Israel Explored – Northern Galilee

Alleys in Safed, Israel
Safed Alleyways

Day 2 of our Israel Trip started with a visit to Safed. Then wir continued to the source of the River Jordan in the Tel Dan Nature Reserve and onto the ancient Israelite city of Dan. For more photographs and history continue after the jump…

Safed Synagogue
Safed Synagogue

First stop on todays trip was the city of Safed. Located at an elevation of 900 meters, Safed is the highest city in Israel. There we enjoyed a walk through the beautiful old alleyways and had the opportunity to visit a synagogue.

David Star in Safed, Israel
David Star in Safed, Israel
Jordan River Source in Tel Dan, Israel
Source of River Jordan in Tel Dan Nature Reserve

Next stop was the Tel Dan Nature Reserve, which boasts two major attractions. The first, an area of lush forest, is fed by year-round springs that in normal years gush 8 cubic metres of water per second into the Dan River (the most important tributary of the River Jordan). There are some great trails that let you explore the beautiful nature.

Giant Pistachio Tree in Tel Dan Nature Reserve
Giant Pistachio Tree
City Walls of ancient Dan, Israel
Ancient Dan City Walls

The second attraction is the remains of the grand ancient city of Dan, inhabited by the Tribe of Dan in the 18th century BC and the Israelites during the First Temple period (from the 12th century BC). The Bible describes the Tribe of Dan with 600 men brutally defeating the people of Laish and burning the town to the ground, and then building their own town in the same spot. 

Dan City Gate

During the Israelite period in the Iron Age, Dan was a large city. Still visible today is the Israelite gate, where the ancient kings received the visitors to the city, that was heavily fortified.

City Gate of Dan, Israel
Abrahams Gate

On another part of the city wall is the restored Bronze Age gate, made of mud bricks on top of megalithic basalt blocks and believed to be constructed around 1750 BC. The gate is also known as “Abraham’s Gate”, due to the biblical story that Abraham travelled to Dan to rescue his nephew Lot. The city was on the ancient road from Damascus (which is only about 40km away) to Jerusalem.

Abraham’s Gate is the oldest surviving mud brick gate in the world. Today it is covered by a protective roof.

Reconstruction of the ancient city gate of Dan, Israel
Reconstruction of Abrahams Gate
Mouth of the River Jordan
River Jordan’s mouth into the Sea of Galilee

While on the way back to the Kibbuz Hotel where we are staying, we passed the mouth of the River Jordan into the Sea of Galilee.

Tomorrow we will head towards Jerusalem, passing Jesus’ baptism site on the River Jordan, the Dead Sea, ancient Qumran and the famous Masada fortress. Stay tuned for another episode of Israel Explored.

All Images taken with the with the Leica SL2-S with the Vario-Elmarit-SL 1:2.8/24-70 ASPH or the iPhone 12 Pro Max

For tips and inspirations around photography check out my free Learning Center.

Have a great Wednesday

Marcus

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