Other Sites Around the Sea of Galilee
Places of Interest
Other Sites of Interest In Northern Israel
Acre (Akko, Acco, Ptolemais)
Located about 9 miles (14 km.) north of Haifa, Acre was one of the best seaports in Israel.
Acre was allotted to the tribe of Asher, but they were never able to conquer it (Josh. 19:24–31; Judg. 1:31).
It was similar to Tyre and Sidon, cities the Israelites failed to conquer. As a result, Acre became a fortress city of unusual strength that stood up against its many attackers.
However, when Assyria arose to power, Acre was conquered and came under its control. When Assyria fell from world power, Acre, along with other Phoenician towns, came under the rule of Babylon, and then later, to Persia.
In the Seleucid period (BC 312–65), Acre rose to prominence in the battles between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. The Ptolemies had control of it during the struggles after the death of Alexander the Great and made it their stronghold on the coast. At this time, the city of Acre was changed to the name Ptolemais. This would be the name it would be known as during the Greek and Roman occupations of Israel. Therefore, the New Testament authors refer to Acre as Ptolemais (Acts 21:7).
In the period of the Crusaders, Acre was the most famous stronghold on the coast. It declined after the Crusader period and fell into the hands of the Ottomans under Selim I in 1516.
This Crusader castle is located on a hill of the Naphtali Plateau, 12 miles (20 km.) south of the Sea of Galilee.
This impressive structure sits about 1,641 ft. (500 m.) above the Jordan Valley, which was a strategic location during the time of the Crusades. Designed to withstand the Muslim invaders, the fortress provided strong combat positioning as well as an amazing view of the surrounding area. Built in 1168 by the Hospitallers order, it withstood a year and a half siege by Saladin’s forces. The structure itself consists of an outer and an inner square fortress. It is still well-preserved, and visitors can explore the grounds while taking in a stunning view of the Jordan Valley, the Sea of Galilee, and the Golan Heights. It is the most complete and preserved Crusader fortress in Israel.
Jezreel, located in the fertile Jezreel Valley, is about 24 miles (38 km.) east of the Mediterranean Sea and about 17 miles (28 km.) southwest of the Sea of Galilee.
Jezreel was a major biblical city, and during the 9th century BC, it was the northern capital of the Israelite Kingdom.
When Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle on Mount Gilboa, news of this event came from Jezreel. Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, became crippled when his nurse fell while carrying him as she ran in haste after hearing the terrible news of Jonathan’s death (2 Sam. 4:4).
After the Kingdom of Israel was divided in around 930 BC, King Ahab made Jezreel one of his royal residences, erecting a palace here (1 Kings 21:1).
At Jezreel lived King Ahab’s wife, who instituted the worship to the false gods of Baal and Asherah. This provoked God to send a drought that lasted 3 years. It ended with the great showdown between Elijah and the 850 false prophets of Baal and Asherah. God sent fire from heaven that consumed Elijah’s altar to show the nation of Israel He was God. Afterward, Elijah killed all the false prophets (1 Kings 18).
The vineyard of Naboth was by King Ahab’s palace in Jezreel. Ahab wanted the vineyard for a vegetable garden, but Naboth refused to sell it. So Ahab’s wicked wife, Jezebel, arranged for Naboth to be wrongly accused and executed so Ahab could rob his land (1 Kings 21).
Apparently, it was on the city's eastern wall from which Jehu entered when he ordered Jezebel (King Ahab’s wife) to be thrown down according to prophecy. Some of her blood spattered on the wall when she landed, and the dogs ate her body (2 Kings 9:30–37).
Nimrod Fortress National Park
Nimrod Fortress is situated in the northernmost part of Israel, just a few miles north of Caesarea Philippi. It’s on a ridge rising some 2,600 ft. (800 m.) above sea level and is the biggest Crusader castle in Israel. The mountain-top stronghold overlooks the deep narrow valley separating Mount Hermon from the Golan Heights and the road linking the Galilee with Damascus (present-day Syria). The Crusaders built it in the Middle Ages to guard this major access route against armies coming from the west. On the eastern edge of the fortress was a large keep (a keep is a fortress within a fortress), protected by large rectangular towers. In the west, it was separated from the main fortress by a moat, accessed by a bridge. The keep served as living quarters for the commander of the fortress. In times of siege, it became an additional defense position. The fortress is named after a biblical hero, the hunter, Nimrod, the great warrior (Gen. 10:8-9) who, according to local tradition, dwelt on this summit.
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