Gamla: An Archeological Site and Nature Reserve on a Camel's Hump
(sort of)

Gamla is a site in the Golan Heights that combines many interesting attractions. To start with it is an archeological site in which you can view the remains of the ancient Jewish city that was destroyed by the Romans after a revolt and an intense battle. This is a similar story to that of Masada.

In addition, it is a gorgeous nature reserve with a good size natural pool and waterfall. The nature reserve is the home of many large vultures – so if you are into birds or even if you aren’t really – you will be able to watch these impressive birds at the special vulture look-out that was set up there.

Oshrit next to the Gamla poolOshrit next to the Gamla pool. Picture by Jacob Mintz.

The name Gamla comes from the Hebrew word gamal which means camel – sounds quite similar to English doesn’t it?! Anyways, the site is situated on a hill that is shaped like a camel’s hump and thus the name.

The Gamla hill, IsraelThe Gamla hill. Picture by Jonas B.

In the 2nd century BCE this site turned into the Jewish capital of the Golan area, and stayed that way until the year 67 CE. In that year the Romans (again…) felt like they should conquer the city. This wasn’t as easy as they thought initially. You see, due to the position of the city on the hill it was protected naturally from three sides. It was only after a long siege, one failed attempt and a fierce battle with the local Jews that the Romans finally managed to take control of the city. This battle, along with the battle of Masada, were part of the Jewish revolt against the Romans.

There is much more information on the place and the archaeological findings that were discovered there in the museum in Katzrin. Otherwise, just enjoy the beauty of the place and bathe (if you like) in the natural pool. By the way the waterfall you’ll find there is the highest in Israel – about 50 meters (165 feet) tall.

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