The hilly area overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Jordan River and Mount Hermon is a disputed territory, occupied and administered by Israel since 1967. The Golan Heights features many important archeological sites, many impressive streams, mountains and waterfalls located here, as well as the remains of over 60 ancient synagogues dating back to Roman and Byzantine times.
Mount Hermon National Park
The Banias Waterfall is one of the most visited attractions in the region as it has been for thousands of years. ‘Banias’ relates to Pan, Greek god of the forests, and in a cave close to the spring are the remains of an ancient temple built in honor of the god. There are also Roman and Crusader ruins in the area, but the main attractions are the large waterfalls and pools. Mount Hermon is situated to the north of the Golan region. The 2814 meter mount has several ranges and the higher areas are snow-covered throughout most of the year. A ski resort operates on the slopes offering visitors the option of a skiing trip to Israel. Mount Hermon is also home to an abundance of wildlife, its unique sub-alpine habitat making it a suitable home for rare birds including the rock nuthatch and the redstart.
Majdal Shams sits at the foot of Mount Hermon, the largest Druze village in the Golan, a place popular with tourists for its authentic restaurants and souvenir shops. The Druze village of Mas’ada, to the south, overlooks Ram Pool, a fascinating natural phenomenon, and one of only two extinct volcanoes in the world which have evolved, over time, into a small lake.
The Nimrod Fortress is a 13th century fortress constructed to defend the waters of the Banias offering superb views of the Northern Galilee and Naphtali Hills. The Hamat Gader is a focus of Israeli tourism, the site of renovated Roman baths, a water park, crocodile farm and restaurants. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, the spa was one of the most beautiful in the empire.