As a priavet tour guide I often get to visit the Jezreel Valley. In fact, the Valley is one of my favorite locations to tour in Israel. There are various sites to explore there. So this post is about the best tour of the Jezreel Valley. If you’re coming from Tel Aviv using highway 2 that runs along the shoreline of Israel; I would recommend stopping at Caesarea. In my opinion, it is one of the best archaeological sites worth visiting. Then once reaching the Jezreel Valley you must go and visit Megiddo National Park. Megiddo is an ancient city in the Bronze and Iron Age. Nowadays it is an impressive archaeological Tel, worth visiting.
Then on your way to our next site, Beit Alpha Synagogue, you should use the nice scenic road that goes along Mount Gilboa. From there you can have a nice panoramic view over the Valley that turned out to be the breadbasket of modern Israel. while riding up to the viewpoint you could listen to relevant biblical stories told in Samuel like the famous episode on 1 Samuel in the very last chapter. The Biblical narrator tells us that in this episode the Philistines were able to defeat King Saul and his Army. Right here on Mt. Gilboa!
Best Tour of the Jezreel Valley: Beit Alpha Synagogue
The Beth Alpha synagogue was uncovered in 1928 by members of the nearby Kibbutz Hephzibah; who stumbled upon the synagogue’s extensive mosaic floors during irrigation construction. Excavations began in 1929 under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and were led by Israeli archaeologist, Eleazar Sukenik. A secondary round of excavations, sponsored by the Israel Antiquities Authority in 1962, further explored the residential structures surrounding the synagogue.
Furthermore, the northern entryway features two dedicatory inscriptions in Aramaic and Greek. Although partially destroyed, the Aramaic inscription indicates that the synagogue was built during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinus, probably Justin I (518–527 CE); and was funded by communal donations. The Greek inscription thanks the artisans; who were also listed as the artisans of the nearby Beth Shean synagogue. Interestingly, the inscriptions are flanked on either side by a lion and a buffalo, who serve as the synagogue’s symbolic guardians.
Alright then, our next stop would be Beit Shean National Park. Now if you found Megiddo cool and its archaeology you will love Beit Shean! There you could explore a real Roman city and go up to the Biblical Tel for yet another amazing view.