CLOUDS OVER a village on the Golan Heights.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Last week, United States President Donald Trump officially recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Analysts and Israeli surveys have been touting the significance that this move could have on Israel’s security.
But there is more to the Golan Heights than visiting a security fence or looking out at the country's protected, strategic border with Syria.
Here are five fun things to do in Israel’s Golan Heights:
The Black Canyon and Hexagonal Pools
Book a licensed tour guide and enjoy the Black Canyon and the Hexagonal Pools within the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve.
The Black Canyon is a volcanic stone filled with water between the upper and lower Zavitan – the longest stream in the Golan Heights. The Hexagon (Meshushim) Pool is located at the bottom of another deep canyon, walled in with hexagonal basalt rock formations, flowing water and cascades.
Both are exiting challenges for experienced hikers.
Bel Ofri Farm
Located in the village of Kidmat Zvi, Tami and Babi Kabalo established an eco-farm built from recycled materials. According to their website, every corner is connected to Jewish and Israeli tradition.
The farm family’s credo about tourism is direct contact with its guests. as such, a visitor can learn about local art and gastronomy, and become acquainted with the Golan vista and Talmudic era.
In addition, the farm is a refuge for injured, abandoned animals including lambs, goats, peacocks, pigeons, rabbits, marmots, guinea pigs and tortoises. After visitors pet the animals and hear their stories, they can take a tour of the Bel Ofri’s boutique winery with its reconstructed ancient olive press pulled by a mule, organic vegetable patch, working water well and cheese-making enterprise.
Hula Valley Nature Reserve
This location is famous for being a resting place for migrating birds and is considered a most important wet habitat in the Middle East.
There is a wealth of locations within the reserve to sit and watch the birds, as well as to experience various wet environments, like marshes.
This forest is located on a steep mountain ridge in the northern Golan with ravines on both sides and a spectacular view.
The fortress was built around the 13th century by Muslims to defend against a possible Crusader attack. It is the biggest Crusade-era castle in all of Israel.
The Shouting Hill near Majdal Shams
“Shouting Hill” got its name because on Fridays, the Druze villagers gather at the Shouting Hill to shout news (and even marriage proposals), often using megaphones, to their friends and family on the other side of the closed border.
With the advent of mobile phones, the popularity of the Shouting Hill has declined, but there are those that still utilize it. The concept was memorialized in the 2004 movie “The Syrian Bride.”
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