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Mt. Arbel - ?? ????
One of the most spectacular views and breathtaking panoramas in Israel can be found here in the lower Galilee region. Like so many other places in Israel, however, the view gives no hint of the rich Jewish history lying beneath the surface.
Mount Arbel (or Har Arbel) is a mountain in The Lower Galilee near Tiberias in Israel, that has split into two after an earthquake. The other half of is Mt. Nitai. On the mountain there are four settlements: Kfar Zeitim, Arbel, Kfar Hittim, and Mitspeh. The peak, at 282 meters above sea level (481 meters above the surrounding area), dominates the entire surroundings (much of the area is below sea level) and from the lookout atop the mountain, one can see almost all of the Galilee into the Golan Heights including Safed, Tiberias and most of the Sea of Galilee.
Near the mountain remain the ruins of an ancient Jewish settlement including a Synagogue from the fourth century C.E. with extend pews and columns, and dug into the mountain itself are a number of cliff dwellings. The extant cliff dwellings are from the 17th century and were built by the Druze though there are documented Jewish cliff dwellings dating back to the Second Commonwealth in the area. Josephus writes about the Roman conquest of some of the last Hasmonean rebels who dwelt in the cliffs of Mt Arbel.
On the south side, there is a gradual prolonged climb through agricultural and pasture land while on the other, there is a very steep 400 meters drop. At the top of the steeper Northern side, there are metal handholds driven into the rock because the climb is so steep. Below that are a series of switchbacks that eventually lead to the Bedouin village of Hamaam.
The famous Battle of Hittim (or Hattin) - also known as "The Horns of Hittim" (or Hattin) because of a nearby extinct volcano of the same name - took place on Saturday, July 4, 1187, between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the forces of the Ayyubid dynasty.
The Muslim armies under Saladin captured or killed the vast majority of the Crusader forces, removing their capability to wage war. As a direct result of the battle, Islamic forces once again became the eminent military power in the Holy Land, reconquering Jerusalem and several other Crusader-held cities.
In 2008, it was announced that a new golf course resort would be constructed at a cost of $150 million, on land owned by Kfar Hittim on Mount Arbel. The resort which should open in 2011, will cater for between 600-900 people as well as creating 300-400 jobs.
Mt. Arbel, with its 110 meters vertical drop, is the only known mountain in Israel to serve as a base jumping site. The hike to the top of Mount Arbel is included in the Israel National Trail.
The spring is a beautiful time for a visit to this spot. The hills and fields are awash with color after the winter rains, and it is not yet too hot to hike in this region of the country.
The scoring of difficulty and terrain is variable: If you come by tourist bus it is only a short easy walk. On the other hand, if you start from the base of Arbel it is a significant hike.
You can reach the cache through a buil-up area. Here you have to pay for the services, and you have to count with regulated opening hours as well. However the blue, black trails, and Israel National Trail can lead you to the cache for free (without extra services).
Please be careful. The cache is near to the edge.
Israel National Trail
Israel National Trail - Wikipedia
Mt Arbel - Wikipedia
Jesus Trail - Mt Arbel
Mt Nitai - Wikipedia
Battle of Hattin - Wikipedia
Please note that it's not an abandoned vacation cache, as I asked at first some kind of approval from local geocachers, and Irisvo and Isracacher kindly offered their help in maintenance. Many thanks for them.
Va n ubyr haqre/orgjrra gjb ovttre ebpxf, pbirerq ol fgbarf. Frr fcbvyre vzntrf.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum