Upper Galilee and the Golan Sights

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Gamla Nature Reserve

Gamla Nature Reserve Review

Aside from the inspiring history of "the Masada of the North," the beauty of Gamla's rugged terrain, softened in spring by greenery and wildflowers, is truly breathtaking. Griffon vultures soar above, and you can often see gazelles bounding through the grasses. The main story of the camel-shaped Gamla (the name Gamla comes from gamal, the Hebrew word for "camel") goes back to the year AD 67, when at the beginning of the Great Revolt, Vespasian launched a bloody attack here that ended seven months later, when the 9,000 surviving Jews flung themselves to their deaths in the abyss below the town. The vivid descriptions of the battle, as written by Flavius Josephus in The Jewish War, are engraved in stones along the trail site: "Built against the almost vertical flank, the town seemed to be hung in the air"—exactly the impression visitors still have as they approach the site.

Because Gamla was never rebuilt, the relics of the battlefield still eerily match the ancient sources, among them the fortifications, 2,000 "missile stones," and a large number of arrowheads. From a much earlier period (probably the 2nd millennium BC), there are about 200 dolmens scattered in the area—strange basalt structures shaped like the Greek letter pi, probably used for burial. There is an excellent film on the story of Gamla at the Golan Archaeological Museum in Katzrin.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Off Rte. 808, Katzrin, 1290000
  • Phone: 04/682–2282
  • Cost: NIS 29
  • Hours: Apr.–Sept. daily 8–5, Oct.–Mar. 8–4; last entry one hour before closing.
  • Location: Gamla Nature Reserve
Updated: 05-16-2013

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