Wednesday, August 18, 2010

National Parks: Tel Chatzor Edition

IMG_1845As any Israeli tour guide could tell you, Tel Chatzor is one of the country’s largest and richest archeological sites.

Boasting remains from the Canaanite (see Yehoshua 11:1-12) and Israelite (see, for example, Melachim I 9:15) periods, Tel Chatzor was officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, and since then, visitors from around the globe have flocked to this national park in the Chula Valley.

IMG_1855Asian tourists brave the hot sun as they admire the famous “Solomonic Gate”.

IMG_1840 The view from the entrance to Tel Chatzor National Park

Yet, to the surprise of, well, no one, Tel Chatzor’s many claims to fame are unlikely to appeal to most teenagers.

In fact, during the Shiputzim family’s recent visit, the adolescent contingent opted to stay in the car while the adults and the younger kids took a perfunctory look around the excavations. (I assume a dynamic tour guide would be able to bring the dusty stones to life, but we were there on our own.)

Which naturally begs the question: Why did we bother stopping at Tel Chatzor at all (excuse my Heblish)? And, more to the point, why am I blogging about this national park?!

The answer to these questions should be obvious to those who recall that about a year ago, we became members of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. (We recently renewed our membership for a second year.)

You see, after having spent the morning rafting/kayaking down the Yarden, we were looking for a place to stop for lunch when we hit upon Tel Chatzor.

It fulfilled all our requirements: It was shady and clean and had nice picnic tables.

Most people, however, wouldn’t think of using Tel Chatzor as a glorified picnic spot.

Because, if nothing else, once they’d paid the entrance fee, they’d probably want to spend a bit more time at the site:IMG_1839But since admission was free for us, we had no qualms about eating lunch, quickly checking out the historic ruins, and then immediately heading out.

And thus, as far as I – as a blogger - am concerned, this park’s main significance is that it gave us the chance to flash our membership card FTBW (for the blogging win)…



  1. Sounds like an interesting place! I'd visit and pay the fee. And yes, I'd stay a while and check out the flora and fauna, too.

    The kayaking sounds cool. My boys might like that, though they have said they will only go on a trip with lots of rapids. Thrill seekers.

    Glad you had a good trip.

  2. Leora - With the exception of one little waterfall, there really weren't any rapids to speak of, but the kids (even the teenagers!) had a great time anyway.

    Speaking of fauna, you might enjoy the post I hope to put up in the next few minutes...


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