Gamla National Park is a symbol of heroism for Israel and an important archaeological site. It is nicknamed “The Masada of the North”. It is actually an important tourist in the central Golan Heights.
It combines nature, landscape and historical ruins and a unique number of raptors, including rare species. It also features one of the world’s most ancient Synagogues.
Gamla is called "The Masada of the North"
Gamla National Park
This popular park is located in the Golan Heights and is part of the Yehudiah Nature Reserve. It features the Gamla Waterfall, the highest in Israel with 51 meters in height. The hike to the waterfall is about 45 minutes. There is a new bridge to cross the river before the waterfall.
There is a stream leading to the waterfall continuing to a deep canyon and a lookout. Along the route you will see some structures built of huge rocks, called dolmens dating to the Bronze Age. They are supposed to be some graves for nomadic tribes as far away as 4,000 years.
The Griffon Vultures nest in the area of Gamla Park
Griffon Vultures nesting in the cliffs
The vultures roam freely in the area and go back to their nests in the cliffs. Their huge size makes it possible to be seen with the naked eye.
The Gamla reserve had a huge fire in 2010 and most of the shrubbery was burnt to the ground. The vultures were then taken for refuge on an enormous cage for their protection, until the reserve recovers enough to release them to the wild again.
The ancient city of Gamla
Remains of the ancient city of Gamla
At the foot of the trail you’ll find the ruins of the ancient city of Gamla, a prosperous Jewish town of the Second Temple period. This is where the Great Revolt of the year 67 CE against the Romans began.
Josephus Flavius described the immense courage of the Jewish defenders in his works, the Jewish Wars.
The ruins feature a synagogue predating the destruction of the Second Temple, an aqueduct, a ritual bath, as well as a church dating to the Byzantine Period.
There is also a memorial in the reserve paying tribute to the Golan’s first settlers killed in Israel’s wars.
The ancient Synagogue of Gamla is the oldest in the world
History of Gamla
Meaning camel in Aramaic it was built on a hill resembling a camel’s hump, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. There is proof of inhabitants since the Bronze Age. History says it was built as Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars (3rd century BCE).
Jews inhabited it from the last quarter of the second century BCE, and it was annexed to the Hasmonean state under King Alexander Jannaeus in c. 81 BCE.
Initially loyal to the Romans, Gamla turned against them together with another five cities in the Galilee and the Golan.
Remains of about 6 coins minted by them at the time have been found, bearing the inscription “For the redemption of Jerusalem the Holy”.
Gamla National Park on the Golan Heights Israel
How to get there
Take road 90 from Tiberias or anywhere on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, then right into road 87 until you reach road 869. Follow the signs.
Open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in summer
from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm in winter
Best season to visit: Year Round
Length of tour: From 1 to 4 hours.
Facilities: Snack-bar, binoculars for rent, observation plazas, picnic tables, partial wheelchair access.
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