Megiddo, an impressive site in the Lower Galilee region of northern Israel was once an ancient city was critical that dominated the Aruna Pass (Wadi Ara or Megiddo Pass) the entrance to one of the few passes through the Carmel Mountains. This gave those who occupied Megiddo incredible power over the Via Maris, the main route between Egypt and Mesopotamia and what the Egyptians called the Way of the Sea. Today, Megiddo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an impressive site to visit and explore.
History of Megiddo
Megiddo stands impressively in the Galilee. Image via Wikicommons
The city is thought to have seen more battles than any other location in the world. Fortified cities were built upon the 10 acre summit of Megiddo Hill or Tel Megiddo rising 21.33 meters above the valley and from this vantage point battle after battle throughout history took place.
For Christians the word Megiddo is synonymous with the end of the world as mentioned in the Book of Revelation, Megiddo or Armageddon as it is also known will be the site of the Final Battle. This will be the final battle of many fought here.
Excavation has uncovered about 26 layers of settlements dating back to the Chalcolithic period and the first four layers have been identified. The hill top was a Canaanite city, an Egyptian fortress, a Chariot City during Biblical times and a prominent Assyrian and Persian city. At its prime Megiddo was ruled by King Solomon in the 10th century BC and visitors can see the remains of Solomon’s Gate and what is believed to have been his stables. The Ivory Palace is another major structure in Megiddo, it was here that Canaanite treasure was found including valuable ivory and jewelry. In the Middle Bronze Age the Canaanites fortified the hill top and a gate remains. From the 3rd millennium BC you can see an altar 10 meters in diameter with a staircase leading up towards it. An Iron Age water system is also evident, there is a 30 meter deep shaft and 70 meter long tunnel from the 9th Century BC when the city was ruled by Ahab. It is possible to walk through this tunnel which would have supplied residents of Megiddo with water from the nearby spring.
The Megiddo Plain, which lies below the site. Image Steven Conger, via Flickr
You can spend about an hour or two seeing the sites at Megiddo and the site is open year round. When visiting Megiddo you can go to the museum which uses models to recreate the original structures that stood here, there is also an informative film. Megiddo is one of the most impressive sites in the Lower Galilee.
The park is open from April to September from 8am to 5pm, from October to March until 4pm and on Friday from 8am to 3pm.
For more information you can call 972-04-6590316.
Entrance costs 27NIS for adults and 14NIS for kids.