I am trying to make full and holistic description of this unique region in Israel
28.07.2009 30 °C
The Galilee is not a large region. A mere 100 kilometers separate its northern border, the peak of Mount Hermon, from its southernmost boundary along the Jezreel Plain, the site of biblical Armageddon.
Its eastern reaches, on the far edge of the Galilee plateau, lie only 70 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea in the west. But these 7,000 square kilometers encompass amazingly beautiful and contrasting scenery: mountains and valleys, fertile plateaus and stark cliffs, and a glimmering seacoast.
The Galilee’s history starts with the beginning of agriculture.It was here that prehistoric hunter-gatherers discovered the secret of raising crops.The earliest remains of settlements in the Galilee date back four millennia. Canaanites, Israelites, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Crusaders all left their mark on the region. For thousands of years, the Galilee was the gateway to the East. Soldiers, adventurers, and tradesman set out to seek the silks of China, the spices of India, and other sought-after goods. Legendary historical figures such as Richard the Lionhearted, Marco Polo, Louis IX, and Napoleon all made their way through its thoroughfares
Miracles and Mysticism
The Galilee was home to four of the 12 tribes of Israel, as well as many of its prophets, judges, and kings. It was the stage of many biblical dramas including King Saul and Jonathan's battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa and Gideon's "water test" to choose warriors before the battle with the Midianites at the spring of Ein Harod.
Throughout the ages, the Galilee has been the land of sages and apostles. Shimon bar Yohai, regarded as the first Jewish mystic, lived in the Galilee in the second century CE. Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimom (Maimonides), codifier of Jewish Law, world-renowned philosopher and court physician to Egyptian royalty, found his last resting place in the Galilee. Jesus came from the Galilee, as did Peter, Andrew, John, and Bartholomew. Jesus’ ministry was mainly in the Galilee, where he imparted the core of his teachings and performed many miracles including feeding 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes.
The quaint city of Safed , nestled high in the hills, was the center of Jewish mysticism in the wake of the Spanish Inquisition. Rabbis and scholars gathered there to formulate a view of the world that still influences us today. In Talmudic times. The charismatic Yitzhak Ashkenazi Luria, the Lion of Safed, drew hundreds of followers. Safed was one of many hilltop links in a chain of fire signals from the Temple site all the way to Babylon, announcing the arrival of the new month.
The Galilee was also the home of Josephus Flavius (Josef Ben Matityahu) a great scholar who became a general in command of the Galilee. After his capture by the Romans, he began to document the period of Roman rule in the Holy Land. His writings are regarded as among the most accurate of the 1st century A.D.
The Galilee’s natural landscapes have made it a focal point for nature conservation efforts. Today, the region has dozens of nature reserves that protect many of its unique natural treasures. The ten small islands along the Mediterranean coast have been declared bird sanctuaries. In the mountains of the Western Galilee, efforts are underway to reintroduce long-absent native animals to the wild. In the Upper Galilee, nature conservation efforts have created one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the world.
The Galilee is home to thousands of plant species including rare wildflowers. The rare Madonna lily, which can grow as high as two meters and blooms in May, is found in the Western Galilee. The trees in the Mediterranean forests are most evergreen, ranging from conifers like the Lebanese cedar to fruit-bearing species such as the olive and the carob. The forests host a rich array of creatures. The region’s wild spices are famous for their medicinal and culinary properties
For hundreds of years, the restful, green Galilee has been known as a place for healing body, mind, and soul.
Many holistic therapists live in villages and small towns in the Galilee, which have become centers for the study, cultivation, and use of herbal remedies, natural therapies, and meditation.
Many spas have been established in the region, offering an idyllic retreat amongst natural vistas steeped in history and tradition.
The Galilee’s rich soil and Mediterranean climate make it an ideal environment for growing the foods that make the Mediterranean cuisine such a healthy one. Sample a wide range of culinary delights utilizing ingredients grown in the Galilee. Visitors can enjoy the unique dishes provided by the Arab and Druze communities living in the region. Specialties include olives, cheese, and wine.