The splendid landscape of Gamla Nature Reserve contains a host of animals and many well-preserved remnants of the past. The reserve boasts both a phenomenal concentration of birds of prey, some of them rare, living in a relatively small area, and the earliest known synagogue in the world. Scores of pairs of Griffon vultures nest on the cliffs, making up the largest flock of Griffon vultures in Israel. In the morning, the birds fly off and in the afternoon they return to their nests, flying directly overhead. The vulture population can be observed from a special birdwatching point on the north bank of Nahal Gamla.
Another observation terrace overlooks the 50-meter Gamla Fall, the highest perennial waterfall in Israel. En route to the fall visitors will pass the field of dolmens. Built of massive basalt rocks, placed together to form rectangles with one short side open, dolmens served as graves for nomads who lived in the Golan Heights four millennia ago.
The trails through the Gamla Nature Reserve are well marked. Some are suitable for the entire family and others only for good hikers. One of the trails passes through the canyon and waterfalls formed by the Bazelet River, the northern tributary of the Daliyot River. The path crosses over the rivers and affords a lovely view of the waterfalls.
The remains from the ancient settlement of Gamla are at the foot of the observation point. The steep descent to the settlement takes about 20 minutes. Gamla was an important city at the end of the Second Temple period and it is possible that Jesus visited Gamla. The city catapulted to fame because of its role in early days of the Great Revolt (67 C.E.). In his book, The Jewish War, Josephus Flavius tells in great detail the dramatic story of how the Jews of Gamla fought the Romans tooth and nail. When they saw that they had no chance whatsoever of victory, the Jews chose to commit suicide by jumping off the precipice rather than fall into captivity.
Archeology aficionados will be interested in the remains: a church from the Byzantine village of Der Qaruch, a synagogue used for prayer until the destruction of the Second Temple, an aqueduct, a ritual bath, and numerous public buildings. The arrowheads and slingstones found here are sad mementos of the battle waged and lost at Gamla.
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