ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCURSION TO NIMROD FORTRESS

Sathish Paul SDB

October 25 2018 - Nimrod Fortress - Golan Heights On 25th October, we, the students of STS, Jerusalem, took part in the Archeological Excursion presided over by Fr. Piotr Zelazko - the Professor of Biblical Archaeology, History and Geography. Our destination was the Nimrod Fortress, situated at the foot of Mount Hermon. It is one of the largest medieval Ayyubid castle in all of Israel, a mountain-top stronghold dating back to the 13th century.

In the morning we began our journey by bus and 4 hours later we reached the astounding fortress. As we drove up, we enjoyed the view of the Golan. So wonderful were the lush Baniyas forests with the rivers and waterfalls. We had an exploratory expedition viewing Israel’s highest and only snow-capped mountain, Mount Hermon. At midday we reached the summit and had a bird’s eye view. The ruins of Nimrod Fortress were really beautiful and well-preserved, a truly visible snapshot of history.

Fr. Piotr, our charismatic guide, explained some interesting details about that place and we were captivated by his facts. The Arabic inscriptions that remain there were really amazing and they took us back to antiquity. We saw the gates, the Beautiful Tower, the large reservoir, the moat, the secret passage, and a number of other aspects of the fortress. It was a thrilling experience to observe the way in which the people those days endured during the war. We were climbing from one fortress to the remains of the other fortress within the main one, listening to our guide, who narrated those rich and fascinating events of the past.

Then we travelled down and sojourned for lunch. Then we reached the Ancient Katzrin Jewish Village, a well-preserved ancient space with a lived experience of Jewish antiquities of the 1st century. We saw the wine press, the synagogue and the type of house they used to live in, etc. We felt as if we were going into the past to live the lifestyle of that Jewish community. We saw a typical family house of the Talmudic period with its unique engineering structure.

We felt so fortunate to visit such legendary places full of breathtaking natural beauty. It was indeed an amazing experience for every one of us.

View of the Nimrod Fortress from the entrance
A beautiful example of Ayyubid architecture
Walking through the fortress with Fr Piotr

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