jacob's Well was constructed.[2][3] Jacob's Well does appear by name in the New Testament's Book of John (4:5f), where it is recorded that Jesus "came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there."[2] The Book of John goes on to describe a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman (called Photina in Orthodox tradition), that took place while Jesus was resting at the well.[4] [edit]History The writings of pilgrims indicate that Jacob's Well has been situated within different churches built at the same site over time.[2][3] By the 330s AD, the site had been identified as the place where Jesus held his conversation with the Samaritan woman, and was probably being used for Christian baptisms.[5] By AD 384, a cruciform church was built over the site, and is mentioned in the 4th century writings of Saint Jerome.[5][6] This church was most likely destroyed during the Samaritan revolts of 484 or 529.[5] Subsequently rebuilt by Justinian, this second Byzantine era church was still standing in the 720s, and possibly into the early 9th century.[5] Arabs at Jacob's Well, 1839, after a drawing by David Roberts The Byzantine church was definitely in ruins by the time the Crusaders occupied Nablus in August 1099; early 12th century accounts by pilgrims to the site speak of the well without mentioning a church.[5] There are later 12th century accounts of a newly built church at Jacob's Well. The first such definitive account comes from Theoderic, who writes: "The well ... is a half a mile distant from the city [Nablus]: it lies in front of the altar in the church built over it, in which nuns devote themselves to the service of God. This well is called the Fountain of Jacob."[5] This Crusader era church was constructed in 1175, likely due to the support of Queen Melisande, who was exiled to Nablus in 1152 where she lived until her death in 1161.[7] This church appears to have been destroyed following Saladin's victory over the Crusaders in the Battle of Hittin in 1187.[2][3]...

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Jaffa in Wikipedia

Jaffa (Hebrew: יָפוֹ‎, Yāfō (help·info); Arabic: يَافَا‎, Yāfā (help·info); Latin: Joppe; also Japho, Joppa as transliteration from the Greek "Ιόππη") is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world.[1] Jaffa has been incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Etymology The name of the city is supposedly mentioned in Egyptian sources and the Amarna Letters as Yapu. There are several legends about the origin of the name Jaffa. Some say it is named for Japheth, one of the sons of Noah, who built it after the Great Flood.[citation needed] The Hellenist tradition links the name to "Iopeia", which is Cassiopeia, the mother of Andromeda. An outcropping of rocks near the harbor is reputed to have been the place from which Andromeda was rescued by Perseus. Pliny the Elder associates the name with Jopa, the daughter of Aeolus, god of wind. The Arab geographer Al-Muqaddasi mentions it under the name Yaffa, which is used by Arabic speakers today. History [edit]Antiquity Painting of Jaffa in 1887 Tel Yafo (Jaffa Hill) rises to a height of 40 meters (130 ft) and offers a commanding view of the coastline; hence its strategic importance in military history. The accumulation of debris and landfill over the centuries made the hill even higher. Archaeological evidence shows that Jaffa was inhabited some 7,500 years BCE.[2] Jaffa's natural harbor has been in use since the Bronze Age. Jaffa is mentioned in an Ancient Egyptian letter from 1440 BCE, glorifying its conquest by Pharaoh Thutmose III, whose general, Djehuty hid armed Egyptian warriors in large baskets and sent the baskets as a present to the Canaanite city's governor. The city is also mentioned in the Amarna letters under its Egyptian name Ya-Pho, ( Ya-Pu, EA 296, l.33). The city was under Egyptian rule until around 800 BCE. Jaffa is mentioned four times in the Hebrew Bible, as one of the cities given to the Hebrew Tribe of Dan (Book of Joshua 19:46), as port-of-entry for the cedars of Lebanon for Solomon's Temple (2 Chronicles 2:15), as the place whence the prophet Jonah embarked for Tarshish (Book of Jonah 1:3) and as port-of-entry for the cedars of Lebanon for the Second Temple of Jerusalem (Book of Ezra 3:7). Jaffa is mentioned in the Book of Joshua as the territorial border of the Tribe of Dan, hence the nowadays term "Gush Dan", used for the center of the coastal plain. Many descendants of Dan lived along the coast and earned their living from shipmaking and sailing. In the "Song of Deborah" the prophetess asks: "דן למה יגור אוניות": "Why doth Dan dwell in ships?"[3] After the Canaanite and Philistean domination, King David and his son King Solomon conquered Jaffa and used its port to bring the cedars used in the construction of the First Temple from Tyre. The city remained often in Jewish hands even after the split of the Kingdom of Israel. In 701 BCE, in the days of King Hezekiah (חזקיהו), Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invaded the region from Jaffa. After a period of Babylonian occupation, under Persian rule, Jaffa was governed by Phoenicians from Tyre. Then it knew the presence of Alexander the Great's troops and later became a Seleucid Hellenized port until it was taken over by the Maccabean rebels (1 Maccabees x.76, xiv.5) and the refounded Jewish kingdom. During the Roman repression of the Jewish Revolt, Jaffa was captured and burned by Cestius Gallus. The Roman Jewish historian Josephus (Jewish War 2.507-509, 3:414-426) writes that 8,400 inhabitants were massacred. Pirates operating from the rebuilt port incurred the wrath of Vespasian, who razed the city and erected a citadel in its place, installing a Roman garrison there. The New Testament account of St. Peter's resurrection of the widow Tabitha (Dorcas, Gr.) written in Acts 9:36-42 takes place in Jaffa. St. Peter later had here a vision in which God told him not to distinguish between Jews and Gentiles as told in Acts 10:10-16 ...

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Jericho in Wikipedia

Jericho (Arabic: أريحا‎ Ārīḥā [ʔæˈriːħɑː] ( listen)); Hebrew: יְרִיחוֹ‎ Yəriḥo [jeʁiˈħo] ( listen) is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian Territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate, and has a population of over 20,000.[2] Situated well below sea level on an east-west route 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently inhabited site on earth. It is also believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world.[3][4][5] Described in the Hebrew Bible as the "City of Palm Trees", copious springs in and around Jericho have made it an attractive site for human habitation for thousands of years.[6] It is known in Judeo-Christian tradition as the place of the Israelites' return from bondage in Egypt, led by Joshua, the successor to Moses. Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of over 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back to 11,000 years ago (9000 BCE).[7] Etymology - Jericho's Arabic name, Ārīḥā, means "fragrant" and derives from the Canaanite word Reah, of the same meaning.[8][9][10][11] Jericho's name in Hebrew, Yəriḥo, is also thought to derive from that root, though an alternate theory holds that it is it derived from the word meaning "moon" (Yareah) in Canaanite, as the city was an early center of worship for lunar deities.[12] History - Ancient times - French medieval image of the Biblical Battle of Jericho. Jericho is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with evidence of settlement dating back to 9000 BCE, providing important information about early human habitation in the Near East.[3] The first permanent settlement was built near the Ein as-Sultan spring, between 10000 and 9000 BCE, by the Canaanite people, and consisted of a number of walls, a religious shrine, and a 23-foot (7.0 m) tower with an internal staircase.[9] After a few centuries, it was abandoned for a second settlement, established in 6800 BCE, perhaps by an invading people who absorbed the original inhabitants into their dominant culture. Artifacts dating from this period include ten skulls, plastered and painted so as to reconstitute the individuals' features.[9] These represent the first example of portraiture in art history, and it is thought that these were kept in people's homes while the bodies were buried.[5][13] This was followed by a succession of settlements from 4500 BCE onward, the largest of these being constructed in 2600 BCE.[9] Archaeological evidence indicates that in the latter half of the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1700 BCE), the city enjoyed some prosperity, its walls having been strengthened and expanded.[14] The Canaanite city (Jericho City IV) was destroyed c.1573 BCE according to the carbon dating between 1617 and 1530, but rounded as c.1550 according to the stratigraphical dating.[15] The site remained uninhabited until the city was refounded in the 9th century BCE.[citation needed] In the 8th century BCE, the Assyrians invaded from the north, followed by the Babylonians, and Jericho was depopulated between 586 and 538 BCE, the period of the Jewish exile to Babylon. Cyrus the Great, the Persian king, refounded the city one mile southeast of its historic site at the mound of Tell es-Sultan, and returned the Jewish exiles after conquering Babylon in 539 BCE.[9] Classical antiquity - Jericho went from being an administrative center under Persian rule, to serving as the private estate of Alexander the Great between 336 and 323 BCE after his conquest of the region. In the middle of the 2nd century BCE, Jericho was under Hellenistic rule, and the Syrian General Bacchides built a number of forts to strengthen the defenses of the area around Jericho against invasion by the Macabees (1 Macc 9:50). One of these forts, built at the entrance to Wadi Qelt, was later refortified by Herod the Great, who named it Kypros after his mother.[16] Herod originally leased Jericho from Cleopatra after Mark Antony gave it to her as a gift. After their joint suicide in 30 BCE, Octavian assumed control of the Roman empire and granted Herod free rein over Jericho. Herod’s rule oversaw the construction of a hippodrome-theater (Tel es-Samrat) to entertain his guests and new aqueducts to irrigate the area below the cliffs and reach his winter palace built at the site of Tulul al-Alaiq.[16] The dramatic murder of Aristobulus III in a swimming pool at Jericho, as told by the Roman Jewish historian Josephus, took place during a banquet organized by Herod's Hasmonean mother-in-law. The city, since the construction of its palaces, functioned not only as an agricultural center and as a crossroad, but as a winter resort for Jerusalem's aristocracy.[17] Herod was succeeded by his son, Archelus, who built an adjacent village in his name, Archelais, to house workers for his date plantation (Khirbet al-Beiyudat). First century Jericho is described in Strabo's Geography as follows: Jericho is a plain surrounded by a kind of mountainous country, which in a way, slopes toward it like a theatre. Here is the Phoenicon, which is mixed also with all kinds of cultivated and fruitful trees, though it consists mostly of palm trees. It is 100 stadia in length and is everywhere watered with streams. Here also are the Palace and the Balsam Park."[16] The rock cut tombs of a Herodian and Hasmonean era cemetery lie in the lowest part of the cliffs between Nuseib al-Aweishireh and Jebel Quruntul in Jericho and were used between 100 BCE and 68 CE.[16] The Christian Gospels state that Jesus passed through Jericho where he healed one[18][19] or two[20] blind beggars and inspired a local chief tax collector named Zacchaeus to repent of his dishonest practices. The road between Jerusalem and Jericho is the setting for the Parable of the Good Samaritan[21] After the fall of Jerusalem to Vespasian armies in 70 CE, Jericho declined rapidly, and by 100 CE it was but a small Roman garrison town.[22] A fort was built there in 130 that played a role in putting down the Bar Kochba revolt in 133. Accounts of Jericho by a Christian pilgrim are given in 333. Shortly thereafter, the built-up area of the town was abandoned, and a Byzantine Jericho, Ericha was built a mile (1 1⁄2 km) to the east, around which the modern town is centered.[22] Christianity took hold in the city during the Byzantine era and the area was heavily populated. A number of monasteries and churches were built, including St. George of Koziba in 340 CE and a domed church dedicated to Saint Eliseus.[17] At least two synagogues were also built in the 6th century CE.[16] The monasteries were abandoned after the Persian invasion of 614.[9]

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Jib in Wikipedia

Jib (Arabic: الجيب‎, also transliterated al-Jib) is a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem Governorate, located ten kilometers northwest of Jerusalem,[1] in the seam zone of the West Bank.[2] According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, al-Jib had a population of approximately 4,700 in 2006.[3] The modern village is identified with the ancient city of Gibeon. History See also: Gibeon (ancient city) The first scientific identification of al-Jib with the ancient Canaanite city of Gibeon was made by Edward Robinson in 1838.[4] Archaeological excavations led by James Pritchard in 1956, 1957, and 1959 confirmed this identification with the discovery of 56 jar handles inscribed with the Semitic triliteral gb'n.[4] The inscriptions were dated to the end of the Judean monarchy and have been cross-referenced against genealogical lists in the Book of Chronicles. While they include many Benjaminite names, they also include non-Israelite names, attesting to the intermixing of local population.[4] In the Book of Joshua, ancient Jib or Gibeon is described as "a large city, like one of the royal cities", and as being the place where Joshua made the sun stand still (Joshua 10:12). The flat and fertile land with many springs which surrounds it gave rise to a flourishing economy, attested to in the large number of ancient jars and wine cellars discovered there. The jars could hold 45 liters of wine each and 66 wine cellars two meters deep and dug out of rock have been unearthed in Jib.[4] "El-Jib" was described by the geographer Yâkût in 1225 as having two fortresses standing close together.[5] By the 1550's the agricultural revenues of Jib belonged to the endowment (waqf) of Mamluk Sultan Inal (r. 1453-61) in Egypt. However, three tribes of the Hutaym Bedouin were affiliated with the village. The taxes they paid plus levies normally earmarked for the military were in the 1550's designated for the waqf of Hasseki Sultan Imaret in Jerusalem.[6]...

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Khan Al-Ahmar in Wikipedia

Khan al-Ahmar is a Bedouin village in the West Bank, Palestinian territories with approximately 100 families as of 2010. The residents of the village are mostly refugees due to the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and the 1948 Palestinian exodus. Wedged by illegal Israeli settlements Ma'ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, Khan al-Ahmar was slated for destruction in February 2010 after being targeted by the Israeli settler group Regavim due to what they called illegal buildings.[1] In July 2009, the village made headlines due to the Israeli authorities plans to demolish a school made of tyres built by the Italian aid organization Vento Di Terra (Wind of Earth). Rabbis for Human Rights, a Jewish human rights organization, was also involved with the school and village.[2]

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Khirbet al-Deir in Wikipedia

Khirbet al-Deir (Arabic: خربة الدير‎) is a Palestinian town located ten kilometers south of Bethlehem.The town is in the Bethlehem Governorate central West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of over 1,564 in mid-year 2006.

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Khirbat al-Mafjar in Wikipedia

Hisham's Palace (Arabic: Khirbat al-Mafjar) is the archaeological remains of an Umayyad winter palace located five km north of Jericho in the West Bank. Construction and layout - The palace was built on the northern outskirts of Jericho, then an imperial domain, in 743–744 BCE by Al- Walid ibn Yazid during the caliphate of his predecessor Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik,[1] who ruled the Umayyad empire from 723 until his death in 743. It was modelleed on a Roman bath house and was covered with exquisite colored mosaics and stucco.[2] The complex comprised a palace, a paved courtyard, a bath house, a mosque, a fountain courtyard, a 60-hectare enclosure containing plants, animals, mosaic and decoration of the highest standard.[3] The palace itself was a large square building with a monumental entrance and rooms on two floors around a long porticoed courtyard. [4][5] A sophisticated system of underground pipes was constructed to provide hot water and portions of the system still exist. The bath house also served as an audience room and banqueting hall.[6] The architecture of the bath's main hall and fountain contain many examples of late antique and classical secular building techniques not known elsewhere.[4] Recent excavations have uncovered workshops and storerooms, which may indicate that the palace was also an Umayyad town.[7] Mosaics - In the top right corner of the Bath is a small room that was reserved for the Prince. In this room a luscious mysterious mosaic panel stood. The main panel depicts a large tree and underneath it a lion attacking a deer (right side) and two deer peacefully grazing (left side). The panel's interpretations have varied, with some claiming that the panel probably represents good and bad governance, while others wrote extensively to explain that the Lion represents the prince and the deer his wives or harem. The latter back their claim with the argument that the deer seem peaceful and un-intimidated by the lion's presence. Thousands of fragments of the mosaics are stored in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem, but few were able to study them.[4] The stucco features depictions of semi-naked women and is unique in Islamic art.[2] Many of the details of the palace are known to historians as a result of the excavation and reconstruction of its layout by Robert Hamilton.[8] The luxurious decoration throughout the palace surpasses that known in late Roman equivalents, something that is often taken as evidence of the irreligious nature of the Umayyads.[9] The palace was destroyed in 747 by an earthquake.[10]...

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Khirbet el-Mird in Wikipedia

Hyrcania (Greek: Ὑρκανία; Arabic: Khirbet el-Mird) was an ancient fortress in the Judean Desert of the West Bank. Upper part of the fortress Water reservoir Herodian-period mosaic floor The site is located on an isolated hill about 200 m above the Hyrcania valley, on its western edge. It is about 5 km west of Qumran, and 16 km east of Jerusalem. The site has not yet been thoroughly excavated. Current knowledge about the ruins of the site is based on a limited number of test pits. Hyrcania was apparently built by Alexander Jannaeus or his father John Hyrcanus in the first or second century BC. The first mention of the fortress is during the reign of Salome Alexandra, the wife of Jannaeus, circa 75 BC: Flavius Josephus relates that, along with Machaerus and Alexandrion, Hyrcania was one of three fortresses that the queen did not give up when she handed control of her strongholds to the Pharisee party.[1] The fortress is mentioned again in 57 BC when Alexander of Judaea, son of Aristobulus II, fled from the Roman governor of Syria, Aulus Gabinius, who had come to suppress the revolt Alexander had stirred up against Hyrcanus II. Alexander made to re-fortify Hyrcania, but eventually surrendered to Gabinius. The fortress was then razed.[2] The Greek geographer Strabo also notes the destruction, along with that of Alexandrium and Machaerus, the "haunts of the robbers and the treasure-holds of the tyrants", at the direction of Gabinius's superior, the Roman general Pompey. [3] Hyrcania is next reported in 33–32 BC being used in an uprising against Herod the Great led by the sister of Herod's executed former rival Antigonus.[4] The fortress was retaken, and extended;[5] it became notorious as a place where Herod imprisoned and killed his enemies,[6] ultimately including his own son and heir Antipater.[7] In later times St Sabbas the Sanctified founded a residence (cenobium) for hermits on the site in 492 AD, called the Castellion, part of the satellite community or lavra associated with the monastery at Mar Saba 4 km to the south- east. Hermits remained until the fourteenth century, with a brief attempt made to re-establish the community between 1923 and 1939.[8] Some have identified the Hyrcania valley below the fortress with the Biblical valley of Achor, which is identified in the Copper Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls as the site of a great treasure. This has led to interest by treasure hunters in the area, despite it being subject to live-fire exercises by the Israeli army.[9] Two ancient stepped tunnels cut down into the rock for a distance of 50 metres nearby have been cleared of debris and sand in an investigation led by Oren Gutfeld of Hebrew University, but yielded only a Hasmonean- period clay pot and a skeleton.[

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Susya in Wikipedia

Susya (Hebrew: סוּסְיָא‎) refers to the site of an ancient village of the biblical Judea, in the southern Hebron Hills of the West Bank that has come to light in recent archeological investigations, to a Palestinian village settled in the 1830s, and to a religious communal Israeli settlement, under the jurisdiction of Har Hebron Regional Council, established in 1983. History Susya, whether it refers to the site of the synagogue or the ruins of the contiguous ancient and large settlement of some 60 dunams, is not mentioned in any ancient text, and Jewish literature failed to register an ancient Jewish town on that site. [1] It is thought by some to correspond to the Biblical Carmel (Josh 15.5), a proposal made by Avraham Negev.[2][3] Others argue that, in the wake of the Second Revolt (AD 132-5), when the Romans garrisoned Khirbet el-Karmil, identified as the biblical Carmel, religious Jews uncomfortable with pagan symbols moved 2 km south-west to the present Susya, which they perhaps already farmed, and that, while they still regarded their new community as Carmel, the name was lost when the village's fortunes declined in the early Arab period, perhaps because the new Muslim overlords would not have tolerated its economy, which was based on wine.[4][5] The site, in Arabic Khirbet Susiya/Susiyeh, "Ruin of the Liquorice Plant" was first described by V. Guérin in 1869, who first recognized its importance.[6][7] The spelling Susya represents the Hebrew name, as determined by the Israeli Naming committee.[8] In the Survey of Western Palestine, based on an observation in 1875 on the area of the southeastern slope of a hill west of Susya, Charles Warren and Claude Conder labeled Susya as an 'Important public structure'. German accounts later stated that it was a remnant of an ancient church.[9] In 1937, the building to the north was identified by L. A. Meyer and A. Reifenberg as the site of a synagogue.[7] [edit]Ancient synagogue The site was examined by Shemarya Gutman in 1969, who uncovered it during a trial dig the narthex of a synagogue. He, together with Ze'ev Yeivin and Ehud Netzer, then conducted the Israeli excavations at Khirbet Suseya, (subsequently named by a Hebrew calque as Horvat Susya) over 1971-1972,[7][10][11] by the Palestinian village of Susiya Al-Qadime. Such remains are intriguing because so far no excavations have uncovered undisputed evidence for synagogues before the 2nd century CE in Judea. The excavated synagogue dates from the 4th to the 7th century CE and was in continuous use until the 9th century CE[12][13]. It is one of four of an architecturally unique group in the Southern Judean Hills,[14] of the six synagogues identified in Judea as a whole, the lower number probably reflecting a shift in the Jewish population from Judah to Galilee in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The other three of this distinctive group are those of Eshtemoa, Horvat Maon, and 'Anim.[14] Three outstanding characteristics of the Susya-Eshtemoa group, group are their width, entrances at the short eastern wall, and the absence of columns to support the roof [15] According to David Amit, the architectural design, particularly the eastern entrance and axis of prayer, which differ from the majority of Galilean synagogues, exhibits the ramifications of the earliest halakhic law conserved in southern Judea for generations after the destruction of the Temple. This was forgotten in Galilee, but in Judea there was a closer adherence to older traditions reflecting closer proximity to Jerusalem.[16] The eastern orientation may be also related to the idea of dissuading heretics and Christians in the same area, who bowed to the east, in the belief that the Shekinah lay in that direction.[17] The synagogue was built as a broadhouse, rather than along basilica lines,[18][19], measuring 9 by 16 metres (27 by 48 feet[20] built in well-wrought ashlar construction, with triple doorway façade in an eastward orientation, and the bema and niche at the centre of the northern wall. There was a secondary bema in the eastern section. Unlike other synagogues in Judea this had a gallery, made while reinforcing the western wall. East of the synagogue was an open courtyard surrounded on three sides by a roofed portico. The western side opened to the synagogue’s narthex, and floor of narthex composed of coloured mosaics set in an interlaced pattern. This model was of short duration, yielding in the late Byzantine phase (6th/7th) to the basilica form, already elsewhere dominant in synagogue architecture.[21] In contrast to most Galilean synagogues with their façade and Torah shrine on the same Jerusalem-oriented wall, the Judean synagogue at Susya, (as well as Esthtemoa and Maon) has the niche on the northern Jerusalem-oriented wall and entrances on the east side wall.[22] The synagogue floor of white tesserae has three mosaic panels, the eastern one a Torah Shrine, two menorahs, one on a screen relief showing two lamps [23] suspended from a bar between the menorah’s upper branches,[24], perhaps, since the Torah shrine flanked by lampstands, symbolizing both a connection between the synagogue and the Temple[25] for spotlighting the bema and giving light for scriptural readings, were by the reverse mirroring of the menorah pattern in the mosaics, heightened the central significance of the Torah shrine in the hall[26] a lulav, and an etrog with columns on each side. Next to the columns is a landscape with deers ands rams. The central panel composed of geometric and floral patterns. A spoke-wheel design before the central bema, has led Gutman to believed it is the remnant of a zodiac wheel. Zodaic mosaics are important witness to the time, since they were systematically suppressed by the Church, and, their frequent construction in Palestinian synagogue floors may be an index of 'the "inculturation" of non-Jewish imagery and its resulting Judaization' [27]. The fragmentary state of the wheel mosaic is due to its replacement by a much cruder geometric pavement pattern, indicative of a desire to erase what later came to be thought of as objectionable imagery.[28][29] A motif that probably represented Daniel in the lion's den, as in the mosaics discovered at Naaran near Jericho and Ein Samsam in the Golan[30][31] was also tesselated, surviving only most fragmentarily. The figure, in an orans stance, flanked by lions, was scrubbed from the mosaics in line with later trends, in what Fine calls a ‘new aesthetic’ at Khirbet Susiya, one that refurbished the designs to suppress iconographic forms thought by later generations to be objectionable. We can only reconstruct the allusion to Daniel from the remaining final Hebrew letters remaining, namely -el, אל‎.[32] Another unique feature is number of inscriptions. Four were laid in mosaics: two in Hebrew, attesting perhaps to its conservation as a spoken language in this region[33] and two in Aramaic. Nineteen fragmentary inscriptions, some of which were in Greek,[34] were etched into the marble of the building. From these dedicatory inscriptions the impression is given that the synagogue was run by donors [35] rather than by priests (kōhen).[36] The abandoned synagogue, or its atrium or courtyard, was converted to a mosque around the 10th century.[7] A niche on the northern wall used as a mihrab/mahrab dates to Saladin's time,[37] according to local tradition.[38] In the 12th–13th centuries Crusaders garrisoned at nearby Chermala and Eshtemoa, and, in their wake, a few families, moved into the ruins to exploit the rich agricultural land.[6] The settlement on the hill contiguous to the synagogue seems to have once had a thriving economy. A fine store has been excavated from its ruins[39]. It seems to have undergone a decline in the second half of the fourth century, and again in the sixth century. Some speak of abandonment though the evidence from the synagogue suggests continuity into the medieval period. [40]...

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Kiryat Yearim in Wikipedia

Kiryat Ye'arim (Hebrew: קִרְיַת יְעָרִים‎), also known as Telz- Stone, is a town (local council) in the Jerusalem District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of 2005 Kiryat Ye'arim had a popultation of 3,100, predominantly Jewish, with a growth rate of 1.2%. It is an almost exclusively Haredi town, with a very high percentage of immigrants from North America and Europe. Geography - Kiryat Ye'arim is located approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west of Jerusalem, just north of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. Neighboring Kiryat Ye'arim to the northeast is the Arab town of Abu Ghosh. Kiryat Ye'arim is between 661.8 and 749.5 meters above sea level.[1] History - Kiryat Ye'arim (Town of Forests) is named for a town of the same name mentioned in the Bible in relation to King David's transport of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Here the Ark was said to have rested for 20 years. David then removed it to Jerusalem (I Chron 13, 5-8). There are those who believe that a nearby tell is the remains of the biblical town. Another theory is that the biblical town is the present Abu Ghosh.

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Kypros in Wikipedia

Cyprus (pronounced /ˈsaɪprəs/ ( listen); Turkish: Kıbrıs, Greek: Κύπρος, Kýpros, IPA: [ˈcipros];, – officially the Republic of Cyprus Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti), (Greek: Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, Kypriakī́ Dīmokratía, IPA: [cipriaˈci ðimokraˈtia]; – is a Eurasian island country in the Eastern Mediterranean,[6][7] south of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of its most popular tourist destinations.[8] An advanced,[9] high- income economy with a very high Human Development Index,[10][11] the Republic of Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.[12][13] The earliest known human activity on the island dates back to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Choirokoitia (also known as Khirokitia), which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the Tombs of the Kings. Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world,[14] and is the site of the earliest known example of feline domestication.[15][16] As a strategic location in the Middle East,[17][18][19][20] Cyprus has been occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Hittites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Rashiduns, Umayyads, Lusignans, Venetians and Ottomans. Settled by Mycenean Greeks in the 2nd millennium BC, the island also experienced long periods of Greek rule under the Ptolemies and the Byzantines. In 333 B.C., Alexander the Great took over the island from the Persians. The Ottoman Empire conquered the island in 1570 and it remained under Ottoman control for over three centuries. It was placed under British administration in 1878 until it was granted independence in 1960,[21] becoming a member of the Commonwealth the following year. In 1974, following 11 years of intercommunal violence[22] and an attempted coup d'état by Greek Cypriot nationalists,[23][24] Turkey invaded and occupied the northern portion of the island. The intercommunal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of ongoing dispute. The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters except small portions, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, that are allocated by treaty to the United Kingdom as sovereign military bases. The Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts; the area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, comprising about 59% of the island's area, and the Turkish-occupied area in the north,[25] calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island's area and recognized only by Turkey. History -- Etymology - The etymology of the Greek name Kypros is unknown. Suggestions include the Greek word for the Mediterranean cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens), κυπάρισσος (kypárissos) the Greek name of the henna plant (Lawsonia alba), κύπρος (kýpros) an Eteocypriot word for copper. Georges Dossin, for example, suggests that it has roots in the Sumerian word for copper (zubar) or for bronze (kubar), from the large deposits of copper ore found on the island. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the Mycenaean Greek ku-pi-ri-jo, meaning "Cypriot", written in Linear B syllabic script.[26] Through overseas trade, the island has given its name to the Classical Latin word for copper through the phrase aes Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.[27] Cyprus, more specifically the shores of Paphos, was also one of the birthplaces of Aphrodite given in Greek mythology, who was known as Kupria, since according to Phoenician mythology, Astarte, goddess of love and beauty, who was later identified with the Aphrodite. The standard demonym relating to Cyprus or its people or culture is Cypriot. The terms Cypriote and Cyprian are also, less frequently, used. Ancient times - The earliest confirmed site of human activity on Cyprus is Aetokremnos, situated on the south coast, indicating that hunter-gatherers were active on the island from around 10,000 BC,[28] with settled village communities dating from 8200 BC. The arrival of the first humans correlates with the extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants.[29] Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old. [14] Remains of an 8-month-old cat were discovered buried with its human owner at a separate Neolithic site in Cyprus.[15] The grave is estimated to be 9,500 years old, predating ancient Egyptian civilization and pushing back the earliest known feline-human association significantly.[16] The remarkably well-preserved Neolithic village of Choirokoitia (also known as Khirokitia) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to approximately 6800 BC.[30] The island was part of the Hittite empire during the late Bronze Age until the arrival of two waves of Greek settlement.[31] The first wave consisted of Mycenaean Greek traders who started visiting Cyprus around 1400 BC. A major wave of Greek settlement is believed to have taken place following the Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece in the period 1100–1050 BC, with the island's predominantly Greek character dating from this period.[32][33] Cyprus occupies an important role in Greek mythology being the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis, and home to King Cinyras, Teucer and Pygmalion.[34] Beginning in the 8th century BC Phoenician colonies were founded on the south coast of Cyprus, near present day Larnaca and Salamis.[32] Cyprus was ruled by Assyria for a century starting in 708 BC, before a brief spell under Egyptian rule and eventually Persian rule in 545 BC.[32] The Cypriots, led by Onesilos, king of Salamis, joined their fellow Greeks in the Ionian cities during the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt in 499 BC against the Achaemenid Empire. The revolt was suppressed without bloodshed, although Cyprus managed to maintain a high degree of autonomy and remained oriented towards the Greek world.[32] The island was brought under permanent Greek rule by Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies of Egypt following his death. Full Hellenization took place during the Ptolemaic period, which ended when Cyprus was annexed by the Roman Republic in 58 BC...

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Lachish in Wikipedia

Lachish (Hebrew: לכיש‎; Greek: Λαχις; Latin: Lachis) was a town located in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime plain of Philistia (Joshua 10:3, 5; 12:11). The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša (EA 287, 288, 328, 329, 335). According to the Bible, the Israelites captured and destroyed Lachish for joining the league against the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:31-33), but its territory was later assigned to the tribe of Judah (15:39) and became a part of the Kingdom of Israel. History - Campaigns of the Neo-Assyrian Empire - Under Rehoboam, Lachish became the second most important city of the kingdom of Judah. In 701 BC, during the revolt of king Hezekiah against Assyria, it was captured by Sennacherib despite determined resistance (see Siege of Lachish). The town later reverted to Judaean control, only to fall to Nebuchadnezzar in his campaign against Judah (586 BC). During Old Testament times Lachish served an important protective function in defending Jerusalem and the interior of Judea. The easiest way to get a large attacking army (such as an Assyrian army, see Isaiah 36:2, Isaiah 37:8 and Jeremiah 34:7) up to Jerusalem was to approach from the coast. Lachish was one of several city/forts guarding the canyons that lead up to Jerusalem and greater Judea. In order to lay siege to Jerusalem an invading army would first have to take Lachish, which guarded the mountain pass. During the reign of Hezekiah, King of Judah, the Assyrians, under King Sennacherib, attempted to take Jerusalem, and, in that campaign, succeeded in taking Lachish (see 2 Chronicles 32:9 and Isaiah 36:2). Modern excavation of the site has revealed that the Assyrians built a stone and dirt ramp up to the level of the Lachish city wall, thereby allowing the soldiers to charge up the ramp and storm the city. Excavations revealed approximately 1,500 skulls in one of the caves near the site, and hundreds of arrowheads on the ramp and at the top of the city wall, indicating the ferocity of the battle. Biblical references to Lachish include Joshua 10:3, 5, 23, 31-35; Joshua 12:11; Joshua 15:39; 2 Kings 14:19; 2 Kings 18:14, 17; 2 Kings 19:8; 2 Chronicles 11:9; 2 Chronicles 25:27; 2 Chronicles 32:9; Nehemiah 11:30; Isaiah 36:2; Isaiah 37:8; Jeremiah 34:7; and Micah 1:13. Archaeology - - Identification - During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Lachish was identified with Tell el-Hesi from a cuneiform tablet found there (EA 333). The tablet is a letter from an Egyptian official named Paapu, reporting cases of treachery involving a local kinglet, Zimredda. Blast furnace - Excavations at Tell el-Hesy were conducted by Petrie and Bliss for the Palestine Exploration Fund during the years 1890 - 1892, and among other discoveries was the remains of what was identified as an iron blast furnace, with slag and ashes, which was dated to 1500 BC. If the theories of experts are correct, the use of the hot-air blast instead of cold air was known at an extremely early age. [edit]Classical Hebrew ostraca See also: Paleo-Hebrew alphabet More recent excavations have identified Tell ed-Duweir as Lachish beyond reasonable doubt. Excavation campaigns by James Leslie Starkey recovered a number of ostraca (18 in 1935, three more in 1938) from the latest occupational level immediately before the Chaldean siege. They then formed the only known corpus of documents in classical Hebrew. LMLK seals - Another major contribution to Biblical archaeology from excavations at Lachish are the LMLK seals, which were stamped on the handles of a particular form of ancient storage jar. More of these artifacts were found at this site (over 400; Ussishkin, 2004, pp. 2151-9) than any other place in Israel (Jerusalem remains in second place with more than 300). Most of them were collected from the surface during Starkey's excavations, but others were found in Level 1 (Persian and Greek era), Level 2 (period preceding Babylonian conquest by Nebuchadnezzar), and Level 3 (period preceding Assyrian conquest by Sennacherib). It is thanks to the work of David Ussishkin's team working at the site from 1973 - 1994 that eight of these stamped jars were restored (Ussishkin, 1983), thereby demonstrating lack of relevance between the jar volumes (which deviated as much as 5 gallons or 12 litres), and also proving their relation to the reign of Biblical king Hezekiah. The 1898 Reference by Bliss, contains numerous drawings, including examples of Phoenician, etc. pottery, and items from pharaonic Egypt, and other Mediterranean, and inland regions.

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Latrun in Wikipedia

Latrun (Hebrew: לטרון‎, Latrun; Arabic: اللطرون‎, al-Latrun) is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla. Etymology - There are two theories regarding the origin of the name of Latrun. One is that it is a corruption of Le toron des chevaliers (the Castle of the Knights), the Crusader stronghold in the area.[1] The other is that it is named for the good thief who was crucified by the Romans alongside Jesus (Lucas 23:40-43).[1] History -- Biblical era - In the Hebrew Bible, the Ayalon Valley was the site of a battle in which the Israelites, led by Joshua, defeated the Amorites (Joshua 10:1-11). Centuries of Jewish sovereignty ensued.[1] Later, Judah Maccabee established his camp here in preparation for battle with the Seleucid Greeks, who had invaded Israel/Judea and were camped at Emmaus. As described in the Book of Maccabees, the Greeks found the Jewish camp empty, and were then surprised by an attack by Judah's forces appearing suddenly in the valley. The ensuing battle provided the Jewish forces with the first major victory in the Maccabean Revolt, ultimately leading to more than a century of renewed Jewish independence under the rule of the Hasmonean dynasty. Crusader era - Remains of the Crusader castle at Latrun Little remains of the castle, which was held by the Templars by 1187. The main tower was later surrounded with a rectangular enclosure with vaulted chambers. This in turn was enclosed by an outer court, of which one tower survives...

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Magdala in Wikipedia

Magdala (Aramaic מגדלא Magdala, meaning "elegant," "great," or "magnificent"; Hebrew מגדל Migdal, meaning "tower"; Arabic قرية المجدل, Qaryat Al Majdal) is the name of at least two places in ancient Israel mentioned in the Jewish Talmud and one place that may be mentioned in the Christian New Testament. Magdala was also a high stronghold in Ethiopia that was taken on April 13, 1868, by Sir Robert Napier, created Baron Napier of Magdala. Disputed location names - The New Testament makes one disputable mention of a place called Magdala. Matthew 15:39 of the King James' Version (KJV ) reads, "And he [Jesus] sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala". However, the most reliable Greek manuscripts give the name of the place as "Magadan", and more modern scholarly translations (such as the Revised Version) follow this. Although some commentators[1] state confidently that the two refer to the same place, others[2] dismiss the substitution of Magdala for Magadan as simply "to substitute a known for an unknown place". The parallel passage in Mark's gospel[8:10 ] gives (in the majority of manuscripts) a quite different place name, Dalmanutha, although a handful of manuscripts give either Magdala or Magadan[3] presumably by assimilation to the Matthean text-believed in ancient times to be older than that of Mark, though this opinion has now been reversed. The Jewish Talmud distinguishes between two Magdalas only.[4] Magdala Gadar-One Magdala was in the east, on the River Yarmouk near Gadara (in the Middle Ages "Jadar", now Umm Qais), thus acquiring the name Magdala Gadar. Magdala Nunayya-There was another, better-known Magdala near Tiberias, Magdala Nunayya ("Magdala of the fishes"), which would locate it on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Al-Majdal, a Palestinian Arab village depopulated in the lead up to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war was identified as the site of this Magdala. The modern Israeli municipality of Migdal (Khirbet Medjdel), founded in 1910 and about 6 km NNW of Tiberias, has expanded into the area of the former village. the Magdalene - All four gospels[5] refer to a follower of Jesus called Mary Magdalene, and it has usually been assumed that this means "Mary from Magdala". There is no biblical information to indicate whether this was her home or her birthplace. Most Christian scholars assume that she was from the place the Talmud calls Magdala Nunayya, and that this is also where Jesus landed on the occasion recorded by Matthew.[4] Josephus - Josephus mentions a wealthy Galilean town, destroyed by the Romans in the Jewish War (III, x,) that has the Greek name Tarichaeae from its prosperous fisheries. Josephus does not give its Hebrew name. Some authors[6] identify this with Magdala.

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Makhtesh Ramon in Wikipedia

Makhtesh Ramon (Hebrew: מכתש רמון‎; lit. Ramon Crater/Makhtesh) is a geological feature of Israel's Negev desert. Located at the peak of Mount Negev, some 85 km south of the city of Beersheba, the landform is not actually an impact crater from a meteor, but rather is the world's largest makhtesh. The crater is 40 km long and 2-10 km wide, and is shaped like an elongated heart. The only settlement in the area is the small town of Mitzpe Ramon (מצפה רמון, "Ramon Observation Point") located on the northern edge of the crater. Today the crater and surrounding area forms Israel's largest national park, the Ramon Nature Reserve. Formation - Hundreds of millions of years ago, the Negev desert was covered by an ocean. Slowly, this started to recede northwards leaving behind a hump-shaped hill. The hump was slowly flattened by water and climatic forces. Approximately five million years ago, the Arava Rift Valley was formed, with rivers changing their courses, carving out the inside of the crater which was a softer rock than that overlying. The crater bottom continued to deepen at a much faster rate than the surrounding walls, which gradually increased in height. As the crater deepened, more layers of ancient rock were exposed with rocks at the bottom of the crater being up to 200 million years old. Today, the crater is 500m deep with the deepest point being Ein Saharonim (Saharonim Spring) which also contains the makhtesh's only natural water source which sustain much of the wildlife in the makhtesh including onagers and ibex. Geology - Makhtesh Ramon contains a diversity of rocks including clay hills known for their fantastic red and yellow colors and forms. Impressive mountains rise at the borders of the crater - Har Ramon (Mt. Ramon) at the southern end, Har Ardon (Mt. Ardon) at the north-eastern end, and two table mountains - Har Marpek (Mt. Marpek - "Elbow"), and Har Katum (Mt. Katum - "Chopped") along the southern wall. The hills to the north-eastern edge of the makhtesh were once entirely covered by spiral ammonite fossils, ranging from the size of snails to that of tractor wheels although these have mainly been extracted so only smaller fossils can be found here today. Giv'at Ga'ash, a black hill in the north of the makhtesh was once an active volcano which erupted thousands of years ago and caused it to be covered in lava which quickly cooled in the open air, converting it into basalt. Limestone covered by basalt can also be found in smaller black hills in the southern part of the makhtesh, including Karnei Ramon. Shen Ramon (Ramon's Tooth) is a rock made of magma which hardened whilst underground. It later rose up through cracks in the Earth's surface, and today stands in striking contrast with the nearby creamy coloured southern wall of the crater, as a black sharp-edged rock. In the centre of the makhtesh is Ha-Minsara (The Carpentry Shop), a low hill made up of black prismatic rocks, and interestingly, the rectangular pipes on the side of the hill are made of the same sort of sand found on beaches. As such, this is the only place in the world where prisms made of heated sand turned into liquid which, in cooling naturally formed rectangular and hexagonal prisms, can be seen. These prisms lost no space in the middle during formation. The pterioid bivalve Family Ramonalinidae is found in early Middle Triassic rocks of Makhtesh Ramon and was named after this feature. History - The ruins of a large prehistoric stone structure known as Khan Saharonim are found in the makhtesh as it lies along the ancient Incense Route, a trade route used by the Nabateans 2,000 years ago. These ruins acted as a way station for the traders and their animals (khan is the Arabic word for a caravansary) as they proceeding further westwards to the Mediterranean seaport city of Gaza.

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Mamre in Wikipedia

Mamre (Hebrew: מַמְרֵא‎), full Hebrew name Elonei Mamre ("Oaks/Terebinths of Mamre"), refers to a Canaanite cultic shrine dedicated to the supreme, sky god of the Canaanite pantheon, El.[1] Talmudic sources refer to the site as Beth Ilanim or Botnah. it was one of the three most important "fairs", market place or caravanserai, in Palestine. It lies approximately half way between Halhul and Hebron, (heading north from Hebron to Halhul at the intersection of the Halhul/Hebron road and the 3507, one turns right on to the 3507 towards Jericho [away from Bayt Jibrin] and Mamre is to be found some 500 yards further down, on the left). History - Bronze age pottery shards found at the site may indicate that the cultic shrine was in use from 2600-2000 BCE.[2] Mamre, in the biblical account, was the site where Abraham came to set up his tents to camp, built an altar,[3] and was brought divine tidings, in the guise of three angels, of Sarah's pregnancy, [4] while elsewhere[5] it is called 'the Terebinths of Mamre the Amorite'.[6][7] Mamre being the name of one of the three Amorite chiefs who joined forces with those of Abraham in pursuit of Chedorlaomer to save Lot. (Gen. 14:13,24)[8][9] The discrepancy is often explained as reflecting the discordance between the different scribal traditions behind the composition of the Pentateuch, the former relating to the Yahwist, the latter to the Elohist recension, according to the documentary hypothesis of modern scholarship.[10] The enclosure - The ancient well, more than 5 m in diameter, is referred to as Abraham's Well.[11][12] The 2 m thick stone wall enclosing area 60 m wide and 83 m long was constructed by Herod the Great, possibly as a cultic place of worship.[13][14] The Herodian structure was destroyed by Bar Kochba's army, only to be rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Hadrian revived the fair, which had long been an important one as it took place at an intersection forming the transport and communications nub of transport of the southern Judaean mountains. This mercatus (Heb.yerid or shuq: Gk. paneguris) or fair/market, was one of the sites chosen by Hadrian to sell remnants of Bar Kochba's defeated army into slavery. [edit]Rabbinical tradition Due to the pagan idolatrous nature of the rituals at the fair, Jews were forbidden to participate by their rabbis.[15][16] According to the Jerusalem Talmud: 'They prohibited a fair only in the case of one of the character of that at Botnah. And it has been taught along these same lines in a Tannaitic tradition. There are three fairs, the fair at Gaza, the fair at Acre, and the fair at Botnah, and the most debased of the lot of them is the fair of Botnah.' [17] Under Christianity - Notwithstanding the rabbinic ban, by the time of Constantine's reign the market had become an informal interdenominational festival, in addition to its functions as a trade fair, frequented by Christians, Jews and pagans. The cultic shrine was made over for Christian use after Eutropia, Constantine's mother-in-law, visited it and was scandalised by its pagan character. The drawing of the site after the excavation of the German scholar A E Mader from 1926-1928, shows the Basilica and stores furthest from the Haram Ramet el-Khalil, a well altar and tree, with the market place occupying the central enclosure.[18][19] Constantine ordered the comes Acacius to destroy all pagan idols and banned the pagan practises.[20] The enclosure was then consecrated, Constantine had the Basilica built, dedicated to St George and the enclosure of Terebinth of Mamre roofed over, the foundations of which are still visible.[15][21] The venerated tree was destroyed by Christian visitors taking souvenirs, leaving only a stump which survived down to the seventh century.[2][22] The Abraham's angel visitation being revered by the Eastern Orthodox Christians as a pre-figurement of the new testament Holy Trinity.[23] The Constantine church appears on the Madaba Map. The fifth century account by Sozomen (Historia Ecclesiastica Book II 4-54) is the most detailed account of the practices at Mamre during the early Christian period.[2] 'The place is presently called the Terebinth, and is situated at the distance of fifteen stadia from Hebron, . . There every year a very famous festival is held in the summer time, by people of the neighbourhood as well as by the inhabitants of more distant parts of Palestine and by Phoenicians and Arabians. Very many come there for the sake of business, some to sell and some to buy. The feast is celebrated by a very big congregation of Jews, since they boast of Abraham as their forefather, of heathens since angels came there, of Christians since he who should be born from the Virgin for the salvation of humankind appeared there to that pious man. Everyone venerates this place according to his religion: some praying God the ruler of all, some calling upon the angels and offering libations of wine, burning incense or sacrificing an ox, a goat, a sheep or a cock... Constantine's mother in law (Euthropia), having come there to fulfill a vow, gave notice of all this to the Emperor. So he wrote to the bishops of Palestine reproaching them for having forgot their mission and permitted such a most holy place to be defiled by those libations and sacrifices.'[24] The monastery on the site continued after Umar's conquest.[25] During the Crusader occupation the site may have been used by the Church of the Trinity.[26][27]

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Mamshit in Wikipedia

Mamshit (Hebrew: ממשית‎) is the Nabataean city of Memphis. In the Nabataean period, Mamshit was an important station on Incense Road, running from the Idumean Mountains, through the Arabah and Ma'ale Akrabim, and on to Beer-Sheva or to Hebron and Jerusalem. The city covers 10 acres (40,000 m2) and is the smallest but best restored city in the Negev Desert. The once-luxurious houses feature unusual architecture not found in any other Nabataean city. The reconstructed city gives the visitor a sense of how Mamshit once looked. Entire streets have survived intact, and there are also large groups of Nabataean buildings with open rooms, courtyards, and terraces. The stones are carefully chiseled and the arches that support the ceiling are remarkably well constructed. History -- Mamshit was built in 1st century BC as trade post on the way from Petra to Gaza. with time the city was developed and based also on agriculture. When trade in Mamshit waned with the Roman occupation, the occupants found another way to make a living: raising horses. The residents of Mamshit bred the renowned Arabian horse, which brought great wealth to their city. During the Byzantine period Mamshit also received support from the authorities for being a frontier city. When this funding dried up, at the time of Justinian, the city died a natural death. Before the founding of the State of Israel, Prime Minister to-be David Ben-Gurion saw Mamshit as the capital of the future country, which dovetailed with his dream of settling the Negev Desert. Two churches were discovered in Mamshit. The western Nile Church has a mosaic floor with colorful geometric patterns, birds, a fruit basket, and five dedications in Greek (the mosaic is not open to the public). The eastern church has a lectern on small marble pillars, the remnants of which can be seen at the site. The biggest hoard ever found in Israel was uncovered in Mamshit - 10500 silver coins, 158 pounds of plumbum tonque with foundry signs and a papyrus cluster with ancient Greek texts. Mamshit was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO on June 2005.

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Mar Saba in Wikipedia

The Great Lavra of St. Sabbas the Sanctified,[1] known in Arabic as Mar Saba (Hebrew: מנזר מר סבא‎), is a Greek Orthodox monastery overlooking the Kidron Valley[2] in the West Bank east of Bethlehem. It was founded by Saint Sabas of Cappadocia in the year 439 and today houses around 20 monks. It is considered to be one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world, and still maintains many of its ancient traditions. One in particular is the restriction on women entering the main compound. The only building that women can enter is the Women's Tower, near the main entrance. The monastery holds a well-preserved body, believed to be the relics of St. Sabbas the Sanctified. Mar Saba is occasionally referred to as the Convent or Monastery of Santa Sabba.[3] Mar Saba was also the home of St. John of Damascus (b.676 - d.749-754?) St John The Damascene was a key religious figure in the Iconoclastic Controversy, who in ca. 726 wrote letters to the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian refuting his edicts prohibiting the veneration of icons (images of Christ or other Christian religious figures). John who was born in Damascus and worked as a high financial officer to the Muslim Caliph Abd al-Malik, eventually felt a higher calling and migrated to Palestine, where he was tonsured a monk and was ordained a hieromonk (monastic priest) at the Monastery of Mar Saba. St. John's tomb lies in a cave under the monastery. The monastery is important in the historical development of the liturgy of the Orthodox Church in that the monastic Typicon (manner of celebrating worship services) of Saint Sabas became the standard throughout the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. The Typicon took the standard form of services which were celebrated in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and added some specifically monastic usages which were local traditions at Saint Sabas. From there it spread to Constantinople, and thence throughout the Byzantine world. Although this Typicon has undergone further evolution, particularly at the Monastery of the Stoudion in Constantinople, it is still referred to as the Typicon of Saint Sabas. Mar Saba is where Morton Smith claimed to have found a copy of a letter ascribed to Clement of Alexandria containing excerpts of a so-called Secret Gospel of Mark.

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Masada in Wikipedia

Masada (Hebrew מצדה, pronounced Metzada (help·info), from מצודה, metzuda, "fortress") is the name for a site of ancient palaces and fortifications in the South District of Israel on top of an isolated rock plateau, or horst, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. After the First Jewish-Roman War a siege of the fortress by troops of the Roman Empire led to the mass suicide of the Sicarii rebels. It is located about 20 km east of Arad. Geography -- The cliffs on the east edge of Masada are about 1,300 feet (400 m) high and the cliffs on the west are about 300 feet (90 m) high; the natural approaches to the cliff top are very difficult. The top of the plateau is flat and rhomboid-shaped, about 1,800 feet (550 m) by 900 feet (275 m). There was a casemate wall around the top of the plateau totaling 4,300 feet (1.3 km) long and 12 feet (3.7 m) thick, with many towers, and the fortress included storehouses, barracks, an armory, the palace, and cisterns that were refilled by rainwater. Three narrow, winding paths led from below up to fortified gates. History -- According to Josephus, a first-century Jewish Roman historian, Herod the Great fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE as a refuge for himself in the event of a revolt. In 66 CE, at the beginning of the First Jewish-Roman War against the Roman Empire, a group of Jewish extremists called the Sicarii overcame the Roman garrison of Masada. After the destruction of the Second Temple, additional members of the Sicarii and their families fled Jerusalem and settled on the mountaintop, using it as a base for harassing the Romans.[1] The works of Josephus are the sole record of events that took place during the siege. According to modern interpretations of Josephus, the Sicarii were an extremist splinter group of the Zealots who were equally antagonistic to both Romans and other Jewish groups.[2] The Zealots (according to Josephus), in contrast to the Sicarii, carried the main burden of the rebellion, which opposed Roman rule of Judea (as the Roman province of Iudaea, its Latinized name). The Sicarii on Masada were commanded by Elazar ben Ya'ir (who may have been the same person as Eleazar ben Simon), and in 70 CE they were joined by additional Sicarii and their families that were expelled from Jerusalem by the Jewish population with whom the Sicarii were in conflict shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Archaeology indicates that they modified some of the structures they found there; this includes a building which was modified to function as a synagogue facing Jerusalem (in fact, the building may originally have been one), although it did not contain a mikvah or the benches found in other early synagogues.[3] It is one of the oldest synagogues in Israel. Remains of two mikvahs were found elsewhere on Masada...

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Mazor Mausoleum in Wikipedia

The Mazor Mausoleum (Hebrew: מאוזוליאום מזור‎) is one of the most impressive and best preserved Roman buildings in Israel, located in El'ad. The Mausoleum, which is the only Roman era building in Israel to still stand from its foundations to its roof, was built for an important Roman man and his wife in the 3rd century CE. Their identities remain a mystery but one can still see the remnants of two sarcophagi in the mausoleum. Muslim Period - In the Late Antiquity, the Muslims added a prayer niche in the southern wall, indicating the direction of Mecca, and the building became an Islamic holy place called Makam Nebe Yihya. Due to its sacredness, the building was preserved through the ages.[1] It functioned as a mosque until the depopulation of the Palestinian village Al-Muzayri'a in 1948.

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Megiddo in Wikipedia

Megiddo (Hebrew: מְגִדּוֹ‎، Arabic المجیدو, Urdu مجیدو) is a kibbutz in northern Israel. Located in the Jezreel Valley, it falls under the jurisdiction of Megiddo Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 356. The kibbutz was founded in 1949 by Holocaust survivors, partisans and fighters from Poland and Germany[citation needed]. It is located near the intersection between highways 65 (from Hadera to Afula) and 66 (going from Haifa south to Judea and Samaria), which is called the Megiddo Junction. The junction is the site of a bus terminal and once a large military prison for Palestinians. Located near the site of the several Battles of Megiddo and Tel Megiddo, a rich archeological site. In the Israelite time it was a town, part of the tribe of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7:29). In 2005, Israeli archeologists discovered the remains of an ancient church, perhaps the eldest in the Holy Land under the grounds of the military prison. Authorities are speculating about moving the prison so the site can be accessible to tourists. In apocalyptic literature, Mount Megiddo, the hill overlooking the valley where the current kibbutz is located, is identified as the site of the final battle between the forces of good and evil at the end of time, known as Armageddon (mentioned in the New Testament in Revelation 16:16).

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Martyrius Monastery in Wikipedia

The Monastery of Martyrius, now located in the center of the Israeli settlement and city of Ma'ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, was one of the most important centres of monastic life in the Judean Desert during the Byzantine period. [1][2] History - When Ma'ale Adumim was built in 1982-1985, the remains of the Monastery of Martyrius (Khirbet Murassas)[3] were discovered on a hill overlooking the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. Martyrius was born in Cappadocia (present-day Turkey). After spending some time at the Laura of Euthymius in 457 CE, he lived as a hermit in a nearby cave. Later, he served as a priest at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and became Patriarch of Jerusalem (478-486 CE). It is believed that he built the monastery bearing his name at this time.[4] The xenodocheion (pilgrim hostelry) was a source of considerable income to the sabaite monks of the coenobium.[5] Archeological findings - The square-shaped compound of the monastery covers an area of 2.5 acres (10,000 m2). It is surrounded by walls preserved to a height of two meters. The gate was located in the eastern wall. A round rolling-stone, 2.5 meters in diameter, was found inside the gate, probably for additional protection. Numerous rock-cut cisterns and canals were found for collecting and chanelling rainwater into cisterns.[4] The monastery was built around a large courtyard and included a church, several chapels, a refectory, a kitchen, a storeroom, a bathhouse, residential quarters and an animal pen. Outside the wall was a pilgrims hostel.[4] The main church was paved with colorful mosaics in geometric patterns interspersed with pictures of animals. A Greek inscription mentions the abbots Genesius and Iohannes.[4] On the northern side of the complex is a cave in which several skeletons were found. A Greek inscription cites the names of three priests buried there. It is believed this is the cave where Martyrius lived before joining the church hierarchy in Jerusalem.[4] The refectory is surrounded by stone benches and divided by two rows of columns which supported a second story. The floor, discovered intact, is covered with mosaics in geometrical designs. The kitchen was also paved with mosaics and contained marble tables. Hundreds of ceramic vessels, cooking pots and wine cups were found there. The hostel provided guests with a chapel, sleeping quarters and a stable.[4] The monastery was damaged during the Persian invasion in 614 CE and was abandoned after the Arab conquest in the mid- 7th century.[4] The site was excavated by Yitzhak Magen of the Israel Antiquities Authority.[4]

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St. George’s Monastery in Wikipedia

St. George Orthodox Monastery (or Monastery of St. George of Koziba) is located in Wadi Qelt, in the eastern West Bank, in the Palestinian territories. The sixth-century cliff-hanging complex, with its ancient chapel and gardens, is still inhabited by a few Greek Orthodox monks. It is reached by a pedestrian bridge across the Wadi Qelt, which many imagine to be Psalm 23's Valley of the Shadow, and where shepherds still watch over their flocks, just as Ezekiel 34 and John 10:1-16 describe. The valley parallels the old Roman road to Jericho, the backdrop for the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). History -- St. George's Monastery began in the fourth century with a few monks who sought the desert experiences of the prophets, and settled around a cave where they believed Elijah was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:5-6). This Greek Orthodox monastery was built in the late 5th century A.D. by John of Thebes. He became a hermit and moved to Palestine from Egypt in 480 CE. The monastery was named St. George after the most famous monk who lived at the site – Gorgias of Coziba. Destroyed in 614 CE by the Persians, the monastery was more or less abandoned after the Persians swept through the valley and massacred the fourteen monks who dwelt there. The Crusaders made some attempts at restoration in 1179. However, it fell into disuse after their expulsion. In 1878, a Greek monk, Kalinikos, settled here and restored the monastery, finishing it in 1901. The traditions attached to the monastery include a visit by Elijah en route to the Sinai Peninsula, and St. Joachim, whose wife Anne was infertile, weeping here when an angel announced to him the news of Mary's conception. The bones and skulls of the martyred monks killed by the Persians in 614 CE can still be seen today in the monastery chapel. Today -- The monastery is located 20 km/12.5 mi from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. There is a sign posted to the monastery, which goes off on the left from the rather higher north side which there is the first view of the gorge of the Wadi Qelt. From the parking lot there is a path only suitable for all-terrain vehicles which runs northeast (about 1.25 hours on foot) to a hill with a cross, from which there is a view of the Greek Orthodox monastery of St. George and far to the left, a rivulet flowing down the hillside from a spring, from which water is channeled to the monastery. The stony track continues (another half-hour's walk), to the entrance to the monastery, which clings precariously to the sheer north face of the gorge.

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Qasrin in Wikipedia

Katzrin (Hebrew: קַצְרִין‎, also spelt Qatzrin, Qasrin, or Kazerin) is the administrative center of the Golan Regional Council and largest Israeli settlement[1] and town in the Golan Heights. History Katzrin is built around the site of a Jewish agricultural village of the Mishnaic period. The archaeological remnants, which include a notable ancient synagogue, are displayed as the Katzrin Ancient Village. The ancient village was destroyed in the Golan earthquake of 749. Modern Katzrin was established in 1977 after the government of Israel decided settling and populating the Golan Heights was of prime importance for Israeli security. Katzrin is a planned urban center that provides a services to the rural communities and military bases of the Golan. In 1981, under the Golan Heights Law, Israel applied Israeli civil law in the Golan Heights (including Katzrin). The Golan Heights Law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by the UN security council.[2][3][4] [edit]Modern town The town offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. To the south is the Sea of Galilee, to the north Mount Hermon, and to the west the hills of the Upper Galilee. As of mid 2005 there are 6,400 people living in Katzrin, almost all of whom are Jewish. The community was planned to grow into a city of 25,000 residents. Katzrin has an educational system and academic centers that serve the residents of the entire region, industrial plants, and facilities of culture and recreation. Katzrin is a major center of tourism in the Golan Heights due to the historical sites it boasts. One of these is the Katzrin Ancient Village (the source of the name "Katzrin"), of the Mishnaic period. The village was destroyed in the Golan earthquake of 749, but still has archaeological remains of a synagogue, partially reconstructed, and foundations of ancient houses. The Golan Archaeological Museum displays the archaeological finds uncovered in the Golan. Katzrin is home to the kosher Golan Heights Winery and a mineral water plant. It also has two open air strip malls. While the headquarters of the Golan Regional Council are located in Katzrin, the town itself does not come under the regional council's jurisdiction, since Katzrin became an independent local council. The large Chinese solar company Suntech Power and Israeli company Solarit Doral built Israel's largest solar power station, a 50 kW rooftop project near the town, and connected it to the electric grid in December 2008.

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Qumran in Wikipedia

Qumran (Hebrew: חירבת קומראן‎, Arabic: خربة قمران‎ - Khirbet Qumran) is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia. The Hellenistic period settlement was constructed during the reign of John Hyrcanus, 134-104 BCE or somewhat later, and was occupied most of the time until it was destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE or shortly after. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden, caves in the sheer desert cliffs and beneath, in the marl terrace. Since the discovery from 1947 to 1956 of nearly 900 scrolls in various conditions, mostly written on parchment, with others on papyrus, extensive excavations of the settlement have been undertaken. Cisterns, Jewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining or assembly room and debris from an upper story alleged by some to have been a scriptorium as well as pottery kilns and a tower. Many scholars believe the location to have been home to a Jewish sect, the Essenes being the preferred choice; others have proposed non-sectarian interpretations, some of these starting with the notion that it was a Hasmonean fort which was later transformed into a villa for a wealthy family or a production center, perhaps a pottery factory or similar. A large cemetery was discovered to the east of the site. While most of the graves contain the remains of males, some females were also discovered, though some burials may be from medieval times. Only a small portion of the graves were excavated, as excavating cemeteries is forbidden under Jewish law. Over a thousand bodies are buried at Qumran cemetery.[1] One theory is that bodies were those of generations of sectarians, while another is that they were brought to Qumran because burial was easier there than in rockier surrounding areas.[2] The scrolls were found in a series of eleven caves around the settlement, some accessible only through the settlement. Some scholars have claimed that the caves were the permanent libraries of the sect, due to the presence of the remains of a shelving system. Other scholars believe that some caves also served as domestic shelters for those living in the area. Many of the texts found in the caves appear to represent widely accepted Jewish beliefs and practices, while other texts appear to speak of divergent, unique, or minority interpretations and practices. Some scholars believe that some of these texts describe the beliefs of the inhabitants of Qumran, which, may have been the Essenes, or the asylum for supporters of the traditional priestly family of the Zadokites against the Hasmonean priest/kings. A literary epistle published in the 1990s expresses reasons for creating a community, some of which resemble Sadducean arguments in the Talmud.[3] Most of the scrolls seem to have been hidden in the caves during the turmoil of the First Jewish Revolt, though some of them may have been deposited earlier. Discovery and excavation The site of Khirbet Qumran had been known to European explorers since the 19th century.[4] The initial attention of the early explorers was focused on the cemetery, beginning with de Saulcy in 1851. In fact, the first excavations at Qumran (prior to the development of modern methodology) were of burials in the cemetery, conducted by Henry Poole in 1855 followed by Charles Clermont-Ganneau in 1873.[5] Full-scale work at the site began after Roland de Vaux and G. Lankester Harding in 1949 excavated what became known as Cave 1, the first scroll-bearing cave. A cursory surface survey that year produced nothing of interest,[6] but continued interest in the scrolls led to a more substantial analysis of the ruins at Qumran in 1951, an analysis which yielded traces of pottery closely related to that found in Cave 1.[7] This discovery led to intensive excavations at the site over a period of six seasons under the direction of de Vaux. Chart of various proposed chronologies of Qumran.[8] The Iron Age remains at the site, which were modest but included a lmlk-seal, led de Vaux to identify Qumran as the City of Salt listed in Josh 15:62. The site, however, may be identified with Secacah, which is referenced in the same area as the City of Salt in Josh 15:61. Secacah is mentioned in the Copper Scroll, and the water works of Secacah that are described in this source are consistent with those of Qumran.[9] Following the Iron Age, the excavations revealed that Qumran was principally in use from the Hasmonean times until some time after the destruction of the temple by Titus. De Vaux divided this use into three periods: Period I, the Hasmonean era, which he further divided in two, Period Ia, the time of John Hyrcanus, and Period Ib, the latter Hasmoneans, ending with an earthquake and fire in 31BCE (this was followed by a hiatus in de Vaux's interpretation of the site); Period II, the Herodian era, starting in 4BCE on up to the destruction of the site apparently at the hands of the Romans during the Jewish War; and Period III, a reoccupation in the ruins. De Vaux's periodization has been challenged by both Jodi Magness[10] and Yizhar Hirschfeld.[11] The site that de Vaux uncovered divides into two main sections: a main building, a squarish structure of two stories featuring a central courtyard and a defensive tower on its north-western corner; and a secondary building to the west. The excavation revealed a complex water system which supplied water to several stepped cisterns, some quite large, located in various parts of the site. Two of these cisterns were placed within the walls of the main building. Both the buildings and the water system evince signs of consistent evolution throughout the life of the settlement with frequent additions, extensions and improvements. The water channel was raised in order to carry water to newer cisterns further away and a dam was placed in the upper section of Wadi Qumran to secure more water, which was brought to the site by an aqueduct. Rooms were added, floors were raised, pottery ovens relocated and locations were repurposed. De Vaux found three inkwells at Qumran (Loci 30 (2) and 31) and over the following years more inkwells have come to light with a Qumran origin. Jan Gunneweg identified a fourth (locus 129). S. Steckoll found a fifth (reportedly near the scriptorium). Magen and Peleg found a sixth inkwell . Without counting the Ein Feshkha inkwell or others with debated provenance, that is more inkwells than found at any other Second Temple Period site, a significant indication of writing there...

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Montfort Castle in Wikipedia

The Montfort (German: Starkenberg) is a ruined crusader fortress in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel, about 22 miles (35 km) northeast of the city of Haifa and 10 miles (16 km) south of the border with Lebanon. The site is now a national park inside the Nahal Kziv nature reserve, and it constitutes an important spot of tourism and attracts many tourists both from inside and outside Israel. Etymology -- The name of the fortress derives from the two French words mont (a mountain) and fort (strong), meaning the "strong mountain". When the fortress was sold from the French De Milly family to the German Teutonic Knights, the fortress was accordingly called Starkenberg, meaning the same phrase in German (stark meaning strong, and berg meaning mountain). History -- The Montfort is an archaeological site of the Middle Ages, consisting of the ruins of a fortress built by Crusaders during the times of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The fortress is built on a narrow and steep cliff above the southern bank of Nahal Kziv in the Upper Galilee region, about 8 mi (13 km) northeast of the city of Nahariya. Unlike many other crusader fortresses in the Holy Land, this fortress had not been originally built for military purposes but begun its way as an agricultural farm, prior to its becoming one of the finest examples of fortified building architecture in Outremer. Soon after the Crusaders conquered Palestine from the Muslims in 1099 during the First Crusade, European settlers (apart from the Crusaders themselves) began to populate the land. The noble French De Milly family received the estate and began to cultivate the land, turning it into a farmland. In 1187 Muslims under the leadership of Saladin managed to defeat the Crusaders and take over Jerusalem following the Battle of Hattin. Along with Jerusalem, the property which was to be the Montfort castle became a Muslim possession as well. The Muslims, just like their crusader predecessors, did not find the property particularly significant. The farmland lacked strategic importance because it was situated inland, above a stream channel, far away from any borders or main ways of transportation. Saladin's victory triggered the Third Crusade between 1189 and 1192. Led by King Richard I of England, the Third Crusade ended with a substantial Crusader victory. Nonetheless, the territories of the Kingdom of Jerusalem were much smaller in size than those from before Saladin's conquests. Most of the central Judea and Samaria mountains (including Jerusalem) remained under Muslim control, and the crusaders ruled mainly in the coastal plain and the Galilee. As the crusaders set their new capital in Acre, the significance of the Montfort estate increased, due to the proximity of the property to the new capital (8 mi). Although the De Milly family received the territory after its recapture during the Third Crusade, they sold it to the Teutonic Knights in 1220. The German knights began to renovate the buildings of the estate and, following internal conflicts between themselves and the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller, it was imperative for the Teutonic Knights to leave Acre for a separate headquarters, and the property (on which the Montfort was soon to be built) was a natural choice. Following a formal request of assistance by Grand Master Hermann von Salza from Pope Gregory IX, the latter sent numerous fiscal contributions of many pilgrims and European citizens, to aid in the renovation of the new property. With the help of these contributions, the Teutonic Knights fortified the property and turned it into a magnificent fortress. The knights set their headquarters, archive, and treasury at the new property in 1229. By that time the property ceased from being a farmland and was considered a fortress with all its implications. The Teutonic Knights expanded the fortifications and built a keep in the center; the keep is the main remnant of the ruined fortress. The Mamluk leader Baibars besieged the fortress in 1266. However, the defenders of the fortress resisted and eventually compelled the Mamluk invaders to leave. Five years later, however, after most of the Crusader strongholds had fallen into Baibars' hands, the Mamluk leader returned to the fortress and managed to topple the fortress' external southern wall with several military engineering battalions. This operation facilitated the Mamluks' stay in the area and after seven days of siege, the Teutonic Knights inside the fort surrendered. Due to prior negotiations between Baibars and the Crusaders, the latter were allowed to leave the fortress with all of their belongings and return to Acre. After the fall of that city in 1291, the Teutonic Knights then made Venice their headquarters. Architecture - Montfort is a spur castle on a narrow ridge projecting from a larger hill. The defences are concentrated at the most vulnerable eastern side where the spur joins the hill. On that side there are two ditches in front of a large D-shaped tower. The entrance to the castle is on the opposite side, with a smaller entrance tower guarding it. As the top of the spur is quite narrow, the main residential buildings are arranged in sequence between these two towers along the top of the ridge, with the vaulted hall the most notable one. On the northern side, there are remnants of an outer defensive wall.

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Mount Carmel in Wikipedia

Mount Carmel (Hebrew: הַר הַכַּרְמֶל‎, Har HaKarmel (lit. God's vineyard); Greek: Κάρμηλος, Kármēlos; Arabic: الكرمل‎, Kurmul) is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel stretching from the Mediterranean Sea towards the southeast. Archaeologists have discovered ancient wine and oil presses at various locations on Mt. Carmel.[1][2] The range is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and a number of towns are located there, most notably the city of Haifa, Israel's third largest city, located on the northern slope. Geography and geology -- The phrase Mount Carmel has been used in three distinct ways:[1] To refer to the 39 km-long (24-mile long) mountain range, stretching as far in the southeast as Jenin. To refer to the northwestern 19 km (12 miles) of the mountain range. To refer to the headland at the northwestern end of the range. The Carmel range is approximately 6.5 to 8 km (4 to 5 miles) wide, sloping gradually towards the southwest, but forming a steep ridge on the northeastern face, 546 m (1,810 ft) high. It is named Rom Carmel.[2] The Jezreel Valley lies to the immediate northeast. The range forms a natural barrier in the landscape, just as the Jezreel Valley forms a natural passageway, and consequently the mountain range and the valley has had a large impact on migration and invasions through the Levant over time.[1] The mountain formation is an admixture of limestone and flint, containing many caves, and covered in several volcanic rocks.[1][2] The sloped side of the mountain is covered with luxuriant vegetation, including oak, pine, olive, and laurel trees.[2] Several modern towns are located on the range, including Yokneam on the eastern ridge, Zikhron Ya'aqov on the southern slope, the Druze town of Carmel City on the more central part of the ridge, and the towns of Nesher, Tirat Hakarmel, and the city of Haifa, on the far northwestern promontory and its base. There is also a small kibbutz called Beit Oren, which is located on one of the highest points in the range to the southeast of Haifa. Paleolithic history -- Between 1930 to 1932, Dorothy Garrod excavated four caves, and a number of rock shelters, in the Carmel mountain range at el-Wad, el-Tabun, and Es Skhul.[3] Garrod discovered Neanderthal and early modern human remains, including the skeleton of a Neanderthal female, named Tabun I, which is regarded as one of the most important human fossils ever found.[4] The excavation at el-Tabun produced the longest stratigraphic record in the region, spanning 600,000 or more years of human activity,[5] from the Lower Paleolithic to the present day, representing roughly a million years of human evolution.[6] There are also several well-preserved burials of Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens Sapiens) and passage from nomadic hunter-gatherer groups to complex, sedentary agricultural societies is extensively documented at the site. Taken together, these emphasize the paramount significance of the Mount Carmel caves for the study of human cultural and biological evolution within the framework of palaeo-ecological changes."[7] As a strategic location -- Due to the lush vegetation on the sloped hillside, and many caves on the steeper side, Carmel became the haunt of criminals;[1] Carmel was seen as a place offering an escape from Yahweh, as implied by the Book of Amos.[1][8] According to the Books of Kings, Elisha travelled to Carmel straight after cursing a group of young men because they had mocked him and the ascension of Elijah by jeering, "Go on up, bald man!" After this, bears came out of the forest and killed 42 of them[9] (The noun na'ar always refers to males but can include different ages.) This does not necessarily imply that Elisha had sought asylum there from any potential backlash,[1] although the description in the Book of Amos, of the location being a refuge, is dated by textual scholars to be earlier than the accounts of Elisha in the Book of Kings,[10][11] and according to Strabo it had continued to be a place of refuge until at least the first century.[12] According to Epiphanius,[13] and Josephus,[14] Mount Carmel had been the stronghold of the Essenes that came from a place in Galilee named Nazareth; though this Essene group are sometimes consequently referred to as Nazareans, they are not to be confused with the "Nazarene" sect, which followed the teachings of Jesus, but associated with the Pharisees. Members of the modern American groups claiming to be Essenes, but viewed by scholars as having no ties to the historical group,[15] treat Mount Carmel as having great religious significance on account of the protection it afforded to the historic Essene group. During World War I, Mount Carmel played a significant strategic role. The (20th century) Battle of Megiddo took place at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge, which overlooks the Valley of Jezreel from the south. General Allenby led the British in the battle, which was the turning point in the war against the Ottoman Empire. The Jezreel Valley had played host to many battles before, including the very historically significant Battle of Megiddo between the Egyptians and Canaanites, but it was only in the 20th century battle that the Carmel Ridge itself played a significant part, due to the developments in munitions. As a sacred location -- In ancient Canaanite culture, high places were frequently considered to be sacred, and Mount Carmel appears to have been no exception; Thutmose III lists a holy headland among his Canaanite territories, and if this equates to Carmel, as Egyptologists such as Maspero believe, then it would indicate that the mountain headland was considered sacred from at least the 15th century BC.[1] According to the Books of Kings, there was an altar to God on the mountain, which had fallen into ruin by the time of Ahab, but was rebuilt by Elijah.[16] Iamblichus describes Pythagoras visiting the mountain on account of its reputation for sacredness, stating that it was the most holy of all mountains, and access was forbidden to many, while Tacitus states that there was an oracle situated there, which Vespasian visited for a consultation;[2] Tacitus states that there was an altar there,[1] but without any image upon it,[1][2] and without a temple around it.[2] Elijah -- In mainstream Jewish, Christian, and Islamic[1] thought, it is Elijah that is indelibly associated with the mountain, and he is regarded as having sometimes resided in a grotto on the mountain. In the Books of Kings, Elijah challenges 450 prophets of a particular Baal to a contest at the altar on Mount Carmel to determine whose deity was genuinely in control of the Kingdom of Israel; since the narrative is set during the rule of Ahab and his association with the Phoenicians, biblical scholars suspect that the Baal in question was probably Melqart.[17] According to the Bible in 1 Kings 18, the challenge was to see which deity could light a sacrifice by fire. After the prophets of Baal had failed to achieve this, Elijah had water poured on his sacrifice several times to saturate the STONE altar, prostrated himself in prayer to God, fire fell from the sky, and immediately consumed the sacrifice and the water, prompting the Israelite witnesses to proclaim, "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!". In the account, clouds gather, the sky turns black, and it rains heavily, ending a long drought. Though there is no biblical reason to assume that the account of Elijah's victory refers to any particular part of Mount Carmel,[1] Islamic tradition places it at a point known as El-Maharrakah, meaning the burning.[2] In 1958, archaeologists discovered something on the mountain range that resembled an altar, which they assumed must have been Elijah's altar.[citation needed] Carmelites -- A statue of Elijah in the crypt of the monastery on Mount Carmel. According to Carmelite tradition, the crypt was originally the Cave of Elijah A Catholic religious order was founded on Mount Carmel in the 12th century, named the Carmelites, in reference to the mountain range; the founder was a certain Berthold (who died at an unknown point after 1185), who was either a pilgrim or crusader. The order was founded at the site that it claimed had once been the location of Elijah's cave, 1,700 feet (520 m) above sea level at the northwestern end of the mountain range;[1] this, perhaps not coincidentally, is also the highest natural point of the entire mountain range. Though there is no documentary evidence to support it, Carmelite tradition suggests that a community of Jewish hermits had lived at the site from the time of Elijah until the Carmelites were founded there; prefixed to the Carmelite Constitution of 1281 was the claim that from the time when Elijah and Elisha had dwelt devoutly on Mount Carmel, priests and prophets, Jewish and Christian, had lived praiseworthy lives in holy penitence adjacent to the site of the fountain of Elisha, in an uninterrupted succession. A Carmelite monastery was founded at the site shortly after the order itself was created, and was dedicated to Mary, in her aspect of Star of the Sea (stella maris in Latin) - a common medieval presentation of Mary;[1] although Louis IX (of France) is commonly referred to as the founder, he was not, and had merely visited it in 1252.[2] The Carmelite order grew to be one of the major Catholic religious orders worldwide, although the monastery at Carmel had a less successful history. During the Crusades the monastery often changed hands, frequently finding itself to have become a mosque;[2] under Islamic control, the location came to be known as El-Maharrakah, meaning place of burning, in reference to the account of Elijah's challenge to the priests of Hadad.[2] In 1799 the building was finally converted into a hospital, by Napoleon, but in 1821 the surviving structure was destroyed by the pasha of Damascus.[2] A new monastery was later constructed directly over a nearby cave, after funds were collected by the Carmelite order for restoration of the monastery;[2] the cave, which now forms the crypt of the monastic church, is termed Elijah's grotto by the monks.[2] One of the oldest scapulars is associated with Mount Carmel, and the Carmelites. According to Carmelite legend, the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was first given to Simon Stock, an English Carmelite, by Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Carmelites sometimes refer to Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in honour of the legend, and celebrate a feast day dedicated to her in this guise, on the 16 July...

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Mount Gerizim in Wikipedia

Mount Gerizim (Samaritan Hebrew Ar-garízim, Arabic جبل جرزيم Jabal Jarizīm, Tiberian Hebrew הַר גְּרִזִּים Har Gərizzîm, Standard Hebrew הַר גְּרִיזִּים Har Gərizzim) is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the West Bank city of Nablus (Biblical Shechem), and forms the southern side of the valley in which Nablus is situated, the northern side being formed by Mount Ebal. The mountain is one of the highest peaks in the West Bank, as well as being higher than most mountain peaks in Israel, and rises to 2849 feet (881 meters) above sea level, 228 feet (69.5 meters) shorter than Mount Ebal.[1] The mountain is particularly steep on the northern side, is sparsely covered at the top with shrubbery, and lower down there is a spring with a high yield of fresh water.[2] Two villages are situated on the mountain ridge, Kiryat Luza (Samaritan), and Har Bracha (Jewish). Trilingual road signs directing toward Mount Gerizim and Kiryat Luza ("Shomronim" - Samaritans in Hebrew) The mountain is sacred to the Samaritans who regard it, rather than Jerusalem's Temple Mount, as having been the location chosen by Yahweh for a holy temple. The mountain continues to be the centre of Samaritan religion to this day, and over 90% of the worldwide population of Samaritans live in very close proximity to Gerizim, mostly in Kiryat Luza, the main village. The passover is celebrated by the Samaritans on Mount Gerizim,[3] and it is additionally considered by them as the location of the near-sacrifice of Isaac (the masoretic and Septuagint versions of Genesis state that this happened on Mount Moriah which Jews traditionally identify as the Temple Mount).[2] According to classical rabbinical sources, in order to convert to Judaism, a Samaritan must first and foremost renounce any belief in the sanctity of Mount Gerizim. Biblical account -- In the masoretic text of Deuteronomy and the Septuagint version of the same, an instruction is given to build an altar on Mount Ebal, constructed from natural (rather than cut) stones, to place stones there and whiten them with lime,[2] to make peace offerings on the altar, eat there, and write the words of this law on the stone.[4] According to the Samaritan Pentateuch version of Deuteronomy, the instruction actually concerns Mount Gerizim, which the Samaritans view as a holy site.[5] An instruction immediately subsequent to this orders that, once this is done, the Israelites should split into two groups, one to stay on Mount Ebal and pronounce curses, while the other goes to Mount Gerizim and pronounces blessings.[6] The tribes of Simeon, of Levi, of Judah, of Issachar, of Joseph, and of Benjamin were to be sent to Gerizim, while those of Reuben, of Gad, of Asher, of Zebulun, of Dan, and of Naphtali, were to remain on Ebal.[6] No attempts to explain this division of tribes either by their Biblical ethnology or by their geographical distribution have been generally accepted in academic circles.[5] The text goes on to list twelve curses, which were to be pronounced by the Levite priesthood and answered by the people with Amen.[7] These curses heavily resemble laws (eg cursed be he who removes his neighbour's landmark), and they are not followed by a list of blessings described in a similarly liturgical framework; scholars believe that these more likely represent what was written on the stones, and that the later list of six explicit blessings,[8] six near-corresponding explicit curses,[9] were originally in this position in the text.[5] The present position of these explicit blessings and curses, within a larger narrative of promise, and a far larger narrative of threat (respectively), is considered to have been an editorial decision for the post-exilic second version of Deuteronomy (Dtr2), to reflect the deuteronomist's worldview after the Babylonian exile had occurred.[5] In the Book of Joshua, after the Battle of Ai, Joshua built an altar of unhewn stones there, the Israelites then made peace offerings on it, the law of Moses was written onto the stones, and the Israelites split into the two groups specified in Deuteronomy and pronounced blessings and curses as instructed there.[10] There is some debate between textual scholars as to whether this incident in Joshua is one account or spliced together two different accounts, where one account refers to Joshua building an altar, and making sacrifices on it, while the other account refers to Joshua placing large stone slabs there that had been whitened with lime and then had the law inscribed on them.[2] Either way there are some who believe that the sources of Joshua predate Deuteronomy, and hence that the order to build the altar and make the inscription is likely based on these actions in the sources of Joshua, rather than the other way round, possibly to provide an aetiology for the site acceptable to the deuteronomist's theology.[11] Much later in the Book, when Joshua was old and dying, he gathered the people together at Shechem, and gave a farewell speech, and then wrote these words in the book of the law of Yahweh, and set up a stone as a witness, placing it next to the sanctuary of Yahweh, under the oak tree.[12] Depending on the way in which the sources of Joshua were spliced together, this may just be another version of the earlier narrative Joshua placing the whitened stones slabs with the law inscribed on them, and some scholars believe that this narrative may have originally been in an earlier location within the Book of Joshua.[5] Scholars consider it plausible for the sanctuary to have been pre-Israelite.[5] It is possible that the name of the mountain is indicative of this, as it is thought that Gerizim may mean mountain of the Gerizites, a tribe in the vicinity of the Philistines that was conquered by David. A straitforward etymology for Gerizim would give the meaning of mountain cut in two.[13] According to the narrative about Jotham in the Book of Judges, Shechem was a site where there was a sanctuary of El-Berith, also known as Baal-Berith, meaning God of the covenant and Lord of the covenant, respectively[14]; scholars have suggested that the Joshua story about the site derives from a covenant made there in Canaanite times.[15] In the narrative of Judges, the pillar that was in Shechem is seemingly significant enough to have given its name to a nearby plain,[16] and this pillar is thought to be likely to have been a totem of El-Berith; the Joshua story, of a stone being set up as a witness, simply being an attempt to provide an aetiology in accordance with later Israelite theology.[13] In the Biblical narrative, the oak tree, seemingly next to the sanctuary, was evidently in existence as early as the time of the Patriarchs, as Jacob is described in the Book of Genesis as having buried the idols of strange gods (formerly worshipped by his household) beneath it.[17] According to a midrash, one of these Idols, in the shape of a dove, was later recovered by the Samaritans, and used in their worship on Mount Gerizim.[2] Post-exile history -- After the end of the Babylonian Captivity, a large schism between the Samaritans and Judaism developed, with the Samaritans, but not the Jews, regarding Mount Gerizim as the holy place chosen by God.[2] Subsequently, the Samaritans built a temple there, arguing that this was the real location of the Israelite temple which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, probably in the 5th or 4th century BCE.[18] Though it had been destroyed by his time, Josephus plainly states that the temple on Gerizim was similar to that in Jerusalem (prior to the Herodian expansion of the latter), and that it was surrounded by fortifications. [19] The religious tension between the Jews and the Samaritans lead to the temple on Gerizim being destroyed by either John Hyrcanus in the 2nd century BC (according to Josephus) or by Simeon the Just (according to the Talmud), who was permitted to do so by Alexander the Great, the land at that time falling under Alexander's empire.[2] However, the mountain evidently continued to be the holy place of the Samaritans, as it is mentioned as such by the Gospel of John[20] and coins produced by a Roman mint situated in Nablus included within their design a depiction of the temple; surviving coins from this mint, dated to 138-161 CE, show a huge temple complex, statues, and a substantive staircase leading from Nablus to the temple itself.[21] In Jesus' discussion with the Samaritan woman he revealed his feeling about worship there: "Jesus said to her: "Believe me, woman, The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will YOU people worship the Father. YOU worship what YOU do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth" -John 4:21-23a. Eventually, when Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire, Samaritans were barred from worshiping on Mount Gerizim. In 475 AD a church was built on its summit.[13] In 529 AD, Justinian I made Samaritanism illegal, and arranged for a protective wall to be constructed around the church.[2][13] As a result, the same year, Julianus ben Sabar lead a pro-Samaritan revolt, and by 530 AD had captured most of Samaria, destroying churches and killing the priests and officials. However in 531 AD, after Justinian enlisted the help of Ghassanids, the revolt was completely quashed, and surviving Samaritans were mostly enslaved or exiled. In 533 AD Justinian had a castle constructed on Mount Gerizim to protect the church from raids by the few disgruntled Samaritans left in the area.[2][13] Archaeology -- As a result of the fortified church, and previous Samaritan temple, extensive ruins still exist at the somewhat plateau-like top of Gerizim. The line of the wall around the church can easily be seen,[2] as can portions of the former castle, and initial archaeological study of the site postulated that the castle built by Justinian had utilised stones from an earlier structure on the site (probably being the Samaritan temple).[13] In the centre of the plateau is a smooth surface, containing a hollow, which archaeologists consider to be reminiscent of dolmens found in southwestern Syria, and which Samaritans consider to be a portion of their former temple.[13] A more substantial archaeological survey was undertaken in the middle of the 20th century, while the site was in the possession of Jordan, in the region of the mountain known as Tell el-Ras, situated on the northernmost peak at the end of the northern ridge. This excavation, which continued under Israel's jurisdiction, uncovered Corinthian columns, a large rectangular platform (65m by 44m) surrounded by 2m thick and 9m high walls, and an 8m wide staircase leading down from the platform to a marbled esplanade. [21] The complex also has a series of cisterns in which Late Roman ceramics were found.[21] These discoveries, now named Structure A, have been dated to the time of Hadrian, due to numismatics and external literary evidence, and are believed to be a temple dedicated to Zeus.[22] Underneath these remains were found a large stone structure built on top of the bedrock. This structure, now known as Structure B, nearly half cubic (21m by 20m in width and length, and 8.5m high), consists almost entirely of unhewn limestone slabs, fitted together without any binding material, and has no internal rooms or dividing walls.[22] The structure was surrounded by a courtyard similar to the platform above it (being 60m by 40m in size with 1.5m thick walls), and was dated to during or before the Hellenic era by ceramics found in a cistern cut into the bedrock at the northern side.[21] The excavating archaeologist considered Structure B to be the altar built by the Samaritans in the 5th or 6th century BC.

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Mount Gilboa in Wikipedia

Mount Gilboa (Hebrew: הר הגלבוע‎) is a ridge above the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel. The formation extends from southeast to northwest, bordering the highlands of the West Bank and the Beit She'an valley; the 'Green Line' between Israel and the West Bank traverses the ridge. The Gilboa range is also the setting in the Books of Samuel portraying Saul, Jonathan, and David.[1] Faqoa -- The Arabic name is Mount Faqoa (Arabic: جبال فقوعة‎). The name is taken from the village Faqoa between Jenin City and Beit She'an. Kibbutzim -- The mountain has two religious kibbutzim, Ma'ale Gilboa and Merav, named after one of Saul's daughters, as well as a drug rehabilitation centre called Malkishua, most likely after one of King Saul's sons, Malchi-shua. Ma'ale Gilboa has in it a yeshiva (Talmudical school), Yeshivat Ma'ale Gilboa. Municipal services are mainly administered by the Gilboa Regional Council, although two villages are part of the Beit She'an Valley Regional Council.[citation needed] The Israeli government had proposed a new community on the mountain: Mikhal, named after Saul's other daughter Michal. However, environmentalists and other residents had been vehement in their opposition to this project, fearing that Mikhal would destroy more green space and threaten certain irises which are unique to this area. Others in opposition questioned the need for an additional village, since the existing villages were themselves trying to attract new residents and expand.[citation needed] Vegetation -- Every year, in early spring, the Iris haynei (Hebrew: אירוס הגלבוע‎, Irus Ha-Gilboa) flower grows on the mountain, and visitors from all over Israel come to see the purple flower. Nature reserves -- Two nature reserves have been declared on the Gilboa ridge; The Irus Ha-Gilboa nature reserve in 1970, covering 7,280 dunams and the eastern Gilboa reserve in 2005, covering 18290 dunams.[2]

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Ashkelon in Wikipedia

Ashkelon (also Ashqelon) Arabic عسقلان ˁAsqalān (Hebrew: אַשְׁקְלוֹן‎ (audio) (help·info); Latin: Ascalon; Akkadian: Isqalluna) is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Tel Aviv. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age. In the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Israelites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Persians, the Egyptians and the Crusaders, until it was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1270. The Arab village of al-Majdal (Arabic: المجدل‎, Hebrew: אל-מג'דל, מגדל‎), was established nearby in the 16th century, under Ottoman rule. In 1918, Ashkelon became part of the British Mandate for Palestine. In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Majdal was the forward position of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force based in Gaza.[2] The village was occupied by Israeli forces on November 5, 1948, by which time most of the Arab population had fled. In 2009, the population of Ashkelon was 111,900.[1] Etymology The name Ashkelon is probably Western Semitic, derived from the root shkl, lit. "to weigh," attesting to its importance as a center for mercantile activities. Ashkelon is mentioned in the Egyptian Execration Texts of the 11th dynasty as "Asqanu." [3] The shallot and scallion derive from their name from Ashkelon. [edit]History Neolithic era The Neolithic site of Ashkelon is located on the Mediterranean coast, 1.5 km (0.93 mi) north of Tel Ashkelon. It is dated radiometrically (14C) to ca. 7900 bp (uncalibrated), to the poorly known Pre-Pottery Neolithic C phase of the Neolithic. It was discovered and excavated in 1954 by French archaeologist Jean Perrot. In 1997–1998, a large scale salvage project was conducted at the site by Yosef Garfinkel on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and nearly 1,000 sq.m were examined. A final excavation report was published in 2008. In the site over a hundred fireplaces and hearths were found and numerous pits, but no solid architecture, except for one wall. Various phases of occupation were found, one atop the other, with sterile layers of sea sand between them. This indicates that the site was occupied on a seasonal basis. The main finds were enormous quantities of animal bones (ca. 100,000) and 20,000 flint artifacts. Usually at Neolithic sites flints far outnumber animal bones. The bones belong to domesticated and non-domesticated animals. When all aspects of this site are taken into account, it appears to have been used by pastoral nomads for meat processing. The nearby sea could supply salt necessary for the conservation of meat. [edit]Canaanite settlement Ashqelon as mentioned on Merneptah Stele: iskeluni-(using hieroglyphs n, and two-determ.) Ancient sarcophagus in Ashkelon Ashkelon was the oldest and largest seaport in Canaan, one of the "five cities" of the Philistines, north of Gaza and south of Jaffa (Yafa). The city was originally built on a sandstone outcropping and has a good underground water supply. It was relatively large as an ancient city with as many as 15,000 people living inside walls a mile and a half (2.4 km) long, 50 feet (15 m) high and 150 feet (50 m) thick. Ashkelon was a thriving Middle Bronze Age (2000–1550 BCE) city of more than 150 acres (61 ha), with commanding ramparts including the oldest arched city gate in the world, eight feet wide, and even as a ruin still standing two stories high. The thickness of the walls was so great that the mudbrick Bronze Age gate had a stone-lined tunnel-like barrel vault, coated with white plaster, to support the superstructure: it is the oldest such vault ever found. The Bronze Age ramparts were so capacious that later Roman and Islamic fortifications, faced with stone, followed the same footprint, a vast semicircle protecting Ashkelon on the landward side. On the sea it was defended by a high natural bluff. Within the huge ramparts, in the ruins of a sanctuary, a votive silver calf was found in 1991. During the Canaanite period, a roadway more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in width ascended the rampart from the harbor and entered a gate at the top. Nearby, in the ruins of a small ceramic tabernacle was found a finely cast bronze statuette of a bull calf, originally silvered, 4 inches (100 mm) long. Images of calves and bulls were associated with the worship of the Canaanite gods El and Baal. The Amarna letters correspondence of Ashkelon/(Ašqaluna), of 1350 BC, contains seven letters to the Egyptian pharaoh, from its 'King'/mayor: Yidya. Yidya was the only ruler of Ašqaluna during the 15–20-year time period. One letter from the pharaoh to Yidya was discovered in the early 1900s. Philistine settlement The Philistines conquered Canaanite Ashkelon about 1150 BC. Their earliest pottery, types of structures and inscriptions are similar to the early Greek urbanised centre at Mycenae in mainland Greece, adding weight to the hypothesis that the Philistines were possibly one of the populations among the "Sea Peoples" that upset cultures throughout the eastern Mediterranean at that time. Ashkelon became one of the five Philistine cities that were constantly warring with the Israelites and the Kingdom of Judah. According to Herodotus, its temple of Venus was the oldest of its kind, imitated even in Cyprus, and he mentions that this temple was pillaged by marauding "Scythians" during the time of their sway over the Medes (653–625 BCE). When this vast seaport, the last of the Philistine cities to hold out against Nebuchadnezzar finally fell in 604 BCE, burnt and destroyed and its people taken into exile, the Philistine era was over.[citation needed] Roman era Ashkelon was soon rebuilt. Until the conquest of Alexander the Great, Ashkelon's inhabitants were influenced by the dominant Persian culture. It is at this archaeological layer that excavations have found dog burials. It is believed the dogs may have had a sacred role, however evidence is not conclusive. After the conquest of Alexander in the 4th Century BCE, Ashkelon was an important Hellenistic seaport. Queen Cleopatra VII used Ashkelon as her place of refuge when her brother and sister exiled her in 49 BCE. She organized an army on the site but did not need to use it due to Julius Caesar's arrival in Alexandria. Jewish era The Jews of Judea Province drove the Greeks out of the region in the Maccabean Revolt, which lasted from 167-160 CE. The Hasmonean Kingdom was then established, and Ashkelon became part of it. The Hasmonean kingdom fell in 37 BCE, and the area was placed under the rule of Herod the Great, a Jewish client king of the Roman Empire. Ashkelon may have even been his birthplace. Josephus states Ashkelon was not ceded to Herod the Great in 30 BC[4], yet he built monumental buildings there: bath houses, elaborate fountains and large colonnades.[5] The city remained loyal to Rome during the First Jewish Revolt, 66–70 CE, and in the following centuries it grew to be an important centre. It appears on a fragment of the 6th century CE Madaba Map.[citation needed]...

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Avdat in Wikipedia

Avdat (Hebrew: עבדת‎, from Arabic: عبدات‎, Abdat), also known as Ovdat or Obodat was the most important historic city on the Incense Route after Petra between the 7th and the 1st centuries BCE. It was inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans and Byzantines.[1] It was a seasonal camping ground for Nabataean caravans travelling along the early Petra - Gaza road (Darb es-Sultan) in the 3rd - late 2nd century BCE. Avdat was named for Nabataean King Obodas I who was revered as a deity and, according to tradition, was buried there. History Before the end of the 1st century BCE a temple platform (the acropolis) was created along the western edge of the plateau. Recent excavations have shown that the town continued to be inhabited by the Nabataeans continuously from this period until its destruction by earthquake in the early 7th century CE. Sometime towards the end of the 1st century BCE the Nabataeans began using a new route between the site of Moyat Awad in the Arabah valley and Avdat by way of Makhtesh Ramon. Nabataean or Roman Nabataean sites have been found at excavated at Moyat Awad (mistakenly called Moa of the 6th century CE Madeba Map), Qatzra, Har Masa, Mezad Nekarot, Sha'ar Ramon (Khan Saharonim), Mezad Ma'ale Mahmal and Grafon. Avdat continued to prosper as a major station along the Petra-Gaza road after the Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE. Avdat, like other towns in the central Negev highlands, adjusted to the cessation of international trade through the region in the early to mid 3rd century by adopting agriculture, and particularly the production of wine, as its means of subsistence. Numerous terraced farms and water channels were built throughout the region in order to collect enough run-off from winter rains to support agriculture in the hyper arid zone of southern Israel. At least five wine presses dated to the Byzantine period have been found at the site. In the late third or early 4th century (probably during the reign of Diocletian) the Roman army constructed an army camp measuring 100 x 100 m. on the northern side of the plateau. Elsewhere at the site, an inscription was found in the ruins of a tower describing the date (293/294 CE) and the fact that one of the builders hailed from Petra. Around this time a bath house was constructed on the plain below the site. The bath house was supplied with water by way of a well, tunneled 70 meters through bedrock. Sites along the Petra- Gaza road were apparently used by the Roman army in the 4th and 5th centuries when the road continued to function as an artery between Petra and the Nabataean Negev settlements. Pottery and coins from the late 3rd - early 5th century have been found at Mezad Ma'ale Mahmal, Shar Ramon and Har Masa and Roman milestones line part of the road between Avdat and Shar Ramon. A fort with four corner towers was constructed on the ruins of early Nabataean structures north of Avdat at Horvat Ma'agora. Milestones have been found on along the Petra Gaza road north at Avdat between Avdat and Horvat Ma'agora and further up the road towards Halutza (Elusa). The early town was heavily damaged by a major (probably local) earthquake, sometime in the early 5th century CE. In the ruins of this destruction a Nabataean inscription, in black ink on plaster, was found bearing a blessing of the Nabataean god, Dushara. The inscription was written by the plasterer, one Ben-Gadya. This is the latest Nabataean inscription ever found in Israel. A wall was built around the later town, including a large area of man-made caves, some of which were partially inhabited in the Byzantine period. Under Byzantine rule, in fifth and 6th century, a citadel and a monastery with two churches were built on the acropolis of Avdat. Saint Theodore's Church is the most interesting Byzantine relic in Avdat. Marble tombstones inserted in the floor are covered with Greek inscriptions. St. Theodore was a Greek martyr of the 4th century. The Monastery stands next to the church and nearby a lintel is carved with lions and it marks the entrance to the castle. The town was totally destroyed by a local earthquake in the early 7th century and was never reinhabited.

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Banias in Wikipedia

Banias (or Paneas; Greek: Πανειάς; Arabic: بانياس الحولة‎; Hebrew: בניאס‎) is an archaeological site by the uninhabited former city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon (Ba'al-Hermon, Arabic: جبل الشيخ‎, Jabal esh-Shaiykh, Hebrew: הר חרמון‎, Har Hermon) in the Golan Heights. The site is 150 km north of Jerusalem and 60 km southwest of Damascus. The city was located within the region known as the "Panion" (the region of the Greek god Pan), and is named after the deity associated with the grotto and shrines close to the spring called "Paneas". The temenos (sacred precinct) included a temple, courtyards, a grotto and niches for rituals, and was dedicated to Pan. It was constructed on an elevated, 80m long natural terrace along the cliff which towered over the north of the city. A four-line inscription at the base of one of the niches relates to Pan and Echo, the mountain nymph, and was dated to 87 CE. In the distant past, a giant spring gushed from a cave set in the limestone bedrock, to tumble down the valley and flow into the Hula marshes. Currently it is the source of the Nahal Hermon stream. Whereas the Jordan River previously rose from the malaria-infested Hula marshes, it now rises from this spring and two others at the base of Mount Hermon. The flow of the spring has decreased greatly in modern times.[1] The water no longer gushes forth from the cave, but only seeps from the bedrock below it. Pagan associations Panias is a spring, known also known Fanium, named for the Arcadian Pan, the Greek god, a goat-footed god of victory in battle [creator of panic in the enemy], isolated rural areas, music, goat herds, hunting, herding, and of sexual and spiritual possession[2]. It lies close to the fabled 'way of the sea' mentioned by Isaiah.[3] along which many armies of Antiquity marched. Paneas was certainly an ancient place of great sanctity, and when Hellenised religious influences began to overlay the region, the cult of its local numen gave place to the worship of Pan, to whom the cave was therefore dedicated.[4] The pre-Hellenic deity associated with the site was variously called Ba'al-gad or Ba'al-hermon.[5] In extant sections of the Greek historian Polybius's history of 'The Rise of the Roman Empire', a Battle of Panium is mentioned. This battle was fought in 198 BC between the Macedonian armies of Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Greeks of Coele-Syria, led by Antiochus III.[6][7][8] Antiochus's victory cemented Seleucid control over Phoenicia, Galilee Samaria and Judea until the Maccabean revolt. It was these hellenised Seleucids that built a pagan temple dedicated to Pan at Paneas.[9] Roman - Herodian city Upon Zenodorus's death in 20 BC, the Panion (Greek: Πανιάς), which included Paneas, was annexed to the Kingdom of Herod the Great.[10] Herod erected a temple of 'white marble' in Paneas in honour of his patron. In 3 BCE, Philip II (also known as Philip the Tetrarch) founded a city at Paneas, which became the administrative capital of Philip's large tetrarchy of Batanaea, encompassing the Golan and the Hauran. In his Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus refers to the city as Caesarea Paneas; the New Testament as Caesarea Philippi, to distinguish it from Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast.[11][12] In 14 CE Philip II named it Caesarea (in honour of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus) and 'made improvements' to the city. His image was placed on a coin issued in 29/30 CE to commemorate the city's foundation. This was considered as idolatrous by Jews, but followed in the Idumean tradition of Zenodorus.[13] On the death of Philip II in 34 CE the tetrachy was incorporated into the province of Syria with the city given the autonomy to administer its own revenues.[14] In 61 CE, king Agrippa II renamed the administrative capital Neronias in honour of the Roman emperor Nero, but this name was discarded several years later, in 68 CE.[15] Agrippa also carried out urban improvements[16] During the First Jewish–Roman War, Vespasian rested his troops at Caesarea Philippi over July 67 CE, holding games for a period of 20 days before advancing on Tiberias to crush the Jewish resistance in Galilee.[17] Gospel association In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is said to have approached the area near the city, but without entering the city itself. While in this area, he asked his closest disciples who men thought him to be. Accounts of their answers, including the Confession of Peter, are to be found in the Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as in the Gospel of Thomas. In the Gospel of Mark, they replied that Jesus was thought to be John the Baptist, Elias, or some other prophet, although Saint Peter gave his own view and confessed his belief that Jesus was the messiah (Christ). Jesus predicted his destiny, for which Peter rebuked him. In Matthew, Peter's expression of belief that Jesus was the Messiah is the occasion for Jesus designating Peter's confession as the rock on which the Church was to be built--the fact that Jesus is the Christ. In Luke, the site where this is said to have occurred is located near Bethsaida, after the Sermon on the Mount, and Peter affirms his belief Jesus is 'the Christ of God'. In all three gospels, the apostles are asked to keep this revelation as secret.[18][19] A woman from Paneas, who had been bleeding for 12 years, is said to have been miraculously cured by Jesus. According to tradition, after she had been cured, she had a statue of Christ erected.[20]...

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Baram in Wikipedia

Bar'am (Hebrew: בַּרְעָם‎, lit. Son of the People) is a kibbutz located in northern Israel. Located approximately 300 meters from Israel's border with Lebanon near the ruins of the ancient Jewish village of Kfar Bar'am.[1] Bar'am National Park is known for the remains of one of Israel's oldest synagogues.[2] The kibbutz falls under the jurisdiction of Upper Galilee Regional Council. History - At an unknown point subsequent to the Arab conquest of the seventh century but before the thirteenth century, the Jewish population had left the village , which was an entirely Christian village called Kafr Bir'im on the Lebanese border when the inhabitants were expelled by Israel Defense Forces in November 1948.[3] In 1949, with cross-border infiltration a frequent occurrence, the government of the new State of Israel decided not to allow Arab villagers to return to the border zone, which included Bir'im, for security reasons.[4] Bar'am was founded on 14 June 1949 to guard and hold the border with Lebanon by demobilized Palmach soldiers. The kibbutz was established as a secular settlement of the Hashomer Hatzair movement. The kibbutz, with more than 250 members and 200 children, continues to expand despite its close proximity to Israel's northern border...

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Basilica of Annunciation in Wikipedia

The Church of the Annunciation (Hebrew: כנסיית הבשורה‎, Arabic: كنيسة البشارة‎, Greek: Εκκλησία του Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου), sometimes also referred to as the Basilica of the Annunciation is a church in Nazareth, in modern-day northern Israel. History The church was established at the site where, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Annunciation took place. Greek Orthodox tradition holds that this event occurred while Mary was drawing water from a local spring in Nazareth, and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation was erected at that alternate site. The current church is a two-story building constructed in 1969 over the site of an earlier Byzantine-era and then Crusader-era church. Inside, the lower level contains the Grotto of the Annunciation, believed by many Christians to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary. Under Roman Catholic canon law, the church enjoys the status of a minor basilica.[1] A historically significant site, considered sacred within some circles of Christianity, particularly Catholicism, the basilica attracts many Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox Christian visitors every year. The first shrine was probably built sometime in the middle of the 4th century, comprising an altar in the cave in which Mary had lived. A larger structure was commissioned by Emperor Constantine I, who had directed his mother, Saint Helena, to found churches commemorating important events in Jesus Christ's life. The Church of the Annunciation was founded around the same time as the Church of the Nativity (the birthplace) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the tomb). Some version of it was known to have still been in existence around 570 AD, but it was destroyed in the 7th century after the Muslim conquest of Palestine.[citation needed]...

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Beersheba in Wikipedia

Beersheba (Hebrew: בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע‎, Be'er Sheva; Greek: Βηρσαβεε; Latin: Bersabee; Arabic: بئر السبع‎, Bi'r as-Sab` (info); Turkish: Birüssebi) is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300.[1] Beersheba grew in importance in the 19th century, when the Ottoman Turks built a regional police station there. The Battle of Beersheba was part of a wider British offensive in World War I aimed at breaking the Turkish defensive line from Gaza to Beersheba. In 1947, Bir Seb'a (Arabic: بيئر شيبع‎), as it was known, was envisioned as part of the Arab state in the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. When the Arabs rejected the United Nations resolution declaring Israel an independent state, the Egyptian army amassed its forces in Beersheba as a strategic and logistical base. In October 1948, the city was conquered by the Israel Defense Forces.[2] Beersheba has grown considerably since then. A large portion of the population is made up of Jews who immigrated from Arab countries after 1948, and has been significantly boosted since 1990 by immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. Etymology There are several etymologies for the origin of the name "Beersheba": The oath of Abraham and Abimelech (well of the oath) The seven wells dug by Isaac (seven wells), though only three or four have been identified The oath of Isaac and Abimelech (well of the oath) The seven ewes that sealed Abraham and Abimelech's oath (well of the seven). Be'er is the Hebrew word for well; sheva could mean "seven" or "oath" (from the Hebrew word shvu'a). History - Prehistory The findings unearthed at Tel Be'er Sheva, an archaeological site a few kilometers northeast of modern day Beersheba, suggest the region has been inhabited since the 4th millennium BC.[3] The city has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries. Prehistoric era - Human settlement in the area dates from the Copper Age. The inhabitants lived in caves, crafting metal tools and raising cattle.[4] Israelite era - The town was founded by the Israelites during the 10th century BC, on the site of what is today referred to as Tel Be'er Sheva, after the land was conquered by King David. The ruins of the original Israelite settlement remain largely intact. The site was probably chosen due to the abundance of water, as evidenced by the numerous wells in the area. According to the Bible, the wells were dug by Abraham and Isaac when they arrived there. The streets were laid out in a grid, with separate areas for administrative, commercial, military, and residential use. According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheba was the southernmost city of the territories actually settled by Israelites, hence the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" to describe the whole kingdom.[5] Beersheba is mentioned in the Book of Genesis in connection with Abraham the Patriarch and his pact with Abimelech. Isaac built an altar in Beersheba (Genesis 26:23–33). Jacob had his dream about a stairway to heaven after leaving Beersheba. (Genesis 28:10–15 and 46:1–7). Beersheba was the territory of the tribe of Shimon and Judah (Joshua 15:28 and 19:2). The prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheba when Jezebel ordered him killed (I Kings 19:3). The sons of the prophet Samuel were judges in Beersheba (I Samuel 8:2). Saul, Israel's first king, built a fort for his campaign against the Amalekites (I Samuel 14:48 and 15:2–9). The prophet Amos mentions the city in regard to idolatry (Amos 5:5 and 8:14).[5] Following the Babylonian conquest and subsequent enslavement of many Israelites, the town was abandoned. After the slaves returned from Babylon, the town was resettled. [edit]Roman and Byzantine era During the Roman and later Byzantine periods, the town served as a front-line defense against Nabatean attacks. The last inhabitants of Tel Be'er-Sheva were the Byzantines, who abandoned the city during the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century...

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Beit She'an in Wikipedia

Beit She'an (help·info) (Hebrew: בֵּית שְׁאָן‎ Beth Šəān; Arabic: بيسان‎, Beesān (help·info), Beisan or Bisan)[1] is a city in the North District of Israel which has played an important role historically due to its geographical location at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley. It has also played an important role in modern times, acting as the regional center for the numerous villages in the Beit She'an Valley Regional Council. History and geography Scythopolis Beit She'an's location has often been strategically significant, as it sits at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley, essentially controlling access from the interior to the coast, as well as from Jerusalem to the Galilee. Its name is believed to derive from the early Canaanite "house of tranquility".[citation needed] Beit She'an is first listed among Thutmose III's conquests in the fifteenth century BC, and the remains of an Egyptian administrative center from the XVIII and XIX dynasties have been excavated. The Bible mentions it as a Canaanite city within the tribe of Manasseh in the Book of Joshua, chapter 17, verse 11 (also Book of Judges 1:27), and its conquest by David and inclusion in the later kingdom is noted, and large Solomonic administrative buildings destroyed by Tiglath- pileser III were uncovered from this period.[3] Its ninth century BC biblical capture by the Pharaoh Shishaq is corroborated by his victory list. [edit]Scythopolis During the Hellenistic period it had a Hellenised population and was called Scythopolis, probably named after the Scythian mercenaries who settled there as veterans, and Greek mythology has the city founded by Dionysus and his nursemaid Nysa buried there; thus it was known as Nysa- Scythopolis. Beit She'an is mentioned in 3rd-2nd centuries BC written sources describing the Syrian Wars between the Ptolemid and Seleucid dynasties, as well as in the context of the Hasmonean Maccabee Revolt, who ultimately destroyed the polis in the 2nd century BC.[3] In 63 BC it was taken by the Romans, refounded, and made a part of the Decapolis, a loose confederation of ten cities that were centers of Greco-Roman culture, an event so significant that it based its calendar on that year. Pax Romana favoured the city, evidenced by its high-level urban planning and extensive construction including the best preserved Roman theatre of ancient Samaria as well as a hippodrome, cardo, and other trademarks of the Roman influence. Mount Gilboa, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) away, provided dark basalt blocks as well as water via an aqueduct. Many of the buildings of Scythopolis were damaged in the Galilee earthquake of 363, and in 409 it became the capital of the northern district, Palaestina Secunda.[3] During the 4th-7th century Byzantine period, Beit She'an was primarily Christian, as attested to by the large number of churches, but evidence of Jewish habitation and a Samaritan synagogue indicate established communities of these minorities. The pagan temple in the city centre was destroyed, but the nymphaeum and Roman baths were restored. Many dedicatory inscriptions indicate a preference for donations to religious buildings, and many colourful mosaics, such as that featuring the zodiac in the Monastery of Lady Mary, or the one picturing a menorah and shalom in the House of Leontius' Jewish synagogue, were preserved. A Samaritan synagogue's mosaic was unique in abstaining from human or animal images, instead utilising floral and geometrical motifs. Elaborate decorations were also found in the settlement's many luxurious villas, and in the 6th century especially, the city reached its maximum size of 40,000 and spread beyond its period city walls...

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Belvoir in Wikipedia

The Crusader fortress of Belvoir, located on a hill of the Naphtali plateau, 20 km. south of the Sea of Galilee and about 500 meters above the Jordan Valley, was originally a part of the feudal estate of a French nobleman named Velos who lived in Tiberias. Velos sold it to the Order of the Hospitallers in 1168 and they erected a strong concentric castle on the site. The fortress of Belvoir served its purpose as a major obstacle to the Muslim goal of invading the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem from the east. It withstood the attack of the Muslim forces in 1180. During the campaign of 1182, the Battle of Belvoir Castle was fought nearby between King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and Saladin. Following the victory of the Muslim army under Saladin over the Crusaders at the battle of the Horns of Hittin, Belvoir was besieged. The siege lasted a year and a half, until the defenders surrendered on 5 January 1189. The fortifications of Belvoir were dismantled in 1217–18 by the Muslim rulers who feared the reconquest of the fortress by the Crusaders. In 1240 Belvoir was ceded to the Crusaders by agreement, however lack of funds did not permit them to restore the fortifications and it returned to Muslim control. In Hebrew it is known as Kohav Hayarden, meaning – Star of the Jordan which preserves the name of Kohav – a Jewish village which existed nearby during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Muslim period During the Muslim period the place was known as Kawkab al-Hawa, meaning "Star of the Winds"-representing the strong winds on this hill top. An Arab writer described Belvoir as "set amidst the stars like an eagles nest and abode of the moon".[1] The Palestinian village was depopulated after a military assault by Israeli forces in May 1948. Architecture Belvoir is an early example of the concentric castle plan, which was widely used in later crusader castles. The castle was highly symmetric, with a rectangular outer wall, reinforced with square towers at the corners and on each side, surrounding a square inner enclosure with four corner towers and one on the west wall. Vaults on the inner side of both walls provided storage and protection during bombardments.

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Bet Alpha in Wikipedia

Beit Alfa (Hebrew: בֵּית אַלְפָא‎) is a kibbutz in the Northern District of Israel, near the Gilboa ridge. History The kibbutz was founded in 1922 by Hashomer Hatzair volunteers. In 1940 some of the members, affiliated with Hashomer Hatzair, moved to Ramat Yohanan kibbutz, in exchange for supporters of Mapai from Ramat Yohanan. On the 1st of April 1948 the kibbutz was attacked by Arab mortar fire. The Arabs withdrew as a platoon from the 1st parachute battalion of the British 6th Airborne Division approached.[1] The Kibbutz dairy was the first Israeli dairy to use robotic milking technology. The Beit Alfa Synagogue National Park, located at the nearby kibbutz Heftziba, contains an ancient Byzantine-era synagogue, with a mosaic floor depicting the lunar Hebrew months as they correspond to the signs of the zodiac.[2][3] Controversy One of Beit Alfa's main industries is riot control equipment that has been the subject of some controversy. The equipment has been sold to regimes that some accuse of abusing human rights. During the 1980s, Beit Alfa sold water cannon to the apartheid regime in South Africa.[4][5] Officials from Beit Alfa have defended the sale of their equipment to human- rights abusing regimes, on the grounds that compared with live ammunition, water cannons save lives of demonstrators who otherwise might be shot dead with live ammunition.[6]

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Bet Guvrin in Wikipedia

Beit Guvrin National Park is located in central Israel. Beit Guvrin is an ancient site that has been mentioned in many parts of history. It is also a beautiful place filled with nature where the ancient and modern meet in harmony. Geography Flowers - Beit Guvrin is famous for its flowers and has a vast collection of anemones- a perennial herb. Its leaves grow from the base and can be simple, compound, or attached with a leaf stalk. In Beit Guvrin anemones can be found in many colors: red, pink, purple, blue, white, orange, and more. While walking around the park you will also see: primroses, marigold, asphodel, and more. Climate - Bet Guvrin has a temperate climate typical of central Israel: warm in the spring and hot in the summer; cool in the fall and fairly cold in the winter. While hiking there in the summer, you might get hot but the caves are cool. Bet Guvrin's caves are good to visit year round but Beit Guvrin is best to visit when its flowers are blooming. History - Beit Guvrin was mentioned as a town throughout history. Hellenistic period - The Hellenistic period began at 323 BC with the death of Alexander the Great. The Hellenistic culture was mixed with other cultures Alexander conquered - among them was cnaanites The Hellenistic period ended with start of the Christian Era in 146 BC. During the Hellenistic period the people living in Beit Guvrin habitually interred their dead in niches within gabled burial cave. Roman Empire - see'Roman Empire--------- "The City of Liberty" or "Eleutheropolis" is what Roman Emperor Septimius Severus called Beit Guvrin. Archeologists have uncovered many findings in this ancient Roman city. Among them is an amphitheater- the most obvious example of Roman culture. The Jews were hostile to the Roman regime, and the following years witnessed frequent insurrections. A last attempt to restore the former glory of the Hasmonean dynasty was made by Mattathias Antigonus, whose defeat and death brought Hasmonean rule to an end, and the land became a province of the Roman Empire. In 37 BCE, Herod, a son-in-law of Hyrcanus II, was appointed King of Judea by the Romans. Granted almost unlimited autonomy in the country's internal affairs, he became one of the most powerful monarchs in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. Herod didn't succeed in winnning the trust and support of his Jewish subjects. Ten years after Herod's death in 4 BC, Judea came under direct Roman administration. Growing anger against increased Roman suppression of Jewish life resulted in sporadic violence which escalated into a full-scale revolt in 66 CE. Superior Roman forces led by Titus were finally victorious, razing Jerusalem to the ground in 70 CE, destroying the second temple, and defeating the last Jewish outpost at Masada. The caves near Beit Guvrin were used by the rebels...

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Bet Shearim in Wikipedia

Beit She'arim (Hebrew: בֵּית שְׁעָרִים‎), also known as Beth She'arim or Besara (Greek), is the archeological site of a Jewish town and a large number of ancient rock-cut Jewish tombs. The necropolis is part of the Beit She'arim National Park, which borders the town of Kiryat Tiv'on on the northeast and is located close to the modern moshav of Beit She'arim. It is situated 20 km east of Haifa in the southern foothills of the Lower Galilee. The park is managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. According to Moshe Sharon, following Kutcher, the name of the city was more correctly Beit She'arayim (the House (or Village) of Two Gates).[1] History Beit She'arim was founded at the end of the 1st century BCE, during the reign of King Herod. It was a prosperous Jewish town until destroyed by fire in 352, at the end of the Jewish revolt against Gallus.[2] After some time it was renewed as a Byzantine city.[2] From the early Arab period (7th century), settlement was sparse.[3] A small Arab village called Sheikh Bureik was located here in the late 16th century.[4] The Roman Jewish historian Josephus Flavius referred to the city as Besara, the administrative center of the estates of Queen Berenice in the Jezreel Valley. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sanhedrin (Jewish legislature and supreme council) moved to Beit She'arim.[5] Rabbi Judah HaNasi, head of the Sanhedrin and compiler of the Mishna, lived there. In the last seventeen years of his life, he moved to Sepphoris for health reasons, but planned his burial in Beit She'arim on land he received as a gift from his friend, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. The most desired burial place for Jews was the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, but in 135 CE, when Jews were barred from the area, Beit She'arim became an alternative. [6] The archaeological importance of the site was recognized in the 1880s by the Survey of Western Palestine, which explored many tombs and catacombs but did no excavation.[7] The Arab Palestinian village of Sheikh Bureik was located on the hill until the 1920s, when the land was purchased by the Jewish National Fund. In 1936, Alexander Zaïd, employed by the JNF as a watchman, reported that he had found a breach in the wall of one of the caves which led into another cave decorated with inscriptions.[8] In the 1930s and 1950s, the site was excavated by Benjamin Mazar and Nahman Avigad...

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Bethlehem in Wikipedia

Bethlehem (Arabic: بَيْتِ لَحْمٍ‎, Bayt Laḥm (help·info), lit "House of Meat"; Hebrew: בֵּית לֶחֶם‎, Beth Leḥem or Modern Hebrew Beyt Leḥem, lit "House of Bread;" Greek: Βηθλεέμ Bethleém) is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank, approximately 8 kilometers (5 mi) south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people.[4][5] It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism.[6][7] The Hebrew Bible identifies Beit Lehem as the city David was from and the location where he was crowned as the king of Israel. The New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke identify Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The town is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, though the size of the community has shrunk due to emigration. The city was sacked by the Samaritans in 529 AD, during their revolt, but was rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Bethlehem was conquered by the Arab Caliphate of 'Umar ibn al-Khattāb in 637, who guaranteed safety for the city's religious shrines. In 1099, Crusaders captured and fortified Bethlehem and replaced its Greek Orthodox clergy with a Latin one. The Latin clergy were expelled after the city was captured by Saladin, the sultan of Egypt and Syria. With the coming of the Mamluks in 1250, the city's walls were demolished, and were subsequently rebuilt during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.[8] The British wrested control of the city from the Ottomans during World War I and it was to be included in an international zone under the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. Jordan annexed the city in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Since 1995, Bethlehem has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority.[8] Bethlehem has a Muslim majority, but is also home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities. The Bethlehem agglomeration includes the towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, as well as the refugee camps of 'Aida and Azza. Bethlehem's chief economic sector is tourism which peaks during the Christmas season when Christian pilgrims throng to the Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem has over thirty hotels and three hundred handicraft work shops.[9] Rachel's Tomb, an important Jewish holy site, is located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem. History The first historical reference to the town appears in the Amarna Letters (c. 1400 BC) when the King of Jerusalem appeals to his overlord, the King of Egypt, for help in retaking "Bit-Lahmi" in the wake of disturbances by the Apiru.[10] Since the Jews and Arabs had not yet arrived in the area it is thought that the similarity of this name to its modern forms indicates that this was a settlement of Canaanites who shared a Semitic cultural and linguistic heritage with the later arrivals.[11] Biblical era - Bethlehem, located in the "hill country" of Judah, may be the same as the Biblical Ephrath,[12] which means "fertile", as there is a reference to it in the Book of Micah as Bethlehem Ephratah.[13] It is also known as Beth-Lehem Judah,[14] and "a city of David".[15] It is first mentioned in the Tanakh and the Bible as the place where the Abrahamic matriarch Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside" (Gen. 48:7). Rachel's Tomb, the traditional grave site, stands at the entrance to Bethlehem. According to the Book of Ruth, the valley to the east is where Ruth of Moab gleaned the fields and returned to town with Naomi. Bethlehem is the traditional birthplace of David, the second king of Israel, and the place where he was anointed king by Samuel.[16] It was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his warriors brought him water when he was hiding in the cave of Adullam.[17] Roman and Byzantine periods - View of Church of the Nativity in 1833, painting by M.N.Vorobiev Between 132–135 the city was occupied by the Romans after its capture during the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Its Jewish residents were expelled by the military orders of Hadrian.[18] While ruling Bethlehem, the Romans built a shrine to the mythical Greek cult figure Adonis on the site of the Nativity. A church was erected in 326, when Helena, the mother of the first Byzantine emperor Constantine, visited Bethlehem.[8] During the Samaritan revolt of 529, Bethlehem was sacked and its walls and the Church of the Nativity destroyed, but they were soon rebuilt on the orders of the Emperor Justinian I. In 614, the Persian Sassanid Empire invaded Palestine and captured Bethlehem. A story recounted in later sources holds that they refrained from destroying the church on seeing the magi depicted in Persian clothing in a mosaic.[8] [edit]Birthplace of Jesus Further information: Church of the Nativity and Nativity of Jesus Silver star marking the place where Jesus was born according to Christian tradition Two accounts in the New Testament describe Jesus as born in Bethlehem. According to the Gospel of Luke,[15] Jesus' parents lived in Nazareth but traveled to Bethlehem for the census of AD 6, and Jesus was born there before the family returned to Nazareth. The Gospel of Matthew account implies that the family already lived in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, and later moved to Nazareth.[19][20] Matthew reports that Herod the Great, told that a 'King of the Jews' has been born in Bethlehem, ordered the killing of all the children aged two and under in the town and surrounding areas. Jesus' earthly father Joseph is warned of this in a dream, and the family escapes this fate by fleeing to Egypt and returning only after Herod has died. But being warned in another dream not to return to Judea, Joseph withdraws the family to Galilee, and goes to live in Nazareth. Early Christians interpreted a verse in the Book of Micah[21] as a prophecy of the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem.[22] Many modern scholars question whether Jesus was really born in Bethlehem, and suggest that the different Gospel accounts were invented to present the birth of Jesus as fulfillment of prophecy and imply a connection to the lineage of King David.[23][24][25][26] The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John do not include a nativity narrative or any hint that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and refer to him only as being from Nazareth.[27] In a 2005 article in Archaeology magazine, archaeologist Aviram Oshri pointed to the absence of evidence of settlement of the area at the time when Jesus was born, and postulates that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Galilee.[28] Opposing him, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor argues for the traditional position.[29] The antiquity of the tradition of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem is attested by the Christian apologist Justin Martyr, who stated in his Dialogue with Trypho (c. 155–161) that the Holy Family had taken refuge in a cave outside of the town.[30] Origen of Alexandria, writing around the year 247, referred to a cave in the town of Bethlehem which local people believed was the birthplace of Jesus.[31] This cave was possibly one which had previously been a site of the cult of Tammuz...

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Bethphage in Wikipedia

Bethphage (meaning "House of Figs") was a place in ancient Israel, mentioned as the place from which Jesus sent the disciples to find a donkey and a colt with her upon which he would ride into Jerusalem. It is believed to have been located on the Mount of Olives, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho (Gospel of Matthew 21:1; Gospel of Mark 11:1; Gospel of Luke 19:29), and very close to Bethany. It was the limit of a Sabbath-day's journey from Jerusalem, that is, 2,000 cubits. There is the Franciscan Church of Bethphage at a likely location.

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Bethsaida in Wikipedia

Bethsaida (pronounced /ˌbɛθseɪˈiːdə/; Greek Βηθσαΐδά bēthsaidá;, from Hebrew/Aramaic בית צידה beth-tsaida "house of fishing") is a place mentioned in the New Testament. Bethsaida Julias A city east of the Jordan River, in a "desert place" (that is, uncultivated ground used for grazing) possibly the site at which Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:32; Luke 9:10). It may be possible to identify this site with the village of Bethsaida in Lower Gaulanitis which the tetrarch Herod Philip I raised to the rank of a polis in the year 30/31, and renamed it Julias, in honor of Livia, the wife of Augustus. It lay near the place where the Jordan enters the Sea of Gennesaret (Ant., XVIII, ii, 1; BJ, II, ix, 1; III, x, 7; Vita, 72). This city was most likely located at et-Tell, a ruined site on the east side of the Jordan on rising ground, 2 km from the sea. This distance poses a problem however. Why would a fishing village be so far from the water? During Biblical times the water level of the Sea of Galilee was higher and came up to the base of et-Tell. A combination of three hypothesises can explain this:- Tectonic rifting has uplifted et-Tell ( the site is located on the Great African-Syrian Rift fault) the water level has dropped from increased population usage, land irrigation, and the Jordan delta has been extended by sedimentation. Dissenters suggest two other sites as possible locations for Bethsaida: el-Araj and El-Mesydiah. Both of these sites are located on the present shoreline, however, preliminary excavations have revealed only a small number of ruins not dating from before the Byzantine Period. Schumacher is however inclined to favor el-Mes‛adīyeh (a ruin and winter village of Arab et-Tellawīyeh) which stands on an artificial mound about a mile and a half from the mouth of the Jordan. However, the name is in origin radically different from Bethsaida. The substitution of sin for cad is easy; but the insertion of the guttural ‛ain is impossible. No trace of the name Bethsaida has been found in the district; but any one of the sites named would meet the requirements. To this neighborhood Jesus retired by boat [1] with His disciples to rest a while. The multitude following on foot along the northern shore of the lake would cross the Jordan by the ford at its mouth which is used by foot travelers to this day. The "desert" of the narrative is just the barrīyeh of the Arabs where the animals are driven out for pasture. The "green grass" of Mark 6:39, and the "much grass" of John 6:10, point to some place in the plain of el-Baṭeiḥah, on the rich soil of which the grass is green and plentiful compared with the scanty herbage on the higher slopes. [edit]Bethsaida of Galilee Here dwelt Philip, Andrew, Peter (John 1:44; John 12:21), and perhaps also James and John. The house of Andrew and Peter seems to have been not far from the synagogue in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14; Mark 1:29, etc.). Unless they had moved their residence from Bethsaida to Capernaum, of which there is no record, and which for fishermen was unlikely, Bethsaida must have lain close to Capernaum. It may have been the fishing town adjoining the larger city. As in the case of the other Bethsaida, no name has been recovered to guide us to the site. On the rocky promontory, however, east of Khān Minyeh we find Sheikh ‛Aly eṣ-Ṣaiyādīn, "Sheikh Aly of the Fishermen," as the name of a ruined weley, in which the second element in the name Bethsaida is represented (see also Al Minya). Nearby is the site at ‛Ain et-Ṭābigha, which many have identified with Bethsaida of Galilee. The warm water from copious springs runs into a little bay of the sea in which fishes congregate in great numbers. This has therefore always been a favorite haunt of fishermen. If Capernaum were at Khān Minyeh, then the two lay close together. The names of many ancient places have been lost, and others have strayed from their original localities. The absence of any name resembling Bethsaida need not concern us. Bethsaida was the birth place of Saint Peter. [edit]Were there two Bethsaidas? Many scholars maintain that all the New Testament references to Bethsaida apply to one place, namely, Bethsaida Julias. The arguments for and against this view may be summarized as follows: Galilee ran right round the lake, including most of the level coastland on the east. Thus Gamala, on the eastern shore, was within the jurisdiction of Josephus, who commanded in Galilee (BJ, II, xx, 4). Judas of Gamala (Ant., XVIII, i, l) is also called Judas of Galilee (ibid., i, 6). If Gamala, far down the eastern shore of the sea, were in Galilee, a fortiori Bethsaida, a town which lay on the very edge of the Jordan, may be described as in Galilee. But Josephus makes it plain that Gamala, while added to his jurisdiction, was not in Galilee, but in Gaulanitis (BJ, II, xx, 6). Even if Judas were born in Gamala, and so might properly be called a Gaulanite, he may, like others, have come to be known as belonging to the province in which his active life was spent. "Jesus of Nazareth" was born in Bethlehem. Then Josephus explicitly says that Bethsaida was in Lower Gaulanitis (BJ, II, ix, 1). Further, Luke places the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the sea from Galilee (Luke 8:26) - antípera tḗs Galilaias ("over against Galilee"). To go to the other side - eis tó péran (Mark 6:45) - does not of necessity imply passing from the east to the west coast of the lake, since Josephus uses the verb diaperaióō of a passage from Tiberias to Tarichaeae (Vita, 59). But this involved a passage from a point on the west to a point on the south shore, "crossing over" two considerable bays; whereas if the boat started from any point in el-Baṭeiḥah, to which we seem to be limited by the "much grass," and by the definition of the district as belonging to Bethsaida, to sail to et-Tell, it was a matter of coasting not more than a couple of miles, with no bay to cross. No case can be cited where the phrase eis to peran certainly means anything else than "to the other side." Mark says that the boat started to go unto the other side to Bethsaida, while John, gives the direction "over the sea unto Capernaum" (Mark 6:17). The two towns were therefore practically in the same line. Now there is no question that Capernaum was on "the other side," nor is there any suggestion that the boat was driven out of its course; and it is quite obvious that, sailing toward Capernaum, whether at Tell Ḥūm or at Khān Minyeh, it would never reach Bethsaida Julius. The present writer is familiar with these waters in both storm and calm. If the boat was taken from any point in el- Baṭeiḥah towards et-Tell, no east wind would have distressed the rowers, protected as that part is by the mountains. Therefore it was no contrary wind that carried them toward Capernaum and the "land of Gennesaret." On the other hand, with a wind from the west, such as is often experienced, eight or nine hours might easily be occupied in covering the four or five miles (8 km) from el-Baṭeiḥah to the neighborhood of Capernaum. The words of Mark (Mark 6:45), it is suggested[1], have been too strictly interpreted: as the Gospel was written probably at Rome, its author being a native, not of Galilee, but of Jerusalem. Want of precision on topographical points, therefore, need not surprise us. But as we have seen above, the "want of precision" must also be attributed to the writer of John 6:17. The agreement of these two favors the strict interpretation. Further, if the Gospel of Mark embodies the recollections of Peter, it would be difficult to find a more reliable authority for topographical details connected with the sea on which his fisher life was spent. In support of the single-city theory it is further argued that Jesus withdrew to Bethsaida as being in the jurisdiction of Philip, when he heard of the murder of John the Baptist by Antipas, and would not have sought again the territories of the latter so soon after leaving them. Medieval works of travel notice only one Bethsaida. The east coast of the sea was definitely attached to Galilee in AD 84, and Ptolemy (circa 140) places Julius in Galilee. It is therefore significant that only the Fourth Gospel speaks of "Bethsaida of Galilee." There could hardly have been two Bethsaidas so close together. But: It is not said that Jesus came hither that he might leave the territory of Antipas for that of Philip; and in view of Mark 6:30, and Luke 9:10, the inference from Matthew 14:13 that he did so, is not warranted. The Bethsaida of medieval writers was evidently on the west of the Jordan River. If it lay on the east, it is inconceivable that none of them should have mentioned the river in this connection. If the 4th Gospel was not written until well into the 2nd century, then the apostle was not the author; but this is a very precarious assumption. John, writing after AD 84, would hardly have used the phrase "Bethsaida of Galilee" of a place only recently attached to that province, writing, as he was, at a distance from the scene, and recalling the former familiar conditions. In view of the frequent repetition of names in Palestine the nearness of the two Bethsaidas raises no difficulty. The abundance of fish at each place furnished a good reason for the recurrence of the name.

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Caesarea in Wikipedia

Caesarea (Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה‎; Arabic: قيسارية‎, Kaysaria; Greek: Καισάρεια) is a town in Israel on the outskirts of Caesarea Maritima, the ancient port city. It is located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa (45 km), on the Israeli Mediterranean coast near the city of Hadera. Modern Caesarea as of December 2007 has a population of 4,500 people,[1] and is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council. It lies under the jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council. History [edit]Early history Further information: Caesarea Maritima Caesarea is believed to have been built on the ruins of Stratonospyrgos (Straton's Tower), founded by Straton I of Sidon. and was likely an agricultural storehouse in its earliest configuration.[2] In 90 BCE, Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. Straton's Tower remained a Jewish city for two generations, until the Roman conquest of 63 BCE when the Romans declared it an autonomous city. The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod the Great, who renamed it Caesarea in honor of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep sea harbor and built storerooms, markets, wide roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings.[3] Every five years the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, and theatrical productions in its theatre overlooking the Mediterranian Sea. Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine period. In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non- Jewish.[4] The city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade. The area was only seriously farmed during the Rashidun Caliphate period, apparently until the Crusader conquest in the eleventh century.[4] Over time, the farms were buried under the sands shifting along the shores of the Mediterranean. In 1251, Louis IX fortified the city. The French king ordered the construction of high walls (parts of which are still standing) and a deep moat. However strong the walls were, they could not keep out the sultan Baybars, who ordered his troops to scale the walls in several places simultaneously, enabling them to penetrate the city. Further information: Qisarya Caesarea lay in ruins until the nineteenth century when the village of Qisarya (Arabic: قيسارية‎, the Arabic name for Caesarea) was established in 1884 by Muslim immigrants from Bosnia who built a small fishing village on the ruins of the Crusader fortress on the coast.[5][6] The kibbutz of Sdot Yam was established 1 km south in 1940. Many of Qisarya's inhabitants left before 1948, when a railway was built bypassing the port, ruining their livelihood. Qisarya had a population of 960 in 1945.[7] During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War part of the population fled for fear of attacks before it was conquered by Jewish forces in February, after which the remaining inhabitants were expelled and the village houses were demolished.[8] During the conquest of Qisarya a number of the Arab inhabittants were killed. According to a testimony collected from Battalion members obtained by Israeli historian Uri Milstein: "In February 1948, the 4th Batallion of Palmach, under the command of Josef Tabenkin, conquered Caesaria."...

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Cana in Wikipedia

In the Christian New Testament, the Gospel of John refers a number of times to a town called Cana of Galilee. The marriage at Cana Main article: Marriage at Cana Among Christians and other students of the New Testament, Cana is best known as the place where, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus performed his first public miracle, the turning of a large quantity of water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11 ) when the wine provided by the bridegroom had run out (see Jars of Cana). Although none of the synoptic gospels records the event, mainstream Christian tradition holds that this is the first public miracle of Jesus.[1] However in John's gospel it has considerable symbolic importance: it is the first of the seven miraculous "signs" by which Jesus's divine status is attested, and around which the gospel is structured. It is still a matter of discussion among theologians whether the story talks of an actual material transformation of water into wine, or is a spiritual allegory. Interpreted allegorically, the good news and hope implied by the story is in the words of the Governor of the Feast when he tasted the good wine, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10, NRSV). This could be interpreted by saying simply that it is always darkest before the dawn, but good things are on the way. The more usual interpretation, however, is that this is a reference to the appearance of Jesus, whom the author of the Fourth Gospel regards as being himself the good wine[2]. The story has had considerable importance in the development of Christian pastoral theology. The gospel account of Jesus being invited to a wedding, attending, and using his divine power to save the celebrations from disaster are taken as evidence of his approval for marriage and earthly celebrations, in contrast to the more austere views of Saint Paul as found, for example, in 1 Corinthians 7 [1] . It has also been used as an argument against Christian teetotalism[3]. Other references to Cana - The other biblical references to Cana are in John 4:46, which mentions Jesus is visiting Cana when he is asked to heal the son of a royal official at Capernaum; and John 21:2, where it is mentioned that the apostle Nathanael (usually identified with the Bartholomew included in the synoptic gospels' lists of apostles) comes from Cana. Cana of Galilee is not mentioned in any other book of the Bible, nor in any other contemporary source. Locating Cana - There has been much speculation about where Cana might have been. In his Gospel, the author makes no claim to have been at the wedding himself. Some Christians regard the story of the wedding at Cana as having more theological than historical or topographical significance, but most do not. Likewise, some (but not all) modern scholars hold that the Fourth Gospel was addressed to a group of Jewish Christians, and, very possibly, a group living in Judea. There are four villages in Galilee which are candidates for biblical Cana: Kafr Kanna, Israel; Kenet-el-Jalil, Israel; Ain Kana, Israel; and Qana, Lebanon. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1914, a tradition dating back to the 8th century identifies Cana with the modern Arab town of Kafr Kanna, about 7 km northeast of Nazareth, Israel. However more recent scholars have suggested alternatives, including the ruined village of Kenet-el-Jalil (also known as Khirbet Kana), about 9 km further north, and Ain Kana, which is closer to Nazareth and considered by some to be a better candidate on etymological grounds. The village of Qana, in southern Lebanon, is another candidate for the location. Many Lebanese, Christians and Muslims, believe the village to be the correct site. This is not a matter on which certainty is ever likely to be achieved.

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Capernaum in Wikipedia

Capernaum (pronounced /kəˈpɜrniəm/ kə-PUR-nee-əm; Hebrew: כְּפַר נַחוּם‎, Kfar Nahum, "Nahum's village") was a fishing village[1] inhabited from mid 2nd century BC to 11th century AD. It is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Gallilee[2] and had a population of about 1,500.[3] Recent excavations revealed that there were two synagogues in the village: the more recent was made of limestone and was built on top of the older, which was made of local black basalt. Only the foundation walls, some , and the cobblestone floor remain of the earlier structure. A church near Capernaum is said to be the home of Saint Peter. When Jesus left Nazareth he settled in Capernaum where he chose his first four disciples; James, John, Peter and Andrew. The town is cited in the Gospel of Luke where it was reported to have been the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew. In Matthew 4:13 the town was reported to have been the home of Jesus. According to Luke 4:31-44, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum on Sabbath. Jesus then healed a man who had the spirit of an unclean devil and healed a fever in Simon Peter's mother-in-law. According to Gospel of Luke /Luke 7: 1-10, it is also the place where a Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant. A building which may have been a synagogue of that period has been found beneath the remains of a later synagogue. Josephus referred to Capernaum as a fertile spring. He stayed the night there after spraining his ankle. During the first Jewish revolt of 66-70 Capernaum was spared as it was never occupied by the Romans. Etymology Although Kfar Nahum, the original name of the small town, means "Nahum's village" in Hebrew, apparently there is no connection with the prophet named Nahum. In the writings of Josephus, the name is rendered in Greek as "Kαφαρναουμ (Kapharnaum)". In Arabic, it is called Talhum, and it is assumed that this refers to the ruin (Tell) of Hum (perhaps an abbreviated form of Nahum) (Tzaferis, 1989). [edit]History Drawing upon literary sources and the results of the excavations, it has been possible to reconstruct a part of the town's history. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the town was established in the second century BC during the Hasmonean period. The site had no defensive wall and extended along the shore of the nearby lake (from east to west). The cemetery zone is found 200 meters north of the synagogue, which places it beyond the inhabited area of the town. It extended 3 kilometers to Tabgha, an area which appears to have been used for agricultural purposes, judging by the many oil and grain mills which were discovered in the excavation. Fishing was also a source of income; the remains of another harbor were found to the west of that built by the Franciscans. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus selected this town as the center of his public ministry in the Galilee after he left the small mountainous hamlet of Nazareth (Matthew 4:12-17). Capernaum has no obvious advantages over any other city in the area, so he probably chose it because it was the home of his first disciples, Simon (Peter) and Andrew. The Gospel of John suggests that Jesus' ministry was centered in a village called Cana. No sources have been found for the belief that Capernaum was involved in the bloody Jewish revolts against the Romans, the First Jewish-Roman War (AD 66–73) or Bar Kokhba's revolt (132–135), although there is reason to believe that Josephus, one of the Jewish generals during the earlier revolt, was taken to Capernaum (which he called "Kapharnakos") after a fall from his horse in nearby Bethsaida (Josephus, Vita, 72)...

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Carmel Caves in Wikipedia

Misliya Cave, southwest of Mt. Carmel, has been excavated by teams of anthropologists and archaeologists from the Archaeology Department of the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv University since 2001. In 2007, they unearthed artifacts indicative of what could be the earliest known Homo Sapiens. The teams uncovered hand-held stone tools and blades as well as animal bones, dating to 250,000 years ago, at the time of the Mousterian culture of Neanderthals in Europe. No human skeleton has yet been found.[19]

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Chorazin in Wikipedia

Chorazin (pronounced /koʊˈreɪzɪn/; Korazim Karraza, Kh. Karazeh, Chorizim, Kerazeh, Korazin) was a village in northern Galilee, two and a half miles from Capernaum on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Biblical references Chorazin, along with Bethsaida and Capernaum, was named in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke as "cities" (more likely just villages) in which Jesus performed "mighty works". However, because these towns rejected his work ("they had not changed their ways" -Matt11:20SV), they were subsequently cursed (Matthew 11:20-24 ; Luke 10:13-15 ). Biblical scholars who accept the two-source hypothesis state that this story originally came from the Q document. Despite this textual evidence, archaeologists have not yet been successful in finding a settlement dating to the 1st century. Due to the condemnation of Jesus, some early Medieval writers believed that the Antichrist would be born in Chorazin. The Babylonian Talmud (Menahot, 85a) mentions that Chorazin was a town known for its grain. In the 16th century, Jewish fishermen used to reside here. Archaeology - Korazim is now the site of a National Archaeological Park. Extensive excavations and a survey were carried out at in 1962-1964. Excavations at the site were resumed in 1980- 1987. The site is an excavated ruin today, but was inhabited starting in the 1st century. It is associated with modern day Kerazeh. The majority of the structures are made from black basalt, a volcanic rock found locally. The main settlement dates to the 3rd and 4th centuries. A mikvah, or ritual bath, was also found at the site. The handful of olive millstones used in olive oil extraction found suggest a reliance on the olive for economic purposes, like a number of other villages in ancient Galilee. The town's ruins are spread over an area of 25 acres (100,000 m2), subdivided into five separate quarters, with a synagogue in the centre. The large, impressive Synagogue which was built with black basalt stones and decorated with Jewish motifs is the most striking survival. Close by is a ritual bath, surrounded by public and residential buildings. Synagogue - Synagogue The 3rd century synagogue was destroyed in the 4th century and rebuilt in the 5th. [Citation needed] An unusual feature in an ancient synagogue is the presence of three-dimensional sculpture, a pair of stone lions.[1] A similar pair of three-dimensional lions was found in the synagogue at Kfar Bar'am.[2] Other carvings, which are thought to have originally been brightly painted, feature images of wine-making, animals, a Medusa, an armed soldier, and an eagle.[3]

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Dead Sea in Wikipedia

The Dead Sea Arabic البحر الميت al-Bahr al-Mayyit[3] (help·info), Hebrew: יָם הַ‏‏מֶּ‏‏לַ‏ח‎, Yām Ha-Melaḥ, "Sea of Salt"), also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east, and Israel to the west. Its surface and shores are 422 metres (1,385 ft) below sea level,[2] the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface on dry land. The Dead Sea is 378 m (1,240 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, with 33.7% salinity, though Lake Assal (Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond) have reported higher salinities. It is 8.6 times more salty than the ocean.[4] This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets. In 2009, 1.2 million foreign tourists visited on the Israeli side. The sea has a density of 1.24 kg/L, making swimming difficult. Etymology In Hebrew, the Dead Sea is Yām ha-Melaḥ (help·info), meaning "sea of salt" (Genesis 14,3). In prose sometimes the term Yām ha- Māvet (ים המוות, "sea of death") is used. In Arabic the Dead Sea is called al-Bahr al-Mayyit[3] (help·info) ("the Dead Sea"), or less commonly baḥrᵘ lūṭᵃ (بحر لوط, "the Sea of Lot"). Another historic name in Arabic was the "Sea of Zoʼar", after a nearby town in biblical times. The Greeks called it Lake Asphaltites (Attic Greek ἡ Θάλαττα ἀσφαλτῖτης, hē Thálatta asphaltĩtēs, "the Asphaltite[5] sea"). The Bible also refers to it as Yām ha-Mizraḥî (ים המזרחי, "the Eastern sea") and Yām ha-‘Ărāvâ (ים הערבה, "Sea of the Arabah") Geography The Dead Sea is an endorheic lake located in the Jordan Rift Valley, a geographic feature formed by the Dead Sea Transform (DST). This left lateral-moving transform fault lies along the tectonic plate boundary between the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It runs between the East Anatolian Fault zone in Turkey and the northern end of the Red Sea Rift offshore of the southern tip of Sinai. The Jordan River is the only major water source flowing into the Dead Sea, although there are small perennial springs under and around the Dead Sea, creating pools and quicksand pits along the edges.[6] There are no outlet streams. Rainfall is scarcely 100 mm (3.9 in) per year in the northern part of the Dead Sea and barely 50 mm (2.0 in) in the southern part. The Dead Sea zone's aridity is due to the rainshadow effect of the Judean Hills. The highlands east of the Dead Sea receive more rainfall than the Dead Sea itself. To the west of the Dead Sea, the Judean Hills rise less steeply and are much lower than the mountains to the east. Along the southwestern side of the lake is a 210 m (690 ft) tall halite formation called "Mount Sodom"...

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Dor in Wikipedia

Tel Dor (Kh. al-Burj or Tantura), is an archeological site located on Israel's Mediterranean coast, about 30 km south of Haifa. Lying on a small headland at the north side of a protected inlet, it is identified with D-jr of Egyptian sources, Biblical Dor, and with Dor/Dora of Greek and Roman sources.[1] The documented history of the site begins in the Late Bronze Age (though the town itself was founded in the Middle Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE), and ends in the Crusader period. The port dominated the fortunes of the town throughout its 3000-odd year history. Its primary role in all these diverse cultures was that of a commercial entrepot and a gateway between East and West. The remains of a successor town, the village of Tantura, lies a few hundred meters south of the archaeological site as does the modern kibbutz and resort of Nahsholim. History - Dor (Hebrew: דוֹר, meaning "generation", "habitation"), was known as Dora to the Greeks and Romans. Dor was successively ruled by Canaanites, Sea Peoples, Israelites, Phoenicians, Persians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans. Scholars who reconcile Bronze and Iron Age history in the Levant with biblical traditions write the following: Dor was an ancient royal city of the Canaanites, (Joshua 12:23) whose ruler was an ally of Jabin king of Hazor against Joshua, (Joshua 11:1,2). In the 12th century, the town appears to have been taken by the Tjekker, and was ruled by them at least as late as the early 11th century BCE. It appears to have been within the territory of the tribe of Asher, though allotted to Manasseh, (Joshua 17:11; Judges 1:27). It was one of Solomon's commissariat districts (Judges 1:27; 1 Kings 4:11). It has been placed in the ninth mile from Caesarea, on the way to Ptolemais. Just at the point indicated is the small village of Tantura, probably an Arab corruption of Dora.[2] Many scholars doubt the historical accuracy of biblical texts relevant to times prior to the 9th century BCE. They suggest that the biblical context for such places as early Dor is more mythology than history.[3] The city was known as Dor even before the Greeks arrived or had contact with the peoples in Israel. When the Greeks came to the city and learned its name to be Dor, they ascribed it the identity Dora, the Hellenization of the name. The "a" is merely the noun ending to the word. The God/cult of Dor, where the term Doric, as in the column, comes from, was ascribed to the city. Hence, in Hebrew, Dor, in Greek/Latin, Dora.[citation needed] In ca. 460 BCE, the Athenians formed an alliance with the Egyptian leader Inaros against the Persians.[4][5] In order to reach the Nile delta and support the Egytians, the Athenian fleet had to sail south. Athens had secure landing sites for their triremes as far south as Cyprus but they needed a way station between Cyprus and Egypt. They needed a naval base on the coast of Lebanon or Palestine but the Phoenician cities of Sidon and Tyre held much of the mainland coast and those cities were loyal to Persia. Fifty miles south of those cities, however, the Athenians found an isolated and tempting target for establishing a way station.[6] The Athenians seized Dor from Sidon. Dor had many strategic advantages for the Athenians, starting with its distance from Sidon. The Athenians had a maritime empire built on oared ships. They did not need large tracts of land and instead needed strategically situated coastal sites that had fresh water, provisions and protection from bad weather and enemy attack. Dor had an unfailing freshwater spring near the edge of the sea and to its south a lagoon and sandy beach enclosed by a chain of islets. This was precisely what the Athenian fleet needed for landing their ships and resting their crews. Dor itself ws strategically situated. It stood atop a rocky promonitory and was protected on its landward side by a marshy swale that formed a natural moat. Beyond the coastal lowlands was Mount Carmel. The town had Persian-built fortifications. In addition to this, the town had straight streets and Phoenician dye pits for the purpling of cloth. For these reasons, Dor became the most remote outpost of the Athenian navy. Today in Israel a moshav is named "Dor" after the old city, situated south of Tel Dor...

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Emmaus in Wikipedia

Emmaus (Greek: Ἐμμαούς, Latin: Emmaus, Hebrew: חמת‎ Hammat, meaning "warm spring", Arabic: عِمواس‎ Imwas) was an ancient town located approximately 7 miles (11 km) northwest of present day Jerusalem. According to some Christian scriptures, Jesus appeared before two of his followers in Emmaus after his resurrection.[1] Emmaus in the New Testament The author of the Gospel of Luke, at Luke 24:13-27 , writes that Jesus appeared to two disciples who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which is described as being 60 stadia from Jerusalem (10.4 to 12 km depending on what definition of stadia is in use), after his resurrection. One of the disciples is named as Cleopas in verse 18, while his companion remains unnamed. The author of Luke places the story on the evening of the day of Jesus' resurrection. The two disciples have heard the tomb of Jesus was found empty earlier that day. They are discussing the events of the past few days when a stranger asks them what they are discussing. "Their eyes were kept from recognizing him." He soon rebukes them for their unbelief and gives them a Bible study on prophecies about the Messiah. On reaching Emmaus, they ask the stranger to join them for the evening meal. When he breaks the bread "their eyes were opened" and they recognize him as the resurrected Jesus. Jesus immediately vanishes. Cleopas and his friend then hasten back to Jerusalem to carry the news to the other disciples, and arrive in time to proclaim to the eleven who were gathered together with others that Jesus truly is alive. While describing the events, Jesus appeared again to all who were there, giving them a commission to evangelize. Then he took them out as far as Bethany and blessed them before ascending back into heaven. A similar event is mentioned in the longer ending of Mark, but this is believed to be a late addition derived from the gospel of Luke[2] and the incident is not mentioned in the gospels of Matthew and John. References in other sources - According to 1 Maccabees 3:55-4:22, around 166 BC Judas Maccabeaus fought against the Seleucids in the region of Emmaus, and was victorious at the Battle of Emmaus; later, the town was fortified by Bacchides, a Seleucid general (1 Macc 9:50). When Rome took over the land it became a toparchy, and was burnt by order of Varus after the death of Herod in 4 BC. During the First Jewish Revolt, before the siege of Jerusalem, Vespasian’s 5th legion was deployed there while the 10th legion was in Jericho. The town was renamed Nicopolis in 221 AD by Emperor Elagabalus, who conferred the title of "city" following the request of a delegation from Emmaus. The Plague of Emmaus in 639 AD is claimed to have caused up to 25,000 deaths in the town. Historical identification - Many sites have been suggested for the biblical Emmaus, among them Emmaus Nicopolis (ca. 160 stadia from Jerusalem), Kiryat Anavim (66 stadia from Jerusalem on the carriage road to Jaffa), Coloniya (36 stadia on the carriage road to Jaffa), el-Kubeibeh (63 stadia, on the Roman road to Lydda), Artas (60 stadia from Jerusalem) and Khurbet al-Khamasa (86 stadia on the Roman road to Eleutheropolis). The oldest identification that is currently known is Emmaus Nicopolis. Emmaus-Nicopolis/Imwas - The first modern site identification of Emmaus was by the explorer Edward Robinson, who equated it with the Palestinian Arab village of Imwas. Before its destruction in 1967, the village of Imwas was located at the end of the Ayalon Valley, on the border of the hill country of Judah, at 153 stadia (18.6 miles) from Jerusalem via the Kiryat Yearim Ridge Route, 161 stadia (19.6 miles) via the Beth-Horon Ridge Route and 1,600 feet (490 m) lower by elevation. Eusebius was probably the first to mention Nicopolis as biblical Emmaus in his Onomasticon. Jerome, who translated Eusebius’ book, implied in his letter 108 that there was a church in Nicopolis built in the house of Cleopas where Jesus broke bread on that late journey. From the 4th century on, the site was commonly identified as the biblical Emmaus. Archaeologically, many remains have been excavated at the site of the former Palestinian village, now located inside Canada Park, which support historical and traditional claims. Five structures were found and dated, including a Christian basilica from the 3rd century, another basilica from the 6th century and a 12th century Crusader church.[3] Emmaus Nicopolis is a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.[4] Al-Qubeibeh/Castellum Emmaus/Chubebe/Qubaibat - Another possibility is the village of al-Qubeibeh, west of Nebi Samwil on the Beit Horon road northwest of Jerusalem. The town, meaning "little domes" in Arabic, is located at about 65 stadia from Jerusalem. A Roman fort subsequently named Castellum Emmaus (from the Latin root castra, meaning encampment) was discovered at the site in 1099 by the Crusaders. In the 12th century, the Crusaders of the Kingdom of Jerusalem called the site "Small Mahomeria," in order to distinguish it from "Large Mahomeria" near Ramallah. Sounding similar to "Mahommed," the term was used in medieval times to describe a place inhabited or used for prayer by Muslims. It was referred to as Qubaibat for the first time at the end of that same century by the writer Abu Shama, who writes in his Book of Two Gardens about a Muslim prince falling into the hands of the Crusaders at this spot. The Franciscans built a church here in 1902, on the ruins of a Crusader basilica. Excavations in 1943 revealed artifacts from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Abu-Ghosh/Kiryat Anavim - Abu Ghosh is located in the middle of the Kiryat Yearim Ridge Route between Nicopolis and Jerusalem, nine miles (83 stadia) from the capital. A convent of Minorites with a Gothic church in Abu Ghosh was turned into a stable. Robinson dated it to the Crusader period and declared it "more perfectly preserved than any other ancient church in Palestine." Excavations carried out in 1944 corresponded with Crusader identification of the site as Emmaus. For more details on this topic, see Abu Gosh. Emmaus/Colonia/Motza/Ammassa/Ammaous/Beit Mizzeh - Colonia, between Abu Ghosh and Jerusalem on the Kiryat Yearim Ridge Route is another possibility. At a distance of 35 stadia (four miles) from Jerusalem, it was referred to as Motza in the Old Testament, the Talmud and the writings of Josephus Flavius. One mile to the north is a ruin called Beit Mizzeh, identified as the biblical Motza. Listed among the Benjamite cities of Joshua 18:26, it was referred to in the Talmud as a place where people would come to cut young willow-branches as a part of the celebration of Sukkot (Mishnah, Sukkah 4.5: 178). According to Josephus,[5] Amassa (ancient Latin manuscripts) or Ammaous (medieval Greek manuscripts) was about 3.5 Roman miles (30 stadia) or 7 miles (60 stadia) from Jerusalem. A group of 800 soldiers settled here after the First Jewish Revolt. It is believed that the Latin Amassa and the Greek Ammaous are derived from the Hebrew name Motza.[citation needed] Motza was identified as the biblical Emmaus by Birch, and later Savi. Symbolic identification - One of the oldest extant versions of the Gospel of Luke, preserved in the Codex Bezae, reads "Oulammaus" instead of Emmaus. In Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament scriptures, Oulammaus was the place where Jacob was visited by God in his dream, while sleeping on a rock.[6] However, Oulammaus was not a real place name at all, but created only by an unfortunate translation mistake. The original name in Hebrew was "Luz". This mistake has long been corrected, but it was still there at the time when the Gospel was written around 100 AD. Thus, a theory has been put forward,[7] that the story in the Gospel was merely symbolic, wanting to draw a parallel between Jacob being visited by God and the disciples being visited by Jesus. This symbolic significance, however, would not preclude the account being historically accurate. To be noted also is that Jacob was sleeping on a rock and Jesus' main disciple Simon Peter was called by the name of rock (Petros).

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En Avdat in Wikipedia

Ein Avdat (Hebrew: עין עבדת‎) or Ein Ovdat is a canyon in the Negev Desert of Israel, south of the kibbutz Sde Boker. It has always been an attractive place for habitation due to its luxuriant fauna and flora in the middle of the desert. Consequently, the canyon and its surroundings have been inhabited for some 80,000–90,000 years by many peoples such as Neanderthals, Nabateans, and Christian monks. The canyon also attracts numerous species of animals, like Ibexes and various birds, to its fertile vegetation. The flourishing environment is caused by the water of numerous springs that begins at the southern opening of the canyon, and descends into deep pools in series of waterfalls. The springs in Ein Avdat emerge from between layers of rocks, although the source is still not known definitely. Around the springs grows salt-loving plants like Poplar trees and Atriplexes. Etymology - Ein (Hebrew: עין‎) is the Hebrew word for spring or water source, referring to the various springs located in the canyon, while the word Avdat (Hebrew: עבדת‎) derives from the neighbouring city of Avdat situated south of the canyon.[1] The city of Avdat is named after the Nabataean King Obodas I that according to tradition was buried there. His name was then arabized to Abdah (Arabic: عبدا‎) and finally hebraicized to Avdat. Thus Ein Avdat is the Spring of Obodas.[2] History - Prehistoric era - During the prehistoric era, Ein Avdat and its surroundings were for thousands of years inhabited, implied by the numerous flint artefacts that have been found in the area. The tools belonged to the Neanderthalic Mousterian culture which was active in the area 80,000–90,000 years ago. The abundance of flint in the outcrops nearby were apparently utilized by Neanderthals for many types of tools such as arrows, points and others. The ostrich egg shells and onager bones that have been found helps to describe the fauna of the epoch. In the area there is also a large concentration of flint tool remnants, samples of man-made knives and other hand held stones that is dating from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, and remains of a small settlement consisting of several round structures dating from the Bronze Age.[3] Antiquity - During the Hellenistic period the nearby city of Avdat became a station along the Nabatean Incense Route, an ancient trading route stretching across Egypt to India through the Arabian Peninsula. Other regions in the Negev were not inhabited and there was no agriculture at the time. However, agriculture developed during the early Roman era when the Nabataean kingdom peaked. At this time the forts of the Incense Route became thriving cities with many public buildings along with farming at the outskirts, and although the kingdom was annexed by the Roman empire in 106 CE, Avdat continued to prosper as a major station along the Incense Route.[3][4] The city developed into a Christian city during the Byzantine period and Ein Avdat became inhabited by monks who lived in the caves of the canyon. These monks sculpted out closets, shelves, benches, stairs, and water systems. The caves are also decorated with crosses and prayers engraved on the walls.[3][5] After the Muslim conquest of Palestine though the region was abandoned.[3]

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En Gedi in Wikipedia

Ein Gedi (Hebrew: עֵין גֶּדִי‎ is an oasis in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the caves of Qumran. The name En-gedi is composed of two Hebrew words: ein means spring and gdi means goat-kid. En Gedi thus means "Kid spring." History Shulamit Fall at Nahal David [edit]Biblical era In the 2 Chronicles 20:2 it is identified with Hazazon- tamar, where the Moabites and Ammonites gathered in order to fight Josaphat. In Genesis 14:7 Hazazon-tamar is mentioned as being a Amorite city, smitten by Chedorlaomer in his war against the cities of the plain, . In Joshua 15:62 , Ein Gedi is enumerated among the cities of the Tribe of Judah in the desert Betharaba, but Ezekiel 47:10 shows that it was also a fisherman's town. Later, King David hides in the desert of En Gedi (1 Samuel 24:1-2 ) and King Saul seeks him "even upon the most craggy rocks, which are accessible only to wild goats" (1 Samuel 24:3 ). The Song of Songs (Song_of_Songs 1:14 ) speaks of the "vineyards of En Gedi"; the words, "I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades" (’en aígialoîs), which occur in Ecclesiasticus 24:18, may perhaps be understood of the palm trees of Ein Gedi. The indigenous Jewish town of Ein Gedi was an important source of balsam for the Greco-Roman world until its destruction by Byzantine emperor Justinian as part of his persecution of the Jews in his realm. A synagogue mosaic remains from Ein Gedi's heyday, including a Judeo-Aramaic inscription warning inhabitants against "revealing the town's secret" – possibly the methods for extraction and preparation of the much-prized balsam resin, though not stated outright in the inscription – to the outside world...

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En Hemed in Wikipedia

Ein Hemed is a national park and nature reserve in the hills seven kilometers west of Jerusalem, Israel. It is also known by its Latin name Aqua Bella. The park is located on the path of an old Roman road, also used in later periods, called Emmaus by the Crusaders. The road connected the coastal plain with the Jerusalem hills. History Vaulted hall The Kingdom of Jerusalem build fortresses along the road to Jerusalem in order to control the traffic to Jerusalem, and protect pilgrims visiting the Holy City. Farms were built using the spring water for irrigation. Impressive ruins of a 30x40 meter Crusader structure, whose southern wall survives to a height of 12 meters, are located on the north site of the riverbed. The building has several gates and two arched halls. The building was known in Arabic as Deir al Benat (Monastery of the Daughters). Archeological investigations indicate that it was built in 1140-1160, during the reign of Fulk of Jerusalem, in the same period as the fortresses on Tzova and Emmaus. South of the building are a nature reserve and a Muslim cemetery...

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Eshtemoa in Wikipedia

Eshtemoa, meaning obedience, is a name found in the Bible. A son of Ishbah or maybe a town inhabited by Ishbah's descendants. (1. Ch. 4:17) A descendent of Bithiah princess of Egypt and Mered (1. Ch. 4:18). A town in the mountains of Judah, which was allotted, with the land round it, to the priests. (Jos 15:50) It is identified with As-Samu, a village about 3½ miles east of Socoh, and about 9 miles south of Hebron, around which there are ancient remains of the ruined city. It was one of the places frequented by David as a fugitive. (1 Sa 30: 26-28) Mitzpe Eshtemoa, Israeli outpost in the Southern West Bank. Ancient synagogue (Eshtemoa)

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Essenes in Wikipedia

The Essenes (Hebrew: אִסִּיִים, Isiyim; Greek: Εσσηνοι, Εσσαίοι, or Οσσαιοι; Essēnoi, Essaioi, Ossaioi) were a Jewish religious group that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE that some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests.[1] Being much fewer in number than the Pharisees and the Sadducees (the other two major sects at the time) the Essenes lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to asceticism, voluntary poverty, daily baptisms, and abstinence from worldly pleasures, including marriage. Many separate but related religious groups of that era shared similar mystic, eschatological, messianic, and ascetic beliefs. These groups are collectively referred to by various scholars as the "Essenes." Josephus records that Essenes existed in large numbers, and thousands lived throughout Judæa. The Essenes believed they were the last generation of the last generations and anticipated Teacher of Righteousness, Aaronic High Priest,[citation needed] and High Guard Messiah, [citation needed] similar to the Prophet, Priest and King expectations of the Pharisees. The Essenes have gained fame in modern times as a result of the discovery of an extensive group of religious documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, commonly believed to be their library. These documents include preserved multiple copies of the Hebrew Bible untouched from as early as 300 BCE until their discovery in 1946. Some scholars, however, dispute the notion that the Essenes wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.[2] One scholar, Rachel Elior, even argues that the group never existed.[3][4][5] Contemporary ancient sources The next reference is by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder (died c. 79 A.D.) in his Natural History (N'H,V,XV). Pliny relates in a few lines that the Essenes do not marry, possess no money, and had existed for thousands of generations. Unlike Philo, who did not mention any particular geographical location of the Essenes other than the whole land of Israel, Pliny places them in Ein Gedi, next to the Dead Sea. A little later Josephus gave a detailed account of the Essenes in The Jewish War (c. 75 A.D.) with a shorter description in Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94 A.D.) and The Life of Flavius Josephus (c. 97 A.D.). Claiming first hand knowledge, he lists the Essenoi as one of the three sects of Jewish philosophy[6] alongside the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He relates the same information concerning piety, celibacy, the absence of personal property and of money, the belief in communality and commitment to a strict observance of the Sabbath. He further adds that the Essenes ritually immersed in water every morning, ate together after prayer, devoted themselves to charity and benevolence, forbade the expression of anger, studied the books of the elders, preserved secrets, and were very mindful of the names of the angels kept in their sacred writings. Pliny, also a geographer and explorer, located them in the desert near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the year 1947 by Muhammed edh-Dhib and Ahmed Mohammed, two Bedouin shepherds of the Ta'amireh tribe.[7] Name - Josephus uses the name Essenes in his two main accounts[8][9] as well as in some other contexts ("an account of the Essenes";[10] "the gate of the Essenes";[11] "Judas of the Essene race";[12] but some manuscripts read here Essaion; "holding the Essenes in honour";[13] "a certain Essene named Manaemus";[14] "to hold all Essenes in honour";[15] "the Essenes").[16][17][18] In several places, however, Josephus has Essaios, which is usually assumed to mean Essene ("Judas of the Essaios race";[19] "Simon of the Essaios race";[20] "John the Essaios";[21] "those who are called by us Essaioi";[22] "Simon a man of the Essaios race").[23] Philo's usage is Essaioi, although he admits this Greek form of the original name that according to his etymology signifies "holiness" to be inexact.[24] Pliny's Latin text has Esseni.[25] Josephus identified the Essenes as one of the three major Jewish sects of that period.[26] Gabriele Boccaccini implies that a convincing etymology for the name Essene has not been found, but that the term applies to a larger group within Palestine that also included the Qumran community.[27] It was proposed before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered that the name came into several Greek spellings from a Hebrew self- designation later found in some Dead Sea Scrolls, 'osey hatorah, "observers of torah."[28] Though dozens of etymology suggestions have been published, this is the only etymology published before 1947 that was confirmed by Qumran text self-designation references, and it is gaining acceptance among scholars.[29] It's recognized as the etymology of the form Ossaioi (and note that Philo also offered an O spelling) and Essaioi and Esseni spelling variations have been discussed by VanderKam, Goranson and others. In medieval Hebrew (e.g. Sefer Yosippon) Hassidim ("the pious ones") replaces "Essenes". While this Hebrew name is not the etymology of Essaioi/Esseni, the Aramaic equivalent Hesi'im known from Eastern Aramaic texts has been suggested.[30] Location - Remains of part of the main building at Qumran. According to Josephus, the Essenes had settled "not in one city" but "in large numbers in every town".[31] Philo speaks of "more than four thousand" Essaioi living in "Palestine and Syria",[32] more precisely, "in many cities of Judaea and in many villages and grouped in great societies of many members".[33] Pliny locates them "on the west side of the Dead Sea, away from the coast… [above] the town of Engeda".[25] Some modern scholars and archaeologists have argued that Essenes inhabited the settlement at Qumran, a plateau in the Judean Desert along the Dead Sea, citing Pliny the Elder in support, and giving credence that the Dead Sea Scrolls are the product of the Essenes. This view, though not yet conclusively proven, has come to dominate the scholarly discussion and public perception of the Essenes.[34] Josephus' reference to a "gate of the Essenes" in his description of the course of "the most ancient" of the three walls of Jerusalem,[11] in the Mount Zion area,[35] perhaps suggests an Essene community living in this quarter of the city or regularly gathering at this part of the Temple precincts...

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Galilee Boat in Wikipedia

The Sea of Galilee Boat also known as the Jesus Boat was an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century CE (the time of Jesus Christ), discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The remains of the boat, 27 feet (8.27 meters) long, 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet (1.3 meters),[1] first appeared during a drought, when the waters of the Sea (actually a great fresh-water lake) receded.[2] Discovery and excavation The remains of the boat were found by brothers Moshe and Yuval Lufan, fishermen from Kibbutz Ginnosar. The brothers were keen amateur archaeologists with an interest in discovering artifacts from Israel's past. It had always been their hope to one day discover a boat in the Sea of Galilee, where they and generations of their family had fished. When drought reduced the water-level of the lake, the two brothers examined the newly exposed beach and stumbled across the remains of the boat buried in the shore.[3] The brothers reported their discovery to the authorities who sent out a team of archaeologists to investigate. Realising that the remains of the boat were of tremendous historical importance to Jews and Christians alike, a secret archaeological dig followed, undertaken by members of Kibbutz Ginosar, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and numerous volunteers. Rumour spread that the boat was full of gold and the dig had to be guarded night and day. Excavating the boat from the mud without damaging it, quickly enough to extract it before the water rose again, was a difficult process which lasted 12 days and nights. The boat was then submerged in a chemical bath for 7 years before it could be displayed at the Yigal Allon Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar.[4] Physical Parameters - The boat's construction conforms to other boats constructed in that part of the Mediterranean during the period between 100 BC and 200 AD.[1] Constructed primarily of ceder planks joined together by Pegged mortise-and-tenon joints and nails,[1] the boat is shallow drafted with a flat bottom, allowing it to get very close to the shore while fishing.[2] However, the boat is composed of ten different wood types, suggesting either a wood shortage or that the boat was made of scrap wood and had undergone extensive and repeated repairs.[1][2] The boat was row-able, with four staggered rowers and also had a mast allowing the fisherman to sail the boat.[2] Dating the boat - The boat has been dated to 40 BCE (plus or minus 80 years) based on radiocarbon dating,[2] and 50 BCE to 50 CE based on pottery (including a cooking pot and lamp) and nails found in the boat, as well as hull construction techniques.[1] The evidence of repeated repairs shows the boat was used for several decades, perhaps nearly a century. When its fishermen owners thought it was beyond repair, they removed all useful wooden parts and the hull eventually sank to the bottom of the lake.[3] There it was covered with mud which prevented bacterial decomposition.[2] Historical importance - The Sea of Galilee Boat is historically important to Jews as an example of the type of boat used by their ancestors in the 1st century for both fishing and transportation across the lake. Previously only references made by Roman authors, the Bible and mosaics had provided archeologists insight into the construction of these types of vessels.[5] The boat is also important to Christians because this was the sort of boat used by Jesus and his disciples, several of whom were fishermen. Boats such as this played a large role in Jesus' life and ministry, and are mentioned 50 times in the Gospels, though there is no evidence connecting the Sea of Galilee Boat itself to Jesus or his disciples.

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Gamla in Wikipedia

Gamla was an ancient Jewish city in the Golan Heights. Inhabited since the Early Bronze Age, it is believed to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars.[1] The site of a Roman siege during the Great Revolt of the 1st century CE, Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern state of Israel and an important historical and archaeological site.[2] It currently resides within the Gamla nature reserve and is a prominent tourist attraction. History Situated at the southern part of the Golan, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Gamla was built on a steep hill shaped like a camel's hump, from which it derives its name (Gamla meaning 'camel' in Aramaic). The city appears to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars (3rd century BC)[1] which later became a civilian settlement. Jews inhabited it from the last quarter of the 2nd century BC, and it was annexed to the Hasmonean state under king Alexander Jannaeus in c. 81 BC.[3] Josephus Flavius, Commander of Galilee during the Jewish Revolt against Rome and in 66 AD, fortified Gamla as his main stronghold on the Golan.[4] Josephus gives a very detailed topographical description of the city, where the steep ravines precluded the need to build a wall around the city. Only along the northern saddle, at the town's eastern extremity, was a 350 meters-long wall built. It was constructed by blocking gaps between existing houses and destroying houses that lay in its way.[5][6] Initially loyal to the Romans, Gamla turned rebellious under the influence of refugees from other locations.[2] It was one of only five cities in the Galilee and Golan who stood against Vespasian's legions, reflecting the cooperation between the local population and the rebels.[7] At the time of the revolt, the town minted its own coins, probably more as a means of propaganda than as currency. Bearing the inscription "For the redemption of Jerusalem the H(oly)" in a mixture of paleo- Hebrew (biblical) and Aramaic, only 6 of these coins have ever been found.[2] Josephus also provides a detailed description of the Roman siege and conquest of Gamla in 67 AD by components of legions X Fretensis, XV Apollinaris and XV Macedonica.[8] The Romans first attempted to take the city by means of a siege ramp, but were repulsed by the defenders. Only on the second attempt did the Romans succeed in breaching the walls at three different locations and invading the city. They then engaged the Jewish defenders in hand-to-hand combat up the steep hill. Fighting in the cramped streets from an inferior position, the Roman soldiers attmpted to defend themselves from the roofs. These subsequently collapsed under the heavy weight, killing many soldiers[5] and forcing a Roman retreat. The legionnaires re- entered the town a few days later, eventually beating Jewish resistance and completing the capture of Gamla.[9] According to Josephus, some 4,000 inhabitants were slaughtered, while 5,000, trying to escape down the steep northern slope, were either trampled to death, fell or perhaps threw themselves down a ravine.[8] These appear to be exaggerated and the number of inhabitants on the eve of the revolt has been estimated at 3,000 - 4,000.[10] The notion that these inhabitants committed mass suicide has also been questioned, as the account appears to force an analogy with the story of the end of the siege of Masada, also recounted by Josephus. The Greek word Josephus used implies a hasty, clumsy flight while suicide is forbidden under most circumstances by Jewish law. Excavations Abandoned after its destruction, Gamla was identified in 1889 by Konrad Furrer with the site of Tel ed-Dra', in the Rukkad river-bed.[2] It was only properly identified in 1968 by surveyor Itzhaki Gal, after the Israeli conquest of the Golan Heights during the Six Day War.[11] It was excavated by Shemaryahu Gutmann and Danny Sion on behalf of the Israeli Department of Antiquities between 1978 and 2000. The excavations have uncovered 7.5 dunnams, about 5% of the site, revealing a typical Jewish city featuring ritual baths, Herodian lamps, limestone cups and thousands of Hasmonean coins.[2] The Gamla excavations also revealed widespread evidence for the battle that took place at the site. About 100 catapult bolts have been uncovered, as well as 1,600 arrowheads and 2,000 ballista stones, the latter all made from local basalt. This is a quantity unsurpassed anywhere in the Roman Empire.[2] Most were colleced along and in close proximity to the wall, placing the heavy fighting in the vicinity and the Roman siegecraft to the north east of the town. Next to a heavy concentration of the stones, the excavators have identified a man-made breach in wall, probably made by a battering ram.[5] [2] About 200 artifacts excavated at Gamla have been identified as the remains of Roman army equipment. These include parts of Roman lorica segmentata, an officer's helmet visor and cheek-guard, bronze scales of another type of armor, as well as Roman identification tags.[5][2] A Roman siege-hook, used both for stabbing and hooking onto the wall, was found in the breach.[2] Only one human jawbone was identified during the exploration of Gamla, raising questions regarding the absence of human remains despite the widepsread evidence of a battle. A tentative answer is discussed by archaeologist Danny Syon, who suggests that the dead would have been buried at nearby mass graves that are yet to be found. One such mass grave has been found at Yodfat, which had suffered the same fate as Gamla at the hands of Vespasian's legions.[2] Artifacts from Gamla are on the display at the Golan Archaeological Museum, including arrowheads, ballista stones, clay oil lamps and coins minted in the town during the siege. A scale model and film are used to describe the conquest and destruction of the Jewish town and all of its inhabitants. Synagogue Inside the city walls stood a large synagogue, built of dressed stone with pillared aisles. Measuring 22 * 17 meters, its main hall is surrounded by a Doric colonnade and is entered by twin doors at the south west. Its corner columns are heart- shaped,[6] and a public ritual bath was unearthed next to it.[10] On the eve of Gamla's destruction the synagogue appears to have been converted to a dwelling for refugees, as testified by a number of meager fireplaces and large quantities of cookpots and storage jars found along its northern wall. Situated next to the city wall, 157 ballista stones were collected from the synagogue's hall alone and 120 arrowhead from its vicinity.[2] The synagogue is thought to date from the late first century BC and is among the oldest synagogues in the world.[10][12] Present-day Gamla Today Gamla is an archaeological site and a nature reserve. It is also home to a large nesting population of Griffon vultures. The nature reserve also contains some 700 Neolithic Dolmens,[13] several of which can be viewed from the entry road.

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Gethsemane in Wikipedia

Gethsemane (Greek ΓεΘσημανἰ, Gethsēmani Hebrew:גת שמנים, Aramaic:גת שמני, Gath-Šmânê, Assyrian ܓܕܣܡܢ, Gat Šmānê, lit. "oil press") is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem most famous as the place where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before Jesus' crucifixion. Etymology Gethsemane appears in the Greek of the Gospel of Matthew[1] and the Gospel of Mark[2] as Γεθσημανἱ (Gethsēmani). The name is derived from the Assyrian ܓܕܣܡܢ (Gaṯ-Šmānê), meaning "oil press".[3] Matthew (26:36)and Mark (14:32) call it χωρἰον (18:1), a place or estate. The Gospel of John says Jesus entered a garden (κῆπος) with his disciples.[4] Location While tradition locates Gethsemane on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, the exact spot remains unknown. According to the New Testament it was a place that Jesus and his disciples customarily visited, which allowed Judas to find him on the night of his arrest.[5] Overlooking the garden is the Church of All Nations, also known as the Church of the Agony, built on the site of a church destroyed by the Sassanids in 614, and a Crusader church destroyed in 1219. Nearby is the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene with its golden, onion-shaped domes (Byzantine/Russian style), built by Russian Tsar Alexander III in memory of his mother. Pilgrimage site According to Luke 22:43–44 , Jesus' anguish in Gethsemane was so deep that "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." According to the Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, Gethsemane is the garden where the Virgin Mary was buried and was assumed into heaven after her dormition on Mount Zion. The Garden of Gethsemane became a focal site for early Christian pilgrims. It was visited in 333 by the anonymous "Pilgrim of Bordeaux", whose Itinerarium Burdigalense is the earliest description left by a Christian traveler in the Holy Land. In his Onomasticon, Eusebius of Caesarea notes the site of Gethsemane located "at the foot of the Mount of Olives", and he adds that "the faithful were accustomed to go there to pray". Ancient olive trees growing in the garden are said to be 900 years old.[6]

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Gezer in Wikipedia

Gezer (Hebrew: גֶּזֶר‎) was a town in ancient Israel. Scholars believe that Gezer is Tel Gezer (also known as Tell el-Jezer or Abu Shusheh), a site around midway on the route between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Today the site is a national park in modern Israel. Location - Gezer was located on the northern fringe of the Shephelah, approximately thirty kilometres west of Jerusalem. It was strategically situated at the junction of the international coastal highway and the highway connecting it with Jerusalem through the valley of Ajalon. The view from Gezer encompassed the whole Coastal Plain below it, making it a strategic military center. Verification of the identification of this site with Biblical Gezer comes from Hebrew inscriptions found engraved on rocks, several hundred meters from the tel. These inscriptions from the 1st century BCE read "boundary of Gezer." History - Gezer is mentioned in Egyptian records, such as the writings of Thutmose III as well as the letters of Amarna, the Amarna Letters; and Pharaoh Merneptah boasted that he "seized Gezer". Amarna letters Gezer-(named Gazru, not Gaza, named Hazzatu) was ruled by 4 'mayors' during the 20 year Amarna letters period, 1350 BC. Later, Gezer is mentioned in connection with the conquest of the land under the leadership of Joshua (Joshua 10:33, 12:12), and was home to the Levites. It was noted to be under Philistine rule as David is said to have broken their rulership "from Geba to as far as to Gezer". It was the last point to which he pursued the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:25; 1 Chr. 14:16) after the battle of Baal-perazim. Later the Bible claims that Pharaoh of Egypt destroyed it (see Sack of Gezer) and gave it as a dowry to Solomon's wife. In 1177 AD, the plains around Gezer were the site of the Battle of Montgisard, in which the Crusaders under Baldwin IV defeated the forces of Saladin. Archaeological excavation at Gezer has been going on since the early 1900s, and it has become one of the most excavated sites in Israel. In the modern era, the site was discovered by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau in 1871. R. A. Stewart Macalister dug in the site between 1902 and 1907 on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund. Macalister recovered several artifacts discovered several constructions and defenses. He also established Gezer's habitation strata, though they were later found to be mostly incorrect (as well as many of his theories). Other notable archælogical expeditions to the site were made by Alan Rowe (1934), G.E. Wright (1964-5, at the head of the Hebrew Union College expedition), William Dever, Yigael Yadin, as well as the Andrews University. Discoveries - One of the best-known findings is the Gezer calendar. This is a plaque containing a text appearing to be either a schoolboy's memory exercises, or something designated for the collection of taxes from farmers. Another possibility is that the text was a popular folk song, or child's song, listing the months of the year according to the agricultural seasons. It has proved to be of value by informing modern researchers of ancient Middle Eastern script and language, as well as the agricultural seasons. Other interesting discoveries at the site related to Biblical archaeology: 8 monumental megaliths identified by Macalister as a Canaanite "high place" A double cave beneath the high place, probably used for divinatory purposes 9 inscribed boundary stones, making it the first positively identified Biblical city 6-chambered gate similar to those found at Hazor and Megiddo A large water-system comprising a tunnel going down to a spring, similar to that found in Jerusalem The excavations at Gezer from 1964-1974 were the first to grant academic/college credit to student excavators (now a common practice). Excavations were renewed in June 2006 by a consortium of institutions under the direction of Steve Ortiz (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Sam Wolff (Israel Antiquities Authority). The Tel Gezer Excavation and Publication Project is a multi-disciplinary field project investigating the Iron Age history of the ancient biblical city of Tel Gezer.

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Golan in Wikipedia

Golan or Gaulonitis (Hebrew: גּולן, gōlān‎; Arabic: الجولان, Jawlān‎, Greek: Γαυλανῖτις, Gaulanítis) is an ancient city in the biblical Land of Israel. It was in the territory of Manasseh in the area of Bashan, and it was the most northerly of the three cities of refuge east of the Jordan River (Deuteronomy 4:43). Manasseh gave this city to the Gershonite Levites (Joshua 21:27). It must have been a great and important city in its day, but the site cannot now be determined with any certainty. Historical accounts - According to the Bible, the Israelites invaded Golan and conquered it from the Amorites. Dt 3:1 : "Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei." Dt 3:2 : "The LORD said to me, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon." Dt 3:3 : "So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors." Dt 3:4 : "At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them-the whole region of Argob, Og's kingdom in Bashan." Dt 3:5 :"All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages." Dt 3:6 : "We completely destroyed [a] them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying [b] every city-men, women and children." Dt 3:7 : "But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves." The city was known to Josephus (Ant. 13, 15, 3). Near Golan, Alexander Jannaeus was ambushed by Obodas, king of the Arabians, and his army. Crowded together in a narrow and deep valley, Alexander was broken in pieces by the multitude of camels (BJ, 1, 4, 4). This incident is located at Gadara (Ant. 13, 13, 5). However, Golan was later destroyed by Alexander. It had already given its name to a large district, Gaulanitis (BJ, 3, 3, 1, 5; 4, 1, 1). It formed the eastern boundary of Galilee. It was part of the tetrarchy of Philip (Ant. 17, 13, 1; 18, 4, 6). The city was known to Eusebius as "a large village" giving its name to the surrounding country Onomasticon (Greek: Γαυλών, Gaulō̇n). This country must have corresponded roughly with the modern Jaulān in which the ancient name is preserved. Current status - The boundaries of the province today are Mount Hermon to the north, Jordan and the Sea of Galilee to the west, the Yarmouk River to the south, and the Allan River to the east. This plateau, which in the north is about 3,000 ft (910 m) high, slopes gradually southward to a height of about 1,000 ft (300 m). It is made entirely of igneous rock, and there are many cone-like peaks of extinct volcanoes, especially toward the north. It affords good land for pasturing, and it has long been a favorite summer grazing ground of the nomads. Traces of ancient forests remain, but for the most part today it is treeless. To the east of the Sea of Galilee, the soil is deep and rich. Splendid crops of wheat are grown here, and olives flourish in the hollows. The country is furrowed by deep valleys that carry the water southwestward into the Sea of Galilee. This region has not yet been subjected to a thorough examination, but many important ruins have been found which tell of a plentiful and prosperous population in ancient times. The best description of these, and of the region generally, will be found in Schumacher's The Jaulan and Across the Jordan. To him also we owe the excellent maps which carry us eastward to the province of el-Haurān. Schumacher inclines to the belief that the ancient Golan may be located in Sahm el-Jaulān (a large village 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Nahr ‛Allān and 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Tsīl). The extensive ruins probably date from the early Christian Era. The buildings are of stone, many of them of spacious dimensions, while the streets are wide and straight. The inhabitants are not more than 280. The surrounding soil is rich and well watered, bearing excellent crops. Standing in the open country, it would be seen from afar; and it was easily accessible from all directions.

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Gush Halav in Wikipedia

Jish (Arabic: الجش‎; Hebrew: גִ'שׁ, גּוּשׁ חָלָב‎, Gush Halav) has both an ancient and modern history. Remnants of an a roman-era village with a synagogue have been uncovered. In modern times, it is an Arab Christian town located on the northeastern slopes of Mt. Meron, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of Safed in Israel's North District.[1] Classical sources written in Greek, including the Wars of the Jews by Josephus, call the village Gischala. Jish was largely depopulated of its Muslim inhabitants during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, but those expelled from the nearby Arab Christian villages of Iqrit and Kafr Bir'im in the years following took up residence in Jish, forming the majority of Jish's population today. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Jish had a population of 2,600 inhabitants in 2005.[2] The majority of the population belong to the Maronite Church and Greek Catholics, with a significant Muslim minority. History Settlement in Jish dates back 3,000 years. The village is mentioned in the Mishnah as Gush Halav, a city "surrounded by walls since the time of Joshua Ben Nun". The Hebrew name, lit. "block of milk" is thought to refer to the chalky white limestone characteristic of the village's geological structure, or perhaps the fertility of its soil.[citation needed] Both Josephus and later Jewish sources from the Roman-Byzantine period mention the fine olive oil the village was known for. After the fall of Gamla, Gush Halav was the last Jewish stronghold in the Galilee and Golan region during the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66-73 CE). Gischala was the home of Yohanan of Gush Halav (יוחנן מגוש חלב), known in English as John of Gischala, a key figure in the Jewish revolt in the Galilee and later Jerusalem. In the Middle Ages, Gush Halav was famed among Jews for its graves of rabbis and ruins of ancient synagogues. During the Islamic rule of the Levant, the town adopted its modern name of Jish. In the 17th century, the town was inhabited by Druze, who left at the end of the century. In the early 18th century, Maronites, Greek Catholics and Muslims began settling in the town. The Galilee earthquake of 1837 caused widespread damage and over 200 deaths. Archeology - Eighteen archaeological sites have been excavated to date in Jish and the nearby vicinity.[4] Archaeologists have excavated a synagogue in use from the 3rd to 6th centuries CE. Evidence was found of earthquakes in 306 CE and of the Galilee earthquake of 363 CE. A strong earthquake in 551 CE may have led to the site's abandonment. A carved Aramaic inscription on one of the columns of the synagogue, believed to date from the middle of the 3rd century or early 4th century CE, reads: "Yosei son of Nahum built this. A blessing be upon him." Coins indicate that Jish had strong commercial ties with the nearby city of Tyre. On Jish's western slope, a mausoleum was excavated, with stone sarcophagi similar to those seen at the large Jewish catacomb at Beit She'arim. The inner part of the mausoleum contained ten hewn loculi, burial niches known in Hebrew as kokhim. In the mausoleum, archaeologists found several skeletons, oil lamps and a glass bottle dating to the fourth century CE. A network of secret caves and passageways in Jish, some of them dug under private homes, is strikingly similar to hideaways in the Judean lowlands used during the Bar Kokhba revolt...

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Haifa in Wikipedia

Haifa (Hebrew: חֵיפָה‎); is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 265,000. Another 300,000 people (almost all of them Jewish) live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, and Nesher. Together these areas form a contiguous urban area home to nearly 600,000 residents which makes up the inner core of the Haifa metropolitan area.[1][2] Haifa has a mixed population of Jews and Arabs, although Jews make up a 90% majority. The Arab population used to be predominantly Christian, while 28% of the Jewish population is from the Former Soviet Union.[3] It is also home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[4][5] Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, Haifa has a history dating back to Biblical times. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE).[6] In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, Egyptians, and the British. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality. Today, the city is a major seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometres (24.6 sq mi). It is located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel. Two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, are located in Haifa, and the city plays an important role in Israel's economy. It has several high-tech parks, among them the oldest and largest in the country,[7] an industrial port, and a petroleum refinery. Haifa was formerly the western terminus of an oil pipeline from Iraq via Jordan.[8] Early history -- A small port city known today as Tell Abu Hawam was established Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE).[6] During the 6th century BCE, Greek geographer Scylax told of a city "between the bay and the Promontory of Zeus" (i.e., the Carmel) which may be a reference to Haifa during the Persian period.[6] By Hellenistic times, the city had moved to a new site south of what is now Bat Galim because the port's harbour had become blocked with sand.[6] About the 3rd Century CE, the city was first mentioned in Talmudic literature, as a Jewish fishing village and the home of Rabbi Avdimos and other Jewish scholars.[6][11] A Greek-speaking population living along the coast at this time was engaged in commerce.[12] Haifa was located near the town of Shikmona, a center for making the traditional Tekhelet dye used in the garments of the high priests in the Temple. The archaeological site of Shikmona is southwest of Bat Galim.[13] Mount Carmel and the Kishon River are also mentioned in the Bible.[14][15] A grotto on the top of Mount Carmel is known as the "Cave of Elijah", traditionally linked to the Prophet Elijah and his apprentice, Elisha.[14] In Arabic, the highest peak of the Carmel range is called the Muhraka, or "place of burning," harking back to the burnt offerings and sacrifices there in Canaanite and early Israelite times[16] Early Haifa is believed to have occupied the area which extends from the present-day Rambam Hospital to the Jewish Cemetery on Yafo Street.[17] The inhabitants engaged in fishing and agriculture.[17] Byzantine, Arab and Crusader rule -- Under Byzantine rule, Haifa continued to grow but did not assume major importance.[18] In the 7th century, the city was conquered by the Persians. Under the Rashidun Caliphate, Haifa began to develop. In the 9th century under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, Haifa established trading relations with Egyptian ports and the city featured several shipyards. The inhabitants, Arabs and Jews, engaged in trade and maritime commerce. Glass production and dye-making from marine snails were the city's most lucrative industries.[19] Prosperity ended in 1100, when Haifa was besieged and blockaded by the Crusaders and then conquered after a fierce battle with its Jewish and Muslim inhabitants.[9][19] Under the Crusaders, Haifa was reduced to a small fishing and agricultural village.[19] It was a part of the Principality of Galilee within the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Following their victory at the Battle of Hattin, Saladin's Ayyubid army captured Haifa in mid-July 1187.[20] The Crusaders under Richard the Lionheart retook Haifa in 1191.[21] The Carmelites established a church on Mount Carmel in the 12th century.[22] Under Muslim rule, the building was turned into a mosque, later becoming a hospital. In the 19th century, it was restored as a Carmelite monastery over a cave associated with Elijah, the prophet.[23] Mamluk, Ayyubid, Ottoman and Egyptian rule -- The city's Crusader fortress was destroyed in 1187 by Saladin.[6] In 1265, the army of Baibars the Mamluk captured Haifa, destroying its fortifications, which had been rebuilt by King Louis IX of France, as well as the majority of the city's homes to prevent the European Crusaders from returning.[24] For much of their rule, the city was desolate in the Mamluk period between the 13th and 16th centuries. [25] Information from this period is scarce.[25] However, during Mamluk rule in the 14th century, al-Idrisi wrote that Haifa served as the port for Tiberias and featured a "fine harbor for the anchorage of galleys and other vessels.[26] In 1761 Dhaher al-Omar, a Bedouin ruler of Acre and Galilee, demolished the city and rebuilt Haifa in a new location, fortifying it with a wall.[25][27] This event is marked as the beginning of the town's modern era. After al-Omar's death in 1775, the town remained under Ottoman rule until 1918, with the exception of two brief periods. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Haifa during his unsuccessful campaign to conquer Palestine and Syria, but soon had to withdraw. Between 1831 and 1840, the Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali governed Haifa, after his son Ibrahim Pasha had wrested its control from the Ottomans.[28][29]...

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Hammat Tiberias Synagogue in Wikipedia

The Hammat Tiberias Synagogue, (Hebrew: Beit Knesset Hamat Tveriya) also known as the Severus synagogue, is an ancient synagogue on the outskirts of Tiberias, Israel, located near the hot springs just south of the city. [edit]History Two synagogue sites have been excavated at Hammat Tiberias. The first, uncovered in 1921 by Nachum Slouschz, working under the sponsorship of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society, was a watershed event in the history of Israeli archaeology as the first archaeological dig conducted under Jewish auspices.[1] A limestone menorah uncovered there is now on display at the Israel Museum. The second synagogue site, excavated by Moshe Dothan, is noted for its elaborate mosaic floor. The synagogue was named after an inscription that reads, in Greek, "Severus the pupil of the most illustrious patriarchs," an apparent reference to the leaders of the Jewish community. In the center of one large mosaic is the Sun god, Helios, sitting in his chariot holding the celestial sphere and a whip. Nine of the 12 signs of the zodiac survived intact. Another panel shows a Torah ark flanked by two the seven- branched menorahs and other Jewish ritual objects.

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Valley of Elah

The traditional location of the famous battle between David and Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:1-11 1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had greaves of bronze upon his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us." 10 And the Philistine said, "I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together." 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. (Israel Minister of Tourism)

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Yad Hashmonah

The community of Yad Hashmonah in the western Judean Mountains, with its hands-on display of ancient farming techniques, burial cave, synagogue and more, can truly be said to have the Bible in its backyard. Yad Hashmonah was founded in 1971 by Finnish Christians who first made their living as carpenters. Its name means "memorial to the eight," named after the only eight Jews to lose their lives to the Nazis out of some 2,000 Jewish refugees whom Finland sheltered during the Holocaust. On a tour of Yad Hashmonah`s Biblical Garden, you`ll see a threshing floor, grape press and olive press, where biblical fruit (Deut. 8:8) is processed in season. You can even try your hand at sheep-shearing and goat- milking! At the mikveh, or ritual bath, you`ll learn about ideas of purification in Jesus` time. A watchtower, recalling Isaiah`s Song of the Vineyard (5:1-2), is another highlight. The beautiful sunset glimpsed from the reconstructed synagogue make afternoon visits to the site particularly memorable. (Israel Minister of Tourism)

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Tell Abu Hawam in ArchaeoWiki

Tell Abu Hawam is an important archaeological site that represents the remains of a diverse settlement site and trading entrepôt of the Late Bronze Age period, located just north of the Carmel Ridge on the Akko Plain in present-day Israel.

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Abu Ghosh in Wikipedia

Abu Ghosh (Arabic: أبو غوش‎; Hebrew: אבו גוש‎) is an Arab town in Israel, located 10 kilometers (6 mi) west of Jerusalem on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. It situated 610–720 meters above sea level. Having taken a neutral stance in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Abu Ghosh is known for its positive relations with the Jewish community. In Israel, Abu Ghosh is famed for its hummus and in 2010, set the Guinness World Record for largest dish of hummus. Local government Abu Ghosh is governed by a Local council, and is part of the Jerusalem District. The mayor of Abu Ghosh is Salim Jabar. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Abu Ghosh had a population of 5,700, predominantly Muslims , in June 2005. [edit]History Abu Ghosh is one of the most ancient inhabited sites in Israel.[1] Archaeological excavations have revealed 3 neolithic settlement phases, the middle phase is dated to the 7th millennium BCE.[2] Its old Arabic name of Qaryat al'Inab has led Abu Ghosh to be identified with the biblical site of Kiryat Ye'arim.[1] A Greek inscription unearthed in the ruins of a Roman fort show that the Tenth Legion of the Roman army had a station house in Abu Ghosh.[1] The village has also been associated with Anathoth, the birthplace of the prophet Jeremiah...

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Acre in Wikipedia

Acre (Hebrew: עַכּוֹ‎, Akko; Arabic: عكّا‎, ʻAkkā),[1] is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel and is situated on a low promontory at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country and historically, was regarded as a strategic coastal link to the Levant. Acre is the holiest city of the Bahá'í Faith.[2] As of 2007, the city had a predominantly Jewish population of 46,000.[3] History [edit]Ancient period Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Israel.[4] The name Aak, which appears on the tribute-lists of Thutmose III (c. 16th century BC), may be a reference to Acre.[citation needed] The Amarna letters also mention a place named Akka,[5] as well as the Execration texts, that pre-date them.[6] In the Hebrew Bible, (Judges 1:31), Akko is one of the places from which the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanites. It was in the territory of the tribe of Asher. According to Josephus, Akko was ruled by one of Solomon's provincial governors. Throughout the period of Israelite rule, it was politically affiliated with Phoenicia rather than the Philistines. Around 725 BC, Akko joined Sidon and Tyre in a revolt against Shalmaneser V.[7] Greek and Roman periods Greek historians refer to the city as Ake, meaning "cure." According to the Greek myth, Heracles found curative herbs here to heal his wounds.[8] Josephus calls it Akre. The name was changed to Antiochia Ptolemais shortly after Alexander the Great's conquest, and then to Ptolemais, probably by Ptolemy Soter, after the partition of the kingdom of Alexander the Great.[9] Old City of Acre* UNESCO World Heritage Site State Party Israel Type Cultural Criteria ii, iii, v Reference 1042 Region** Asia-Pacific Inscription history Inscription 2001 (25th Session) * Name as inscribed on World Heritage List. ** Region as classified by UNESCO. Strabo refers to the city as once a rendezvous for the Persians in their expeditions against Egypt. About 165 BC Judas Maccabeus defeated the Syrians in many battles in Galilee, and drove them into Ptolemais. About 153 BC Alexander Balas, son of Antiochus Epiphanes, contesting the Syrian crown with Demetrius, seized the city, which opened its gates to him. Demetrius offered many bribes to the Maccabees to obtain Jewish support against his rival, including the revenues of Ptolemais for the benefit of the Temple in Jerusalem, but in vain. Jonathan Maccabaeus threw in his lot with Alexander, and in 150 BC he was received by him with great honour in Ptolemais. Some years later, however, Tryphon, an officer of the Syrians, who had grown suspicious of the Maccabees, enticed Jonathan into Ptolemais and there treacherously took him prisoner. The city was captured by Alexander Jannaeus, Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Tigranes II of Armenia. Here Herod built a gymnasium, and here the Jews met Petronius, sent to set up statues of the emperor in the Temple, and persuaded him to turn back. St Paul spent a day in Ptolemais (Acts 21:7). A Roman colonia was established at the city, Colonia Claudii Cæsaris.[citation needed] After the permanent division of the Roman Empire in 395 CE, Akko was administered by the Eastern (later Byzantine) Empire...

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Antipatris in Wikipedia

Antipatris, one of two places known as Tel Afek, was a city built by Herod the Great, and named in honour of his father, Antipater II of Judea. It lay between Caesarea Maritima and Lydda, two miles inland, on the great Roman road from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Tel Afek served as a fortress and major strategic points in battles between the Egyptians, Israelites and Philistines in the Bronze Age, until it fell into ruin prior to Herod's rebuilding. The city was destroyed in 363 CE by an earthquake. It was later used as a fort by the Crusaders, Arabs and Turks when it was known as Majdal Yaba. The city ruins are located in Tel Afek (Hebrew: תל אפק‎), east of Petah Tikva and west of Kafr Qasim and Rosh HaAyin, near the source of the Yarkon River. Ras al-Ayn Ottoman records indicates that there might have been an older, possibly Mamluk fortress on the site.[2] However, the present Ottoman fortress was built following the publication of a firman in 1573 A.D. (981 H.): "You have sent a letter and have reported that four walls of the fortress Ras al-Ayn have been built, [..] I have commanded that when [this firman] arrives you shall [..have built] the above mentioned rooms and mosque with its minaret and have the guards remove the earth outside and clean and tidy [the place].[3] The fortress was built to protect a vulnerable stretch of the Cairo-Damascus highway (the Via Maris), and was provided with 100 horsemen and 30 foot soldiers. The fortress was also supposed to supply soldiers to protect the hajj route. [4] [edit]The Fortress The fortress is a massive rectangular enclosure with four corner towers and a gate at the centre of the west side. The south-west tower is octagonal, while the three other towers have a square ground plan.[5] [edit]The Village There was a Palestinian village at the site which, however, became deserted in the 1920s.[6]

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Arbel in Wikipedia

Arbel (Hebrew: אַרְבֵּל‎) is a moshav in northern Israel. Located on Mount Arbel next to the Sea of Galilee near Tiberias, it falls under the jurisdiction of Lower Galilee Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 364. Arbel was established in 1949 by demobilized soldiers on the lands of the depopulated Palestinian Arab village of Hittin, whose residents fled during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[1] It was initially a moshav shitufi (a collective smallholder's settlement that combines the economic features of a kibbutz with the social features of a moshav. Farming is done collectively and profits are shared equally), but became a moshav ovdim (a workers co-operative settlement) in 1959. Ancient Arbel It existed already during the First Temple Period as Beit Arbel (Hosea 10:14), probably on the Tel north of today's moshav. In Second Temple times, the village of Arbel was the home of the sage Nitai the Arbelite, to whom the Mishnah ascribes the saying: "Keep your distance from a bad neighbor, do not associate with the wicked, and do not despair of retribution" (Avot 1:7).[2] [edit]Ancient synagogue Arbel is notable for the ruins of an ancient synagogue, one of the oldest synagogue in the world that stands amid the remnants of an ancient Jewish village on the western edge of the moshav. The door of the synagogue, still standing, was carved form a massive natural outcropping of limestone, and the synagogue itself situated so as to make use of the stone as a handsome door. It is carved with decorative floral motifs and medallions. A carved groove for a mezuzah can be seen. Three sides of the building had carved stone benches. The two story building had three rows of columns with Corinthian capitals on the first floor and Ionic capitals on the second floor.[3]. It was also a site fortified by Daher al-Omar.

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Mary`s Tomb

The Tomb of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is marked by one of Jerusalem`s most venerable churches, located in the Kidron Valley, which the at the foot of the Mount of Olives near the Garden of Gethsemane. Christians built the first house of prayer here 1,500 years ago over a stone crypt visitors can still see. By Crusader times the church had been destroyed, and only a small cupola remained over the tomb. But in 1130 a new church was built, its façade with pointed Gothic arches, and most of the interior has amazingly survived frequent flooding of the Kidron Stream. The present decor, with its flickering oil lamps and icons gives the church a feel of mystery and antiquity, and attests to its present congregation of Eastern Christian denominations. Next to the church is a cave which some believe suits the description of Gethsemane in Mark 14:32 and Matthew 26:36. (Israel Minister of Tourism)

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Mukhraka - The Place of Elijah’s Contest on Carmel

They say once you`ve read the Bible where its events actually happened, you`ll never be the same. Nowhere is this truer than on Mount Carmel, at Mukhraka, which means "burned place," where Elijah faced off against the prophets of Baal and God sent down fire from Heaven. (I Kings 18:17-46). From the Carmeli​te Monastery roof or along Carmel`s hiking routes, the story is revealed: surrounding limestone outcroppings are overgrown with lichen, black as the soot from the fire that consumed Elijah`s burnt offering; to the west is the Mediterranean, where Elijah`s servant saw the cloud signaling God`s renewed blessing (I Kings 18:44); to the northeast is more Scripture scenery on the palm of your hand: the Kishon Brook, where Baal`s prophets met their end (I Kings 18:40), winding through the fertile fields of the Jezreel Valley, also known as the Valley of Armageddon. 1 Kings 17:2-7 2 And the word of the Lord came to him, 3 "Depart from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, that is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord; he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. (Israel Minister of Tourism)

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Domus Galilaeae

Visitors who enter the Domus Galilaeae center, atop the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee, can immediately feel the power of the inscription in the bright and airy lobby: "The Lord was waiting for you on this mountain." Domus Galilaeae was founded by the Neo-Catechumenal Way, a movement established in the 1960s to lead people to understand Christianity the way the first Christians did, as adults. The new center, where the movement`s members stay on a week-long Holy Land tour following study and spiritual preparation, is rich in symbolism. The chapel has a magnificent painting by the movement`s founder, Kiko Argüello, combining Eastern and Western Christian symbols and paying homage to the Church`s Jewish roots. The uniquely designed library, specializing in books about the Sermon on the Mount, has a Torah scroll as its centerpiece. Domus Galilaeae invites visitors of all denominations to tour the center and learn more about the movement. (Israel Minister of Tourism)

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Theophrastus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)

(Θεόφραστος). The Greek philosopher. He was a native of Eresus in Lesbos, and studied philosophy at Athens, first under Plato and afterwards under Aristotle. He became the favourite pupil of Aristotle, who named Theophrastus his successor in the presidency of the Lyceum, and in his will bequeathed to him his library and the originals of his own writings. Theophrastus was a worthy successor of his great master, and nobly sustained the character of the school. He is said to have had two thousand disciples, and among them such men as the comic poet Menander. He was highly esteemed by the kings Philippus, Cassander, and Ptolemy, and was not the less the object of the regard of the Athenian people, as was decisively shown when he was impeached of impiety; for he was not only acquitted, but his accuser would have fallen a victim to his calumny had not Theophrastus generously interfered to save him. He died in B.C. 287, having presided over the Academy about thirty-five years. His age is variously stated. According to some accounts he lived 85 years, according to others 107 years. He is said to have closed his life with the complaint respecting the short duration of human existence, that it ended just when the insight into its problems was beginning. He wrote a great number of works, the great object of which was the development of the Aristotelian philosophy. His Ἠθικοὶ Χαρακτῆρες, in thirty chapters; his work on plants (Περὶ Φυτῶν Ιστορίας), in ten books; his account of the causes of plants (Περὶ Φυτῶν Αἰτιῶν); and his treatise on stones (Περὶ Λίθων), are extant. These are edited together by Wimmer (Breslau, 1842-62). A separate edition of the Characteres is that of Jebb (London, 1870).

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Theopompus in Wikipedia

Theopompus (Ancient Greek: Θεόπομπος) was a Greek historian[1] and rhetorician, born on Chios about 380 BC. Biography In early youth he seems to have spent some time at Athens, along with his father, who had been exiled on account of his Laconian sympathies. Here he became a pupil of Isocrates, and rapidly made great progress in rhetoric; we are told that Isocrates used to say that Ephorus required the spur but Theopompus the bit (Cicero, Brutus, 204). At first he appears to have composed epideictic speeches, in which he attained to such proficiency that in 352‑351 he gained the prize of oratory given by Artemisia II of Caria in honour of her husband, although Isocrates was himself among the competitors. It is said to have been the advice of his teacher that finally determined his career as an historian-a career for which he was peculiarly qualified owing to his abundant patrimony and his wide knowledge of men and places. Through the influence of Alexander, he was permitted to return to Chios about 333, and figured for some time as one of the leaders of the aristocratic party in his native town. After Alexander's death he was again expelled, and took refuge with Ptolemy in Egypt, where he appears to have met with a somewhat cold reception. The date of his death is unknown. Works The works of Theopompus were chiefly historical, and are much quoted by later writers. They included an Epitome of Herodotus's History (Whether this work is actually his is debated[2]),the Hellenics, the History of Philip, and several panegyrics and hortatory addresses, the chief of which was the Letter to Alexander. The Hellenics The Hellenics treated of the history of Greece, in twelve books, from 411 (where Thucydides breaks off) to 394 BC - the date of the battle of Cnidus (cf. Diod. Sic., xiii. 42, with xiv. 84). Of this work only a few fragments were known up till 1907. The papyrus fragment of a Greek historian of the 4th century, discovered by B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt, and published by them in Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. v. (1908), has been recognized by Eduard Meyer, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff and Georg Busolt as a portion of the Hellenics. This identification has been disputed, however, by Friedrich Blass, J. B. Bury, E. M. Walker and others, most of whom attribute the fragment, which deals with the events of the year 395 BC and is of considerable extent, to Cratippus. In the Hellenics, Theopompus mentions Herostratus and his arson of the Temple of Artemis, thus helping Herostratus to his goal of achieving fame, despite the Ephesian authorities forbidding mention of his name under penalty of death. History of Philip II A far more elaborate work was the history of Philip's reign (360‑336), with digressions on the names and customs of the various races and countries of which he had occasion to speak, which were so numerous that Philip V of Macedon reduced the bulk of the history from 58 to 16 books by cutting out those parts which had no connection with Macedonia. It was from this history that Trogus Pompeius (of whose Historiae Philippicae we possess the epitome by Justin) derived much of his material. Fifty-three books were extant in the time of Photius (9th century), who read them, and has left us an epitome of the 12th book. Several fragments, chiefly anecdotes and strictures of various kinds upon the character of nations and individuals, are preserved by Athenaeus, Plutarch and others. Of the Letter to Alexander we possess one or two fragments cited by Athenaeus, criticizing severely the immorality and dissipations of Harpalus. Attack upon Plato The Attack upon Plato, and the treatise On Piety, which are sometimes referred to as separate works, were perhaps only two of the many digressions in the history of Philip; some writers have doubted their authenticity.’ The libellous attack (the "three-headed") on the three cities-Athens, Sparta and Thebes-was published under the name of Theopompus by his enemy Anaximenes of Lampsacus. The nature of the extant fragments fully bears out the divergent criticisms of antiquity upon Theopompus. Their style is clear and pure, full of choice and pointed expressions, but lacking in weight and dignity. The artistic unity of his work suffered severely from the frequent and lengthy digressions already referred to. The most important was that On the Athenian Demagogues in the 10th book of the Philippica, containing a bitter attack on many of the chief Athenian statesmen, and generally recognized as having been freely used by Plutarch in several of the Lives. Another fault of Theopompus was his excessive fondness for romantic and incredible stories; a collection of some of these was afterwards made and published under his name. He was also severely blamed in antiquity for his censoriousness, and throughout his fragments no feature is more striking than this. On the whole, however, he appears to have been fairly impartial. Philip himself he censures severely for drunkenness and immorality, while Demosthenes receives his warm praise.

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St. Peters Church – Tiberias

According to the Gospel, many people from Tiberias sailed to Capharnaum to meet Jesus. The ancient Christian tradition shows the presence of a large Judeo-Christian community there. Later tradition concentrated the memory of many evangelical episodes in Tiberias. Tiberias is the most important city of the sea of Galilee and it could already have been so in the time of Christ, as it was the residence of the tetrarch Herod Antipas. it was he who founded it and had given it the name of his protector and friend, the emperor Tiberius Caesar. In the Gospel according to John, boats that came from the city of Tiberias to the place of the multiplication of the loaves (John 6.23) are mentioned. The increased importance of the city is shown by the fact that the lake is called "Sea of Tiberias". According to Epiphanius, Christianity became clearly established in Tiberias in the 4th century, when a convert from Judaism, Count Joseph, obtained permission from the emperor Constantine to build a church where the pagan temple of Adrian had stood. From him, we also know that in Tiberias (as in Nazareth and Capharnaum) there were Jews who believed in Christ and kept and spread the books of the New Testament translated into Hebrew.

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Church of the Nativity

Second only to the Holy Sepulcher, it’s no wonder the Church of the Nativity is one of the most popular places to visit on Christian Holy Land tours as it was built on the site of Jesus’ birth. The Church of the Nativity is actually built over a cave that is believed to be the bottom floor of a 2-story house. Back then, humans would have lived on the top floor and animals would have lived below. Though often referred to as an "inn" in the Bible, it was actually a "guest room" attached the house. When Joseph and Mary arrived for the census, this room was already full, which was why Mary and Joseph were told to stay downstairs with the animals. Surely this is a must-see on your tour to the Holy Land. Luke Chapter 2:1-7 1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirini-us was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

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Nazareth in Wikipedia

Nazareth (pronounced /ˈnæzərəθ/; Hebrew: נָצְרַת‎, Natzrat or Natzeret; Arabic: الناصرة‎ al-Nāṣira or al-Naseriyye) is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is predominantly made up of Arab citizens of Israel.[2][3] In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events. The name "Nazareth" may derive from the Hebrew verb na·tsar, נָצַר, meaning "watch, guard, keep." Etymology. Nazareth is not mentioned in pre-Christian texts and appears in many different Greek forms in the New Testament. There is no consensus regarding the origin of the name. It must be noted that, in their scriptures, the Mandeans mention nasirutha as a place they go Biblical references. "Nazareth" assumes several forms (Nazara, Nazaret, Nazareth, Nazarat, Nazarath) in surviving Greek versions of the New Testament. Many scholars have questioned a link between "Nazareth" and the terms "Nazarene" and "Nazoraean" on linguistic grounds,[6] while some affirm the possibility of etymological relation "given the idiosyncrasies of Galilean Aramaic."[7] Of the twelve appearances of the town's name in the New Testament, ten use the form Nazaret or Nazareth, and two use the form Nazara.[4] Nazara (Ναζαρα) is generally considered the earliest form of the name in Greek, and is found in Matthew 4:13 and Luke 4:16, as well as the putative Q document, which many scholars maintain preceded 70 CE and the formation of the canonical Christian gospels.[4][8] The form Nazareth appears once in the Gospel of Matthew 21:11, four times in the birth chapters of the Gospel of Luke at 1:26; 2:4, 2:39, 2:51, and once in the Acts of the Apostles at 10:38. In the Gospel of Mark, the name appears only once in 1:9 in the form Nazaret.

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Ancient History of Nazareth

Ancient times. Archaeological research revealed a funerary and cult center at Kfar HaHoresh, about two miles (3 km) from Nazareth, dating back roughly 9000 years (to what is known as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B era).[24] The remains of some 65 individuals were found, buried under huge horizontal headstone structures, some of which consisted of up to 3 tons of locally-produced white plaster. Decorated human skulls uncovered there have led archaeologists to believe that Kfar HaHoresh was a major cult centre in that remote era.[25] In 1620 the Catholic Church purchased an area in the Nazareth basin measuring approx. 100 × 150 m (328.08 ft × 492.13 ft). on the side of the hill known as the Nebi Sa'in. This "Venerated Area" underwent extensive excavation in 1955-65 by the Franciscan priest Belarmino Bagatti, "Director of Christian Archaeology." Fr. Bagatti has been the principal archaeologist at Nazareth. His book, Excavations in Nazareth (1969) is still the standard reference for the archaeology of the settlement, and is based on excavations at the Franciscan Venerated Area. Fr. Bagatti uncovered pottery dating from the Middle Bronze Age (2200 to 1500 BC) and ceramics, silos and grinding mills from the Iron Age (1500 to 586 BC), pointing to substantial settlement in the Nazareth basin at that time. However, lack of archaeological evidence from Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic or Early Roman times, at least in the major excavations between 1955 and 1990, shows that the settlement apparently came to an abrupt end about 720 BC, when many towns in the area were destroyed by the Assyrians. [Wikipedia]

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Archaeology of Nazareth

According to the Gospel of Luke, Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary and the site of the Annunciation (when Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would have Jesus as her son); in the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph and Mary resettle in Nazareth after fleeing to Egypt from their home in Bethlehem.[ Mt.] The differences and possible contradictions between these two accounts of the nativity of Jesus are part of the Synoptic Problem. Nazareth is also allegedly where Jesus grew up from some point in his childhood. However, some modern scholars argue that Nazareth was also the birth place of Jesus.[26] James Strange, an American archaeologist, notes: "Nazareth is not mentioned in ancient Jewish sources earlier than the third century AD. This likely reflects its lack of prominence both in Galilee and in Judaea."[27] Strange originally speculated that the population of Nazareth at the time of Christ to be "roughly 1,600 to 2,000 people", but later, in a subsequent publication, at "a maximum of about 480."[28] In 2009 Israeli archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre excavated archaeological remains in Nazareth that might date to the time of Jesus in the early Roman period. Alexandre told reporters, "The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth."[29] According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, "The artifacts recovered from inside the building were few and mostly included fragments of pottery vessels from the Early Roman period (the first and second centuries CE)... Another hewn pit, whose entrance was apparently camouflaged, was excavated and a few pottery sherds from the Early Roman period were found inside it." Alexandre adds that "based on other excavations that I conducted in other villages in the region, this pit was probably hewn as part of the preparations by the Jews to protect themselves during the Great Revolt against the Romans in 67 CE".[30] Ancient Nazareth may have built on the hillside, as indicated in the Gospel of Luke: [And they led Jesus] to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.[Lk. 4:29] However, the hill in question (the Nebi Sa'in) is far too steep for ancient dwellings and averages a 14% grade in the venerated area.[31] Historic Nazareth was essentially constructed in the valley; the windy hilltops in the vicinity have only been occupied since the construction of Nazareth Illit in 1957. Noteworthy is that all the post-Iron Age tombs in the Nazareth basin (approximately two dozen) are of the kokh (plural:kokhim) or later types; this type probably first appeared in Galilee in the middle of the first century AD.[32] Kokh tombs in the Nazareth area have been excavated by B. Bagatti, N. Feig, Z. Yavor, and noted by Z. Gal.[33] Excavations conducted prior to 1931 in the Franciscan venerated area revealed no trace of a Greek or Roman settlement there,[34] Fr. Bagatti, who acted as the principal archaeologist for the venerated sites in Nazareth, unearthed quantities of later Roman and Byzantine artifacts,[35] attesting to unambiguous human presence there from the 2nd century AD onward. John Dominic Crossan, a major figure in New Testament studies, remarked that Bagatti's archaeological drawings indicate just how small the village actually was, suggesting that it was little more than an insignificant hamlet.[36] Interior of St Joseph's Church.Matthew 2:19-23 reads: After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." In the Gospel of John, Nathaniel asks, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"[1:46] The meaning of this cryptic question is debated. Some commentators and scholars suggest that it means Nazareth was very small and unimportant, but the question does not speak of Nazareth’s size but of its goodness. In fact, Nazareth was described negatively by the evangelists; the Gospel of Mark argues that Nazareth did not believe in Jesus and therefore he could "do no mighty work there";[Mk 6:5] in the Gospel of Luke, the Nazarenes are portrayed as attempting to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff;[Lk 4:29] in the Gospel of Thomas, and in all four canonical gospels, we read the famous saying that "a prophet is not without honor except in his own country."[37]... Although mentioned in the New Testament gospels, there are no extant non-biblical references to Nazareth until around 200 AD, when Sextus Julius Africanus, cited by Eusebius (Church History 1.7.14), speaks of "Nazara" as a village in "Judea" and locates it near an as-yet unidentified "Cochaba."[52] In the same passage Africanus writes of desposunoi - relatives of Jesus - who he claims kept the records of their descent with great care. A few authors have argued that the absence of first and second century textual references to Nazareth suggest the town may not have been inhabited in Jesus' day.[53] Proponents of this hypothesis have buttressed their case with linguistic, literary and archaeological interpretations,[54] though some historians and archaeologists generally dismiss such views as "archaeologically unsupportable".[Wikipedia]

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Bethphage in Wikipedia

Bethphage (meaning "House of Figs") was a place in ancient Israel, mentioned as the place from which Jesus sent the disciples to find a donkey and a colt with her upon which he would ride into Jerusalem. It is believed to have been located on the Mount of Olives, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho (Gospel of Matthew 21:1; Gospel of Mark 11:1; Gospel of Luke 19:29), and very close to Bethany. It was the limit of a Sabbath-day's journey from Jerusalem, that is, 2,000 cubits. There is the Franciscan Church of Bethphage at a likely location.

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Sea of Galilee in Wikipedia

The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Tiberias (Hebrew: ים כנרת‎, Arabic: بحيرة طبرية‎), is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately 53 km (33 miles) in circumference, about 21 km (13 miles) long, and 13 km (8 miles) wide. The lake has a total area of 166 km², and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m (141 feet).[3] At 209 metres below sea level, it is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake).[4] The lake is fed partly by underground springs although its main source is the Jordan River which flows through it from north to south. Geography. The Kinneret is situated in Northern Israel, near the Golan Heights, and deep in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, the valley caused by the separation of the African and Arabian Plates. Consequently the area is subject to earthquakes and, in the past, volcanic activity. This is evident by the abundant basalt and other igneous rocks that define the geology of the Galilee region. Etymology. The lake often appears on maps and in the New Testament as Sea of Galilee or Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1) while in the Hebrew Bible, it is called the "Sea of Chinnereth" (or spelled as "Kinnereth") (Numbers 34:11; Joshua 13:27). The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor ("harp" or "lyre")) in view of the shape of the lake. Christian religious texts call it Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) or Sea of Gennesaret[5] after a small fertile plain that lies on its western side. The Arabic name for the lake is Buhairet Tabariyya (help·info) (بحيرة طبريا) meaning Lake Tiberias. Other names for the Sea of Galilee are Ginnosar, Lake of Gennesar, Sea of Chinneroth and Sea of Tiberias (Roman).

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Ancient History of the Mount of Olives

From Biblical times until today, Jews have been buried on the Mount of Olives. The necropolis on the southern ridge, the location of the modern village of Silwan, was the burial place of the city's most important citizens in the period of the Biblical kings.[3] There are an estimated 150,000 graves on the Mount, including tombs traditionally associated with Zechariah and Avshalom (Absalom). Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar, author of Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, is also buried there. Important rabbis from the 15th to the 20th centuries are buried there, among them Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, and his son Zvi Yehuda Kook. During the Islamization of Jerusalem under Jordanian occupation form 1948 to 1967, Jewish burials were halted, massive vandalism took place, and 40,000 of the 50,000 graves were desecrated.[4][5][6][7] King Hussein permitted the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel at the summit of the Mount of Olives together with a road that cut through the cemetery which destroyed hundreds of Jewish graves, some from the First Temple Period.[8][9][10] After the Six-Day War, restoration work began, and the cemetery was re-opened for burials. Roman soldiers from the 10th Legion camped on the Mount during the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE. The religious ceremony marking the start of a new month was held on the Mount of Olives in the days of the Second Temple.[11] After the destruction of the Temple, Jews celebrated the festival of Sukkot on the Mount of Olives. They made pilgrimages to the Mount of Olives because it was 80 meters higher than the Temple Mount and offered a panoramic view of the Temple site. It became a traditional place for lamenting the Temple's destruction, especially on Tisha B'Av.[11] In 1481, an Italian Jewish pilgrim, Rabbi Meshulam Da Volterra, wrote: "And all the community of Jews, every year, goes up to Mount Zion on the day of Tisha B'Av to fast and mourn, and from there they move down along Yoshafat Valley and up to Mount of Olives. From there they see the whole Temple (the Temple Mount) and there they weep and lament the destruction of this House."[12] In the mid-1850s, the villagers of Silwan were paid £100 annually by the Jews in an effort to prevent the desecration of graves on the mount.[13] Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin asked to be buried on the Mount of Olives near the grave of Etzel member Meir Feinstein, rather than Mount Herzl national cemetery.[14] Biblical references. The Mount of Olives is first mentioned in connection with David's flight from Absalom (II Samuel 15:30): "And David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up." The ascent was probably east of the City of David, near the village of Silwan.[1] The sacred character of the mount is alluded to in the Ezekiel (11:23): "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city."[1] Solomon built altars to the gods of his wives on the southern peak (I Kings 11:7-8). During the reign of King Josiah, the mount was called the Mount of Corruption (II Kings 23:13). An apocalyptic prophecy in the Book of Zechariah states that Yahweh will stand on the Mount of Olives and the mountain will split in two, with one half shifting north and one half shifting south (Zechariah 14:4). The biblical designation Har HaMashchit derives from the idol worship there, begun by King Solomon's Moabite and Ammonite wives "on the mountain which is before (east of) Jerusalem" (Kings I 11:17), just outside the limits of the holy city. This site was infamous for idol worship throughout the First Temple period, until king of Judah Josiah finally destroyed "the high places that were before Jerusalem, to the right of Har HaMashchit,..." Christian references.

Thanks: Publix weekly ad, Kroger weekly ad, aldi ad, Walgreens weekly ad Churches on Mt. of OlivesThe Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. Jesus is said to have spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew 24-25), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane. The New Testament, tells how Jesus and his friends sang together - "When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives" Gospel of Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mt of Olives as recorded in the book of Acts 1:9-12. [Wikipedia]

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Capernaum in Wikipedia

Capernaum (pronounced /kəˈpɜrniəm/ kə-PUR-nee-əm; Hebrew: כְּפַר נַחוּם‎, Kfar Nahum, "Nahum's village") was a fishing village[1] inhabited from mid 2nd century BC to 11th century AD. It is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Gallilee[2] and had a population of about 1,500.[3] Recent excavations revealed that there were two synagogues in the village: the more recent was made of limestone and was built on top of the older, which was made of local black basalt. Only the foundation walls, some columns, and the cobblestone floor remain of the earlier structure. A church near Capernaum is said to be the home of Saint Peter. When Jesus left Nazareth he settled in Capernaum where he chose his first four disciples; James, John, Peter and Andrew. The town is cited in the Gospel of Luke where it was reported to have been the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew. In Matthew 4:13 the town was reported to have been the home of Jesus. According to Luke 4:31-44, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum on Sabbath. Jesus then healed a man who had the spirit of an unclean devil and healed a fever in Simon Peter's mother-in-law. According to Gospel of Luke /Luke 7: 1-10, it is also the place where a Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant. A building which may have been a synagogue of that period has been found beneath the remains of a later synagogue. Josephus referred to Capernaum as a fertile spring. He stayed the night there after spraining his ankle. During the first Jewish revolt of 66-70 Capernaum was spared as it was never occupied by the Romans. Etymology. Although Kfar Nahum, the original name of the small town, means "Nahum's village" in Hebrew, apparently there is no connection with the prophet named Nahum. In the writings of Josephus, the name is rendered in Greek as "Kαφαρναουμ (Kapharnaum)". In Arabic, it is called Talhum, and it is assumed that this refers to the ruin (Tell) of Hum (perhaps an abbreviated form of Nahum) (Tzaferis, 1989).

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Ancient History of Capernaum

History Drawing upon literary sources and the results of the excavations, it has been possible to reconstruct a part of the town's history. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the town was established in the second century BC during the Hasmonean period. The site had no defensive wall and extended along the shore of the nearby lake (from east to west). The cemetery zone is found 200 meters north of the synagogue, which places it beyond the inhabited area of the town. It extended 3 kilometers to Tabgha, an area which appears to have been used for agricultural purposes, judging by the many oil and grain mills which were discovered in the excavation. Fishing was also a source of income; the remains of another harbor were found to the west of that built by the Franciscans. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus selected this town as the center of his public ministry in the Galilee after he left the small mountainous hamlet of Nazareth (Matthew 4:12-17). Capernaum has no obvious advantages over any other city in the area, so he probably chose it because it was the home of his first disciples, Simon (Peter) and Andrew. The Gospel of John suggests that Jesus' ministry was centered in a village called Cana. No sources have been found for the belief that Capernaum was involved in the bloody Jewish revolts against the Romans, the First Jewish-Roman War (AD 66–73) or Bar Kokhba's revolt (132–135), although there is reason to believe that Josephus, one of the Jewish generals during the earlier revolt, was taken to Capernaum (which he called "Kapharnakos") after a fall from his horse in nearby Bethsaida (Josephus, Vita, 72). [Wikipedia]

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Capernaum Archaeology and Excavations

Discovery and excavation In 1838, the American explorer, Edward Robinson discovered the ruins of the ancient Capernaum. In 1866, British Captain Charles William Wilson identified the remains of the synagogue, and in 1894, Franciscan Friar Giuseppe Baldi of Naples, the Custodian of the Holy Land, was able to recover a good part of the ruins from the Bedouins. The Franciscans raised a fence to protect the ruins from frequent vandalism, and planted palms and eucalyptus trees brought from Australia to create a small oasis for pilgrims. They also built a small harbor. These considerable labors were directed by the Franciscan Virgilio Corbo. The most important excavations began in 1905 under the direction of the Germans Heinrich Kohl and Carl Watzinger. They were continued by the Franciscans Fathers Vendelin von Benden (1905–1915) and Gaudenzio Orfali (1921–1926). The excavations resulted in the discovery of two public buildings, the synagogue (which was partially restored by Fr Orfali), and an octagonal church. Later, in 1968, excavation of the western portion of the site-the portion owned by the Franciscans-was restarted by Corbo and Stanislao Loffreda, with the financial assistance of the Italian government. During this phase, the major discovery was of a house which is claimed to be St. Peter's house, in a neighborhood of the town from the First Century AD. These excavations have been ongoing, with some publication on the Internet as recently as 2003.[4] The excavations revealed that the site was established at the beginning of the Hasmonean Dynasty, roughly in the second century BC, and was abandoned in the 11th century AD. The eastern half of the site-the portion owned by an Orthodox monastery-has also been surveyed and partially excavated under the direction of Vasilios Tzaferis. This section has uncovered the village from the Byzantine and Arab periods. Features include a pool apparently used for the processing of fish and a hoard of gold coins. (Tzaferis, 1989). [Wikipedia]

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House of Peter at Capernaum

One block of homes, called by the Franciscan excavators the sacra insula or "holy insula" ("insula" refers to a block of homes around a courtyard) was found to have a complex history. Located between the synagogue and the lakeshore, it was found near the front of a labyrinth of houses from many different periods. Three principal layers have been identified: 1.A group of private houses built around the first century BC which remained in use until the early fourth century AD. 2.The great transformation of one of the homes in the fourth century AD. 3.The octagonal church in the middle of the fifth century AD. The excavators concluded that one house in the village was venerated as the house of Peter the fisherman as early as the mid-first century AD, with two churches having been constructed over it (Lofreda, 1984). [edit] First century AD The city's basalt houses are grouped around two large courtyards, one to the north and the other to the south. One large room in particular, near the east side and joining both courtyards, was especially large (sides about 7.5 meters long) and roughly square. An open space on the eastern side contained a brick oven. A threshold which allowed crossing between the two courtyards remains well-preserved to this day. Beginning in the latter half of the first century AD, this house displayed markedly different characteristics than the other excavated houses. The rough walls were reworked with care and were covered with inscriptions; the floor was covered with a fine layer of plaster. Furthermore, almost no domestic ceramics are recovered, but lamps abound. One explanation suggested for this treatment is that the room was venerated as a religious gathering place, a domus-ecclesia or house church, for the Christian community. (Loffreda, 1984) This suggestion has been critiqued by several scholars, however. In particular, where excavators had claimed to find graffiti including the name of Peter, others have found very little legible writing (Strange and Shanks, 1982). Others have questioned whether the space is actually a room; the paved floor, the large space without supports, and the presence of a cooking space have prompted some to note that these are more consistent with yet another courtyard (Freyne, 2001). [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Synagogue at Capernaum

Synagogue ruins of this building, among the Oldest synagogues in the world were identified by Charles William Wilson. The large, ornately carved, white building stones of the synagogue stood out prominently among the smaller, plain blocks of local black basalt used for the towns other buildings, almost all residential. The synagogue was built almost entirely of white blocks of calcareous stone brought from distant quarries. The building consists of four parts: the praying hall, the western patio, a southern balustrade and a small room at the northwest of the building. The praying hall measured 24.40 ms by 18.65 m, with the southern face looking toward Jerusalem. The internal walls were covered with painted plaster and superbly well-done stucco work found during the excavations. Watzinger, like Orfali, believed that there had been an upper floor reserved for women, with access by means of an external staircase located in the small room. But this opinion was not substantiated by the later excavations of the site. The synagogue appears to have been built around the fourth or fifth century AD. Beneath the foundation of this synagogue lies another foundation made of basalt, and Loffreda suggests that this is the foundation of a synagogue from the first century AD, perhaps the one mentioned in the Gospels (Loffreda, 1974). This, too, has been open for debate. Later excavation work was attempted underneath the synagogue floor, but while Loffreda claimed to have found a paved surface, others are of the opinion that this was an open, paved market area. [1] The ancient synagogue still has two inscriptions, one in Greek and the other in Aramaic, that remember the benefactors that helped in the construction of the building. There are also carvings of five- and six-pointed stars and of palm trees. In 1926, the Franciscan Orfali began the restoration of the synagogue. After his death, this work was continued by Virgilio Corbo beginning in 1976. [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Fishing Boat at Capernaum

Fishing vessel. In 1986 the water of the lake reached an unusually low point. At that time, an ancient fishing boat was discovered that has been claimed to date from the first century AD[5]. The vessel was 8 meters long and was preserved in the mud of the lake. After a difficult unearthing process that had to be completed before the water rose again, the excavated boat was put on display in its modern-day position near the kibbutz Ginosar as The Sea of Galilee Boat. [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Olive Press at Capernaum

Image of a Roman-era olive mill in the ruins of ancient Capernaum. [Wiki Image]

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Chorazin in Wikipedia

Chorazin (pronounced /koʊˈreɪzɪn/; Korazim Karraza, Kh. Karazeh, Chorizim, Kerazeh, Korazin) was a village in northern Galilee, two and a half miles from Capernaum on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Biblical references. Chorazin, along with Bethsaida and Capernaum, was named in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke as "cities" (more likely just villages) in which Jesus performed "mighty works". However, because these towns rejected his work ("they had not changed their ways" -Matt11:20SV), they were subsequently cursed (Matthew 11:20-24; Luke 10:13-15). Biblical scholars who accept the two-source hypothesis state that this story originally came from the Q document. Despite this textual evidence, archaeologists have not yet been successful in finding a settlement dating to the 1st century. Due to the condemnation of Jesus, some early Medieval writers believed that the Antichrist would be born in Chorazin. The Babylonian Talmud (Menahot, 85a) mentions that Chorazin was a town known for its grain. In the 16th century, Jewish fishermen used to reside here.

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Archaeology of Korazim

Archaeology. Korazim is now the site of a National Archaeological Park. Extensive excavations and a survey were carried out at in 1962-1964. Excavations at the site were resumed in 1980-1987. The site is an excavated ruin today, but was inhabited starting in the 1st century. It is associated with modern day Kerazeh. The majority of the structures are made from black basalt, a volcanic rock found locally. The main settlement dates to the 3rd and 4th centuries. A mikvah, or ritual bath, was also found at the site. The handful of olive millstones used in olive oil extraction found suggest a reliance on the olive for economic purposes, like a number of other villages in ancient Galilee. The town's ruins are spread over an area of 25 acres (100,000 m2), subdivided into five separate quarters, with a synagogue in the centre. The large, impressive Synagogue which was built with black basalt stones and decorated with Jewish motifs is the most striking survival. Close by is a ritual bath, surrounded by public and residential buildings. [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Synagogue at Chorazin

The 3rd century synagogue was destroyed in the 4th century and rebuilt in the 5th. [Citation needed] An unusual feature in an ancient synagogue is the presence of three-dimensional sculpture, a pair of stone lions.[1] A similar pair of three-dimensional lions was found in the synagogue at Kfar Bar'am.[2] Other carvings, which are thought to have originally been brightly painted, feature images of wine-making, animals, a Medusa, an armed soldier, and an eagle.[3] [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Oil Press at Korazim

The site of ancient Korazim reveals a beautiful Oil Press. [Wiki Image]

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Travel to Caesarea

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Baron Edmond James de Rothschild purchased much of the land around Caesarea - with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Rothschild family gifted these holdings to the Caesarea Foundation. The Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Development Corporation [1] (called in Hebrew ????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?? ???????) remains the operational arm of the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation. Caesarea is therefore only locality in Israel which is managed by a private organization (the Caesarea Development Corporation) rather than a municipal governmental organization. Caesarea is considered one of the most upscale residential developments in Israel. The current Baron de Rothschild still maintains a home in Caesarea, as do many other wealthy and influential individuals and foreign residents. Beyond the ancient remains, Caesarea is a town devoted to tourists and to luxurious living. Some of Israel’s finest homes are located here and it is also home of Israel’s only 18-hole golf course (designed by the renowned Robert Trent-Jones), a luxury hotel, a vacation village, miles of sandy beaches, and a series of attractive restaurants, galleries and boutiques huddled around the Mediterranean cove. And, of course, visitors marvel at its extraordinary archeological attractions, not least of which is the Roman theatre, where concerts, entertainment extravaganzas and the annual International Opera Festival are held.

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Caesarea in Wikipedia

Caesarea (Hebrew: קֵיסָרְיָה‎; Arabic: قيسارية‎, Kaysaria; Greek: Καισάρεια) is a town in Israel on the outskirts of Caesarea Maritima, the ancient port city. It is located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa (45 km), on the Israeli Mediterranean coast near the city of Hadera. Modern Caesarea as of December 2007 has a population of 4,500 people,[1] and is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council. It lies under the jurisdiction of the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council.

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Ancient History of Caesarea

Caesarea is believed to have been built on the ruins of Stratonospyrgos (Straton's Tower), founded by Straton I of Sidon. and was likely an agricultural storehouse in its earliest configuration.[2] In 90 BCE, Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. Straton's Tower remained a Jewish city for two generations, until the Roman conquest of 63 BCE when the Romans declared it an autonomous city. The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod the Great, who renamed it Caesarea in honor of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep sea harbor and built storerooms, markets, wide roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings.[3] Every five years the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, and theatrical productions in its theatre overlooking the Mediterranian Sea. Caesarea also flourished during the Byzantine period. In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non-Jewish.[4] The city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade. The area was only seriously farmed during the Rashidun Caliphate period, apparently until the Crusader conquest in the eleventh century.[4] Over time, the farms were buried under the sands shifting along the shores of the Mediterranean... [Wikipedia]

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Caesarea Maritima in Wikipedia

Caesarea Maritima (Greek: ðáñÜeéïò ÊáéóÜñåéá), called Caesarea Palaestina from 133 AD onwards,[1] was a city and harbor built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BC. Today, its ruins lie on the Mediterranean coast of Israel about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, on the site of Pyrgos Stratonos ("Strato" or "Straton's Tower", in Latin Turris Stratonis).[2] Caesarea Maritima as with Caesarea Philippi in the Golan Heights and Caesarea Mazaca in Anatolian Cappadocia was named to flatter the Caesar. The city was described in detail by the 1st century Roman Jewish historian Josephus.[3] The city became the seat of the Roman praefecti soon after its foundation. The emperor Vespasian raised its status to that of a colonia. After the destruction of Jerusalem, in 70 A.D., Caesarea was established as the provincial capital of Iudaea Province before the change of name to Syria Palaestina in 134 A.D. shortly before the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt.[4] According to historian H.H. Ben-Sasson, Caesarea was the "administrative capital" beginning in 6 A.D.[5] Caesarea remained the capital until the early 8th century, when the Umayyad caliph Suleiman transferred the seat of the government of the Jund Filastin to the newly built city of Ramla.

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Caesarea in the First Century Under the Romans

Herod built his palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea, with a decorative pool surrounded by stoas. In 13 BC, Caesarea became the civilian and military capital of Iudaea Province (sometimes spelled Judaea), and the official residence of the Roman procurators and governors, Pontius Pilatus, praefectus and Antonius Felix. Josephus describes the harbor as being as large as the one at Piraeus, the major harbor of Athens. Remains of the principal buildings erected by Herod and the medieval town are still visible today, including the city walls, the castle and a Crusader cathedral and church. Archaeological excavations in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of Crusader fortifications and a Roman theatre. Other buildings include a temple dedicated to Caesar; a hippodrome rebuilt in the 2nd century as a more conventional theater; the Tiberieum, which has a limestone block with a dedicatory inscription [6] This is the only archaeological find with an inscription mentioning the name "Pontius Pilatus"; a double aqueduct that brought water from springs at the foot of Mount Carmel; a boundary wall; and a 200 ft (60 m) wide moat protecting the harbour to the south and west. The harbor was the largest on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Caesarea grew rapidly, becoming the largest city in Judea, with an estimated population of 125,000 over an urban area of 3.7 square kilometers. In 66 AD, a massacre of Jews here and the desecration of the local synagogue led to the disastrous Jewish revolt.[7] Vespasian declared it a colony and renamed it Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesarea. In 70 AD, after the doomed Jewish revolt had been suppressed, games were held here to celebrate the victory of Titus. Many Jewish captives taken during the revolt were brought to Caesarea Maritima and 2500 were slaughtered in Gladiatorial games.[8] Early Christian mentions of Caesarea in the apostolic period follow the acts of Peter who established the church there when he baptized Cornelius the Centurion (Acts, 10, 11). The Apostle Paul often sojourned there (9:30; 18:22; 21:8), and was imprisoned at Caesarea for two years before being taken to Rome (23:23, 25:1-13). [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Harbor at Caesarea

The Harbor at Caesarea Perhaps one of the most impressive parts of ancient Caesarea was its harbor, Sebastos. At the time it was built in the 1st century BC, Sebastos Harbor ranked as the largest artificial harbor built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 m2[9][10]. King Herod built the two moles, or breakwaters, of the harbor between 22 and 15 BC[11], and in 10/9 BC he dedicated the city and harbor to Caesar (Sebastos is Greek for Augustus)[12]. The speed of the harbor’s construction is stunning considering its size and complexity. The moles were made of lime and pozzolana, a type of volcanic ash, that would set into concrete underwater. Herod imported over 24,000 m3 of pozzolana from Puteoli, Italy, in order to construct the 500 meter long southern breakwater and 275 meter long northern breakwater[13]. At a conservative estimate, a shipment of this size would have required at least 44 shiploads of 400 tons each[11]. Herod also had 12,000 m3 of kurkar quarried to make rubble and 12,000 m3 of slaked lime produced to mix with the pozzolana. However, constructing the moles was just as complicated as obtaining the materials. In order to build the moles, architects had to devise a way to lay the wooden forms for the concrete moles underwater. One technique was to drive stakes into the ground to make a box and then fill the box with pozzolana concrete bit by bit[9]. However, this method required lots of divers to spend large amounts of time underwater hammering in the stakes and it also used a lot of the valuable pozzolana. Another technique was a double planking method used in the northern breakwater. On land, carpenters would construct a box with beams and frames on the inside and a watertight, double-planked wall on the outside. This double wall was built with a 23 cm gap between the inner and outer layer[14]. Although the box had no bottom, it was buoyant enough to float out to sea because of the watertight space between the inner and outer walls. Once it was floated into position, pozzolana was poured into the gap between the two walls and the box would sink into place on the seafloor and be staked down in the corners. The flooded inside area was then filled by divers bit by bit with pozzolana-lime mortar and kurkar rubble until it rose above sea level[14]. On the southern breakwater of Sebastos Harbor, another type of construction, called barge construction, was used. The southern side of Sebastos is much more exposed to harsh waves than the northern side, leading it to need sturdier breakwaters. Instead of using the double planked method filled with rubble, the architects constructing the southern breakwater sank barges filled with layers of pozzolana concrete and lime sand mortar. The barges were similar to boxes without lids, and they were constructed using mortise and tenon joints, the same technique used in ancient boats, to ensure they remained watertight. The barges were ballasted with 0.5 meters of pozzolana concrete and floated out to their position. Alternating layers of pozzolana based and lime based concretes were hand placed inside the barge to sink it and fill it up to the surface[14]. During its height, Sebastos Harbor was one of the most impressive harbors of its time. It had been constructed on a coast that had no natural harbors and it served as an important commercial harbor in antiquity, even rivaling Cleopatra’s harbor at Alexandria. The ancient historian Josephus was so impressed with the harbor at Caesarea he wrote, "Although the location was generally unfavorable, [Herod] contended with the difficulties so well that the solidity of the construction could not be overcome by the sea, and its beauty seemed finished off without impediment."[15] However, while the harbor was impressive on the surface, it had some underlying problems that would soon lead to its demise. Studies of the concrete cores of the moles at Caesarea have shown that the concrete is much weaker than similar pozzolana hydraulic concrete used in various ancient Italian ports. For unknown reasons, the pozzolana mortar did not adhere as well to the kurkar rubble as it did to other rubble types used in Italian harbors[13]. Small but numerous holes in some of the cores also indicate that the lime used was of poor quality and was stripped out of the mixture by strong waves before it could set[13]. Also, large lumps of lime were found in all five of the cores studied at Caesarea, which shows that the pozzolana-lime mixture was not mixed thoroughly, perhaps due to the incredibly rapid construction of the harbor[13]. These structural deficits probably would not have seriously affected the harbor’s stability, except for one other detail – the harbor had been constructed over a geological fault line that runs along the coast of Israel. Seismic action gradually took its toll on the breakwaters, causing them to tilt down and settle into the seabed[15]. Also, studies of seabed deposits at Caesarea have shown that a tsunami struck the area sometime between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD[16]. Although it is unknown if this tsunami simply damaged or completely destroyed the harbor, it is known that by the sixth century AD the harbor was unusable and today the moles rest over 5 meters underwater[17]. [Wikipedia]

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Pontius Pilate Inscription

In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheatre near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima) and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is a monumental inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea." It reads: Line One: TIBERIEUM, Line Two: (PON) TIUS, Line Three: (PRAEF) ECTUS IUDA (EAE). This is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to Caesarea's theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It is interesting as well that there have been a few bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate. [Bible History Online]

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Caesarea Harbor Drawing and Photo

In 10 B.C. Augustus Caesar decided to rebuild a small coastal station called Strato's Tower into a new city, which would be renamed Caesarea Maritima, in honor of Augustus. He allotted the task to the architectural mastermind Herod the Great. Herod built a harbor at Caesarea that would become one of the wonders of the ancient world. He built a massive breakwater which formed a horseshoe of protection around the whole bay. On the coast he built some of the most impressive works of architecture in the Roman world. He built an amphitheater, a citadel, a palace, a hippodrome, city walls and gates, paved squares with huge statues, and other marvels of Graeco-Roman civilization. It was here in Caesarea where the prefect Pontius Pilate lived, the foundation of his house was on a rock in the middle of the harbor and is still there to this day... [Bible History Online]

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Location of Cana

There are four villages in Galilee which are candidates for biblical Cana: 1.Kafr Kanna, Israel; 2.Kenet-el-Jalil, Israel; 3.Ain Kana, Israel; and 4.Qana, Lebanon. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1914, a tradition dating back to the 8th century identifies Cana with the modern Arab town of Kafr Kanna, about 7 km northeast of Nazareth, Israel. However more recent scholars have suggested alternatives, including the ruined village of Kenet-el-Jalil (also known as Khirbet Kana), about 9 km further north, and Ain Kana, which is closer to Nazareth and considered by some to be a better candidate on etymological grounds. The village of Qana, in southern Lebanon, is another candidate for the location. Many Lebanese, Christians and Muslims, believe the village to be the correct site. This is not a matter on which certainty is ever likely to be achieved. [Wikipedia]

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The Marriage at Cana

Among Christians and other students of the New Testament, Cana is best known as the place where, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus performed his first public miracle, the turning of a large quantity of water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11) when the wine provided by the bridegroom had run out (see Jars of Cana). Although none of the synoptic gospels records the event, mainstream Christian tradition holds that this is the first public miracle of Jesus.[1] However in John's gospel it has considerable symbolic importance: it is the first of the seven miraculous "signs" by which Jesus's divine status is attested, and around which the gospel is structured. It is still a matter of discussion among theologians whether the story talks of an actual material transformation of water into wine, or is a spiritual allegory. Interpreted allegorically, the good news and hope implied by the story is in the words of the Governor of the Feast when he tasted the good wine, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10, NRSV). This could be interpreted by saying simply that it is always darkest before the dawn, but good things are on the way. The more usual interpretation, however, is that this is a reference to the appearance of Jesus, whom the author of the Fourth Gospel regards as being himself the good wine[2]. The story has had considerable importance in the development of Christian pastoral theology. The gospel account of Jesus being invited to a wedding, attending, and using his divine power to save the celebrations from disaster are taken as evidence of his approval for marriage and earthly celebrations, in contrast to the more austere views of Saint Paul as found, for example, in 1 Corinthians 7 [1]. It has also been used as an argument against Christian teetotalism[3]. Other references to Cana The other biblical references to Cana are in John 4:46, which mentions Jesus is visiting Cana when he is asked to heal the son of a royal official at Capernaum; and John 21:2, where it is mentioned that the apostle Nathanael (usually identified with the Bartholomew included in the synoptic gospels' lists of apostles) comes from Cana. Cana of Galilee is not mentioned in any other book of the Bible, nor in any other contemporary source. [Wikipedia]

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The Mount of Olives in Wikipedia

The Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, Hebrew: הר הזיתים‎, Har HaZeitim ;Arabic: جبل الزيتون, الطور‎, Jebel az-Zeitun) is a mountain ridge in east Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south.[1] The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters (2,683 ft).[2] It is named for the olive groves that covers its slopes. The Mount of Olives is associated with Jewish and Christian traditions.

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Ancient History of the Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee lies on the ancient Via Maris, which linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Greeks, Hasmoneans, and Romans founded flourishing towns and settlements on the land-locked lake including Gadara, Hippos and Tiberias. The first-century historian Flavius Josephus was so impressed by the area that he wrote, "One may call this place the ambition of Nature." Josephus also reported a thriving fishing industry at this time, with 230 boats regularly working in the lake. Much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of Lake Galilee. In those days, there was a continuous ribbon development of settlements and villages around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic gospels of Mark (1:14-20), Matthew (4:18-22), and Luke (5:1-11) describe how Jesus recruited four of his apostles from the shores of Lake Galilee: the fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew and the brothers John and James. One of Jesus' famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the lake. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, and his feeding five thousand people (in Tabgha). In 135 CE the second Jewish revolt against the Romans was put down. The Romans responded by banning all Jews from Jerusalem. The center of Jewish culture and learning shifted to the region of the Kinneret, particularly the city of Tiberias. It was in this region that the so-called "Jerusalem Talmud" is thought to have been compiled. In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's significance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims. This led to the growth of a full-fledged tourist industry, complete with package tours and plenty of comfortable inns. The lake's importance declined when the Byzantines lost control and area came under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate and subsequent Islamic empires. Apart from Tiberias, the major towns and cities in the area were gradually abandoned.[citation needed] The palace Khirbat al-Minya was built by the lake during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I (705-715 CE). In 1187, Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusades at the Battle of Hattin, largely because he was able to cut the Crusaders off from the valuable fresh water of the Sea of Galilee. [Wikipedia]

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History of Abu Ghosh

Abu Ghosh is one of the most ancient inhabited sites in Israel.[1] Archaeological excavations have revealed 3 neolithic settlement phases, the middle phase is dated to the 7th millennium BCE. Its old Arabic name of Qaryat al'Inab has led Abu Ghosh to be identified with the biblical site of Kiryat Ye'arim. A Greek inscription unearthed in the ruins of a Roman fort show that the Tenth Legion of the Roman army had a station house in Abu Ghosh.[1] The village has also been associated with Anathoth, the birthplace of the prophet Jeremiah. [Wikipedia]

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Travel to Ashkelon

Ashkelon or Ashqelon is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, 50 Km (40 minutes by bus) to the south of Tel Aviv. Ashkelon is one of the oldest cities in Israel and has history that goes back more than 5,000 years. Ashkelon is especially famous for its history as one of ancient Philistines major cities and in the biblical story of Samson. The ruins of many civilizations such as the Canaanites and Byzantines are located underneath the city. Many artifacts that have been recovered in archaeological digs are on display around the city. Good samples can be seen in the national park and in Afridar center. The city has been part of Israel since the 1948 independence war. Since then, the city has become a center for several waves of Jewish immigrants ("olim"). Newcomers from Iraq, Morocco, the ex-USSR and Ethiopia are the majority population. Since most of them came with little or no money, the city socio-economy status has generally been low. In recent years, its seaside location has attracted wealthier populations. But the occasional rockets that have been launched towards Ashkelon from Gaza in recent years have put a new damper on its growth. On the south-facing windows of newly constructed apartment buildings, you can see sliding metal covers designed to minimize the damage caused by bombardments. Note that the beach line in Ashkelon is by far cleaner than the ones in the central region of Israel, and there are few lovely hotels along it.

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Travel to Avdat

Avdat is an archaeological location in the Negev region of southern Israel, now preserved as a National Park and host to thousands of visitors each year, attracted by the atmospheric desert location, the quietly spectacular Nabataean ruins and insights into desert ecology and lifestyle. It is the filming location for Jesus Christ Superstar.

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Ancient History of Acre

Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Israel.[4] The name Aak, which appears on the tribute-lists of Thutmose III (c. 16th century BC), may be a reference to Acre.[citation needed] The Amarna letters also mention a place named Akka,[5] as well as the Execration texts, that pre-date them.[6] In the Hebrew Bible, (Judges 1:31), Akko is one of the places from which the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanites. It was in the territory of the tribe of Asher. According to Josephus, Akko was ruled by one of Solomon's provincial governors. Throughout the period of Israelite rule, it was politically affiliated with Phoenicia rather than the Philistines. Around 725 BC, Akko joined Sidon and Tyre in a revolt against Shalmaneser V.[7] [Wikipedia]

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Greek and Roman History of Acre

Greek historians refer to the city as Ake, meaning "cure." According to the Greek myth, Heracles found curative herbs here to heal his wounds.[8] Josephus calls it Akre. The name was changed to Antiochia Ptolemais shortly after Alexander the Great's conquest, and then to Ptolemais, probably by Ptolemy Soter, after the partition of the kingdom of Alexander the Great.[9] Strabo refers to the city as once a rendezvous for the Persians in their expeditions against Egypt. About 165 BC Judas Maccabeus defeated the Syrians in many battles in Galilee, and drove them into Ptolemais. About 153 BC Alexander Balas, son of Antiochus Epiphanes, contesting the Syrian crown with Demetrius, seized the city, which opened its gates to him. Demetrius offered many bribes to the Maccabees to obtain Jewish support against his rival, including the revenues of Ptolemais for the benefit of the Temple in Jerusalem, but in vain. Jonathan Maccabaeus threw in his lot with Alexander, and in 150 BC he was received by him with great honour in Ptolemais. Some years later, however, Tryphon, an officer of the Syrians, who had grown suspicious of the Maccabees, enticed Jonathan into Ptolemais and there treacherously took him prisoner. The city was captured by Alexander Jannaeus, Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Tigranes II of Armenia. Here Herod built a gymnasium, and here the Jews met Petronius, sent to set up statues of the emperor in the Temple, and persuaded him to turn back. St Paul spent a day in Ptolemais (Acts 21:7). A Roman colonia was established at the city, Colonia Claudii Cæsaris.[citation needed] After the permanent division of the Roman Empire in 395 CE, Akko was administered by the Eastern (later Byzantine) Empire. [Wikipedia]

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Ancient Arad

Ancient Arad is located in the Negev, some 30 km. northeast of Beer Sheva, on a hill that rises 40 m. above the surrounding plain. During the 18 seasons of excavation conducted from 1962- 1984, it became clear that the remains of ancient Arad are located in two separate areas and are from two distinct periods. The Canaanite city (3rd millennium BCE) was located mainly on the southern slope of the hill. On the summit of this hill, several fortresses were built in the period of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah (10th-6th centuries BCE) and also later, during the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods (5th century BCE to 4th century CE). In the Early Arab period (7th-10th century), a fortified caravansary was established to protect the trade routes which passed there. Arad is mentioned in the Bible in the story of the failed attempt to reach the Promised Land (Numbers 21:1) and in the list of the Canaanite kings defeated by the Children of Israel. (Joshua 12:14) There exists, however, a historical-chronological problem with this biblical account, as there is no evidence that Tel (Heb., mound) Arad was inhabited during the Late Bronze Age. Scholars suggest that the King of Arad mentioned in the Bible was in fact the ruler of the Kingdom of Arad, "the Negev of Arad" (Judges 1:16), whose capital was another city. (Jewish Virtual Library)

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Canaanite History of Ashkelon

Ashkelon was the oldest and largest seaport in Canaan, one of the "five cities" of the Philistines, north of Gaza and south of Jaffa (Yafa). The city was originally built on a sandstone outcropping and has a good underground water supply. It was relatively large as an ancient city with as many as 15,000 people living inside walls a mile and a half (2.4 km) long, 50 feet (15 m) high and 150 feet (50 m) thick. Ashkelon was a thriving Middle Bronze Age (2000–1550 BCE) city of more than 150 acres (61 ha), with commanding ramparts including the oldest arched city gate in the world, eight feet wide, and even as a ruin still standing two stories high. The thickness of the walls was so great that the mudbrick Bronze Age gate had a stone-lined tunnel-like barrel vault, coated with white plaster, to support the superstructure: it is the oldest such vault ever found. The Bronze Age ramparts were so capacious that later Roman and Islamic fortifications, faced with stone, followed the same footprint, a vast semicircle protecting Ashkelon on the landward side. On the sea it was defended by a high natural bluff. Within the huge ramparts, in the ruins of a sanctuary, a votive silver calf was found in 1991. During the Canaanite period, a roadway more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in width ascended the rampart from the harbor and entered a gate at the top. Nearby, in the ruins of a small ceramic tabernacle was found a finely cast bronze statuette of a bull calf, originally silvered, 4 inches (100 mm) long. Images of calves and bulls were associated with the worship of the Canaanite gods El and Baal. The Amarna letters correspondence of Ashkelon/(Ašqaluna), of 1350 BC, contains seven letters to the Egyptian pharaoh, from its 'King'/mayor: Yidya. Yidya was the only ruler of Ašqaluna during the 15–20-year time period. One letter from the pharaoh to Yidya was discovered in the early 1900s.

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Philistine History of Ashkelon

The Philistines conquered Canaanite Ashkelon about 1150 BC. Their earliest pottery, types of structures and inscriptions are similar to the early Greek urbanised centre at Mycenae in mainland Greece, adding weight to the hypothesis that the Philistines were possibly one of the populations among the "Sea Peoples" that upset cultures throughout the eastern Mediterranean at that time. Ashkelon became one of the five Philistine cities that were constantly warring with the Israelites and the Kingdom of Judah. According to Herodotus, its temple of Venus was the oldest of its kind, imitated even in Cyprus, and he mentions that this temple was pillaged by marauding "Scythians" during the time of their sway over the Medes (653–625 BCE). When this vast seaport, the last of the Philistine cities to hold out against Nebuchadnezzar finally fell in 604 BCE, burnt and destroyed and its people taken into exile, the Philistine era was over.

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Roman and Jewish History of Ashkelon

Roman era Ashkelon was soon rebuilt. Until the conquest of Alexander the Great, Ashkelon's inhabitants were influenced by the dominant Persian culture. It is at this archaeological layer that excavations have found dog burials. It is believed the dogs may have had a sacred role, however evidence is not conclusive. After the conquest of Alexander in the 4th Century BCE, Ashkelon was an important Hellenistic seaport. Queen Cleopatra VII used Ashkelon as her place of refuge when her brother and sister exiled her in 49 BCE. She organized an army on the site but did not need to use it due to Julius Caesar's arrival in Alexandria. [edit] Jewish era The Jews of Judea Province drove the Greeks out of the region in the Maccabean Revolt, which lasted from 167-160 CE. The Hasmonean Kingdom was then established, and Ashkelon became part of it. The Hasmonean kingdom fell in 37 BCE, and the area was placed under the rule of Herod the Great, a Jewish client king of the Roman Empire. Ashkelon may have even been his birthplace. Josephus states Ashkelon was not ceded to Herod the Great in 30 BC[4], yet he built monumental buildings there: bath houses, elaborate fountains and large colonnades.[5] The city remained loyal to Rome during the First Jewish Revolt, 66–70 CE, and in the following centuries it grew to be an important centre. It appears on a fragment of the 6th century CE Madaba Map.[Wikipedia]

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Ancient History of Avdat

Before the end of the 1st century BCE a temple platform (the acropolis) was created along the western edge of the plateau. Recent excavations have shown that the town continued to be inhabited by the Nabataeans continuously from this period until its destruction by earthquake in the early 7th century CE. Sometime towards the end of the 1st century BCE the Nabataeans began using a new route between the site of Moyat Awad in the Arabah valley and Avdat by way of Makhtesh Ramon. Nabataean or Roman Nabataean sites have been found at excavated at Moyat Awad (mistakenly called Moa of the 6th century CE Madeba Map), Qatzra, Har Masa, Mezad Nekarot, Sha'ar Ramon (Khan Saharonim), Mezad Ma'ale Mahmal and Grafon. Avdat continued to prosper as a major station along the Petra-Gaza road after the Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE. Avdat, like other towns in the central Negev highlands, adjusted to the cessation of international trade through the region in the early to mid 3rd century by adopting agriculture, and particularly the production of wine, as its means of subsistence. Numerous terraced farms and water channels were built throughout the region in order to collect enough run-off from winter rains to support agriculture in the hyper arid zone of southern Israel. At least five wine presses dated to the Byzantine period have been found at the site. [Wikipedia]

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Avdat in Wikipedia

Avdat (Hebrew: עבדת‎, from Arabic: عبدات‎, Abdat), also known as Ovdat or Obodat was the most important historic city on the Incense Route after Petra between the 7th and the 1st centuries BCE. It was inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans and Byzantines.[1] It was a seasonal camping ground for Nabataean caravans travelling along the early Petra - Gaza road (Darb es-Sultan) in the 3rd - late 2nd century BCE. Avdat was named for Nabataean King Obodas I who was revered as a deity and, according to tradition, was buried there.

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Travel to Beer Sheva

Beer Sheva is at first sight highly disappointing for any visitor. As one enters the city, the oversized avenues and partially run down residential building blocks from the fifties and sixties make for an unwelcoming first impression. However, Beer Sheva can be of interest for any traveller who wishes to experience Israel off-the- beaten-track and there might be no better place to do this, since not even most Israelis are aware that Beer Sheva can be much more than only a stopover on the way to Eilat. The old Turkish town, as run down as it might be, has a very distinct feel and a is hugely underrated: it is the only planned Ottoman city in the entire region, erected in 1900 for strategic reasons in order to secure the Negev region and to control the restive Bedouin population. Today, the architectural and historical jewels, culinary highlights, highly welcoming people and the provincial atmosphere of Beer Sheva allow for the visitor to explore the "normal" and "unpretentious" Israel beyond Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. In addition to that, Beer Sheva offers a vibrant student community - based around the University - which has developed a great nightlife one would never expect at first sight. Beer Sheva and its surroundings give a feel of Israels strength. On the way down from the North, endless fields with agriculture have replaced desolate dessert; as Isaiah prophesied: "Thirsty deserts will be glad; barren lands will celebrate and blossom with flowers". Also, like Tel-Aviv, a modern skyskraper city has been created out of virtually nothing. Yet, an exciting feel of desert has remained, as Beer Sheva looks with one side right into the Negev desert.

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Ancient History of Beersheba

The town was founded by the Israelites during the 10th century BC, on the site of what is today referred to as Tel Be'er Sheva, after the land was conquered by King David. The ruins of the original Israelite settlement remain largely intact. The site was probably chosen due to the abundance of water, as evidenced by the numerous wells in the area. According to the Bible, the wells were dug by Abraham and Isaac when they arrived there. The streets were laid out in a grid, with separate areas for administrative, commercial, military, and residential use. According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheba was the southernmost city of the territories actually settled by Israelites, hence the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" to describe the whole kingdom.[5] Beersheba is mentioned in the Book of Genesis in connection with Abraham the Patriarch and his pact with Abimelech. Isaac built an altar in Beersheba (Genesis 26:23–33). Jacob had his dream about a stairway to heaven after leaving Beersheba. (Genesis 28:10–15 and 46:1–7). Beersheba was the territory of the tribe of Shimon and Judah (Joshua 15:28 and 19:2). The prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheba when Jezebel ordered him killed (I Kings 19:3). The sons of the prophet Samuel were judges in Beersheba (I Samuel 8:2). Saul, Israel's first king, built a fort for his campaign against the Amalekites (I Samuel 14:48 and 15:2–9). The prophet Amos mentions the city in regard to idolatry (Amos 5:5 and 8:14).[5] Following the Babylonian conquest and subsequent enslavement of many Israelites, the town was abandoned. After the slaves returned from Babylon, the town was resettled. Roman and Byzantine era. During the Roman and later Byzantine periods, the town served as a front-line defense against Nabatean attacks. The last inhabitants of Tel Be'er-Sheva were the Byzantines, who abandoned the city during the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century. [Wikipedia]

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Banias in Wikipedia

Banias (or Paneas; Greek: Πανειάς; Arabic: بانياس الحولة‎; Hebrew: בניאס‎) is an archaeological site by the uninhabited former city of Caesarea Philippi, located at the foot of Mount Hermon (Ba'al-Hermon, Arabic: جبل الشيخ‎, Jabal esh-Shaiykh, Hebrew: הר חרמון‎, Har Hermon) in the Golan Heights. The site is 150 km north of Jerusalem and 60 km southwest of Damascus. The city was located within the region known as the "Panion" (the region of the Greek god Pan), and is named after the deity associated with the grotto and shrines close to the spring called "Paneas". The temenos (sacred precinct) included a temple, courtyards, a grotto and niches for rituals, and was dedicated to Pan. It was constructed on an elevated, 80m long natural terrace along the cliff which towered over the north of the city. A four-line inscription at the base of one of the niches relates to Pan and Echo, the mountain nymph, and was dated to 87 CE. In the distant past, a giant spring gushed from a cave set in the limestone bedrock, to tumble down the valley and flow into the Hula marshes. Currently it is the source of the Nahal Hermon stream. Whereas the Jordan River previously rose from the malaria-infested Hula marshes, it now rises from this spring and two others at the base of Mount Hermon. The flow of the spring has decreased greatly in modern times.[1] The water no longer gushes forth from the cave, but only seeps from the bedrock below it.

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Ancient History of Banias

Ancient Roman Herodian. Upon Zenodorus's death in 20 BC, the Panion (Greek: ÐáíéÜò), which included Paneas, was annexed to the Kingdom of Herod the Great.[10] Herod erected a temple of 'white marble' in Paneas in honour of his patron. In 3 BCE, Philip II (also known as Philip the Tetrarch) founded a city at Paneas, which became the administrative capital of Philip's large tetrarchy of Batanaea, encompassing the Golan and the Hauran. In his Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus refers to the city as Caesarea Paneas; the New Testament as Caesarea Philippi, to distinguish it from Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast.[11][12] In 14 CE Philip II named it Caesarea (in honour of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus) and 'made improvements' to the city. His image was placed on a coin issued in 29/30 CE to commemorate the city's foundation. This was considered as idolatrous by Jews, but followed in the Idumean tradition of Zenodorus.[13] On the death of Philip II in 34 CE the tetrachy was incorporated into the province of Syria with the city given the autonomy to administer its own revenues.[14] In 61 CE, king Agrippa II renamed the administrative capital Neronias in honour of the Roman emperor Nero, but this name was discarded several years later, in 68 CE.[15] Agrippa also carried out urban improvements[16] During the First Jewish–Roman War, Vespasian rested his troops at Caesarea Philippi over July 67 CE, holding games for a period of 20 days before advancing on Tiberias to crush the Jewish resistance in Galilee.[17] Gospel association. In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is said to have approached the area near the city, but without entering the city itself. While in this area, he asked his closest disciples who men thought him to be. Accounts of their answers, including the Confession of Peter, are to be found in the Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as in the Gospel of Thomas. In the Gospel of Mark, they replied that Jesus was thought to be John the Baptist, Elias, or some other prophet, although Saint Peter gave his own view and confessed his belief that Jesus was the messiah (Christ). Jesus predicted his destiny, for which Peter rebuked him. In Matthew, Peter's expression of belief that Jesus was the Messiah is the occasion for Jesus designating Peter's confession as the rock on which the Church was to be built--the fact that Jesus is the Christ. In Luke, the site where this is said to have occurred is located near Bethsaida, after the Sermon on the Mount, and Peter affirms his belief Jesus is 'the Christ of God'. In all three gospels, the apostles are asked to keep this revelation as secret.[18][19] A woman from Paneas, who had been bleeding for 12 years, is said to have been miraculously cured by Jesus. According to tradition, after she had been cured, she had a statue of Christ erected.[20] [Wikipedia]

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Travel to Beit Shean

Beth Shean is a large town in the Galilee region of northern Israel. Located in the Beth Shean Valley, part of the northern Jordan Valley, Beth Shean lies completely below sea level. Beth Shean is the regional center of Beth Shean Valley. Beth Shean has been inhabited since biblical times (there are several instances where it is mentioned in the bible). Today there are several archaeological sites from different time periods.

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Travel to Beit She'an

Israel Christian tours often visit a multitude of the most holy and interesting sites, such as Beit Shean. The capital of the Decapolis cities, the first believers in Jesus must have been very familiar with Beit Shean as it is where word of the miracles and teachings of Jesus spread (Matt. 4:25, Mark 5:20). Beit Shean was the site nearly a millennium earlier where the body of Saul was hung by Philistines (1 Sam. 31:10). Visitors are able to experience and appreciate the wealth of history that has take place in Beit Shean first-hand-wandering the streets, studying columns brought down by the earthquake of 749 AD, enjoying the theater that is once again in use, etc. You will enjoy touring this area and the surrounding countryside from Gilead to Jezreel and Gilboa on your pilgrimage to Israel, once dubbed "the gateway to the Garden of Eden", that is still lush and beautiful. Samuel 31:8-13 8 On the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth; and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan; and they came to Jabesh and burnt them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted seven days. (America Israel Travel)

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Ancient History of Beit She'an

History and geography. Beit She'an's location has often been strategically significant, as it sits at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley, essentially controlling access from the interior to the coast, as well as from Jerusalem to the Galilee. Its name is believed to derive from the early Canaanite "house of tranquility". Beit She'an is first listed among Thutmose III's conquests in the fifteenth century BC, and the remains of an Egyptian administrative center from the XVIII and XIX dynasties have been excavated. The Bible mentions it as a Canaanite city within the tribe of Manasseh in the Book of Joshua, chapter 17, verse 11 (also Book of Judges 1:27), and its conquest by David and inclusion in the later kingdom is noted, and large Solomonic administrative buildings destroyed by Tiglath-pileser III were uncovered from this period.[3] Its ninth century BC biblical capture by the Pharaoh Shishaq is corroborated by his victory list. [Wikipedia]

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Ancient History of Scythopolis

During the Hellenistic period it had a Hellenised population and was called Scythopolis, probably named after the Scythian mercenaries who settled there as veterans, and Greek mythology has the city founded by Dionysus and his nursemaid Nysa buried there; thus it was known as Nysa-Scythopolis. Beit She'an is mentioned in 3rd-2nd centuries BC written sources describing the Syrian Wars between the Ptolemid and Seleucid dynasties, as well as in the context of the Hasmonean Maccabee Revolt, who ultimately destroyed the polis in the 2nd century BC.[3] In 63 BC it was taken by the Romans, refounded, and made a part of the Decapolis, a loose confederation of ten cities that were centers of Greco-Roman culture, an event so significant that it based its calendar on that year. Pax Romana favoured the city, evidenced by its high-level urban planning and extensive construction including the best preserved Roman theatre of ancient Samaria as well as a hippodrome, cardo, and other trademarks of the Roman influence. Mount Gilboa, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) away, provided dark basalt blocks as well as water via an aqueduct. Many of the buildings of Scythopolis were damaged in the Galilee earthquake of 363, and in 409 it became the capital of the northern district, Palaestina Secunda.[3] During the 4th-7th century Byzantine period, Beit She'an was primarily Christian, as attested to by the large number of churches, but evidence of Jewish habitation and a Samaritan synagogue indicate established communities of these minorities. The pagan temple in the city centre was destroyed, but the nymphaeum and Roman baths were restored. Many dedicatory inscriptions indicate a preference for donations to religious buildings, and many colourful mosaics, such as that featuring the zodiac in the Monastery of Lady Mary, or the one picturing a menorah and shalom in the House of Leontius' Jewish synagogue, were preserved. A Samaritan synagogue's mosaic was unique in abstaining from human or animal images, instead utilising floral and geometrical motifs. Elaborate decorations were also found in the settlement's many luxurious villas, and in the 6th century especially, the city reached its maximum size of 40,000 and spread beyond its period city walls. [Wikipedia]

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Caesarea Philippi in Smiths Bible Dictionary

is mentioned only in the first two Gospels, Mt 16:13; Mr 8:27 and in accounts of the same transactions. It was at the easternmost and most important of the two recognized sources of the Jordan, the other being at Tel-el-Kadi. The spring rises from and the city was built on a limestone terrace in a valley at the base of Mount Hermon 20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. It was enlarged by Herod Philip, and named after Caesar, with his own name added to distinguish it from Caesarea. Its present name is Banias, a village of some 50 houses, with many interesting ruins. Caesarea Philippi has no Old Testament history, though it has been not unreasonably identified with Baal-gad. It was visited by Christ shortly before his transfiguration, Mt 16:13-28 and was the northern limit of his journeys. Mr 8:27

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