Mount Tabor

September 15, 2011 by

Day Trips, Things To Do

Hike, see great views, and even hang-glide at Mount Tabor
- photo courtesy of אלי זהבי via Wikimedia Commons

Located 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee, Mount Tabor is believed by many Christians to be the site of the transfiguration of Jesus. Whatever the truth of such claims, the area has certainly got a rich history. The summit has seen the carnage of many historical conflicts, including the battle of Barak and the army of Jabin in the 14th century, and a French force of just 3,000 soldiers commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799 that fought off a Mamluk force of more than 20,000 soldiers.

Mount Tabor is accessible by car (Highway 65), and its summit is traversed by the Israeli National Trail, a route that crosses the entire nation from north to south. To reach the summit, visitors once had to mount more than 4,000 stairs. Today, the spot is quite accessible, making it an excellent destination for travelers young and old.

Two main paths are maintained for visitors to the area. One begins in the nearby village of Shibli (located at the base of the mountain) and wends its way 3 miles to the top. Another shorter trail is roughly half as long. The longer path passes well-tended Mediterranean woodlands. Along the way, trekkers will take in a vista including sights of the Jezreel Valley, Mount Gilboa, Samaria mountains, Mount Carmel, the Golan Heights, Gilead, the Lower Galilee and the Upper Galilee.

Activities in the area are varied, including an annual marathon, the hunting of small game (hunters must obtain a permit issued by the Ministry of the Interior), and religious observance (there are multiple churches in the area that are open to the public). Mount Tabor is even a favorite of local hang-gliding enthusiasts.

- John Reality

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