Wednesday, October 6, 2010


                                          Entrance to Tel Megiddo National Park

                                           Model of historic Megiddo, Museum at the Park
    In this post, I raise the topic of Israel and that little country's many, many biblical and archeological sites. Many of the approximately 70 national parks are related to the poignant history of this little piece of our planet. My sabra husband and I had visited Israel many times, usually staying in Natanya, a Mediterranean city about halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. In our treks around the little country we would always take Route 66 inland to access Nazareth, the Galilee, Tiberias, and the Hula Valley and Golan Heights even further north. In all those trips we drove past a site that I had never noticed or realized what it was -- Tel Megiddo. It sits right along this major highway which runs along the eastern side of the low hills that blend into the Carmel mountains along the Mediterranean sea. That route at that particular site apparently coincides with Via Maris, the ancient Roman road that led from Egypt to Damascus and Mesopotamia. The importance of that road, and the strategic importance of a fortified city at this southeastern point overlooking the large Jezreel Valley in Northern Israel made this site a fortified city 5000 years ago. It was conquered twice by Egypt in the 15th century BCE and again in 605 BC. These two battles and sieges were recorded in Eygyptian hieroglyphics and the second one in the Old Testament of the Bible. King David was there and King Solomon refortified it after one of its destructions.  But it was destroyed many more times because archeological digs at Tel Megiddo show at least 26 layers of destruction and rebuilding. During all these rebuildings the same area was always used as a sacred area, probably transitioning from a circular altar where there were animal sacrifices and perhaps early on even human sacrifices, to more familiar sites of worship that would have served King Ahab and King Josiah of the Caananite kingdoms from the Bible. Its site includes huge stables built to house chariot horses for King Ahab, and a very complex waterworks, with cisterns, and a 70 meter underground tunnel hone into the rock to reach a spring that was outside the city walls.  Ahab turned Megiddo into “Ir Rekhev” and built the impressive water works. Israelite Megiddo fell to the Assyrians in 732 BCE and was finally demolished by the Egyptians in 609 BCE. An Ivory Palace was discovered there with the largest hoard of Canaanite objets d'art and jewelry made of ivory every discovered in any Caananite site. When we stopped to visit this site and walked among the ruins, I felt something similar to what I had felt when gazing at the Old City of Jerusalem. I was overcome by a sense of awe at the tenacity and strength of human culture that would keep reconstructing this city time after time, when destruction should have ended its existence. It is a testament to humanity even if one ignores the religious importance of these sites.

                                           Jezreel Valley through the Gate of the City
                                           The Sacred area of the ruins, Jezreel Valley in background

                                          A public grain silo from King Jeroboam, (8th century BCE)

                                          The Southern Stables, built in King Ahab's time for chariot horses.

                                           The Jezreel Valley from Sacred Site, Tel Megiddo

                                           Jezreel Valley agriculture, Nazareth in distance

                                           Sacred area from above, with circular altr to right.

                                          Shaft entrance to tunnel to spring, Tel Meggido
                                          Exit to spring, Tel Megiddo

     Then I began to research this site. Har means a small hill or small mountain and the name of this city was always Meggido which some have said means Assembly. So this name of the place in Hebrew and Arabic is Har Meggido. The name for this place in Greek, is Armeggedan. Recognize the name. Yes this is the site that the prophesized final battle between good and evil at the End of Times will take place. It makes sense that a city of such importance in BCE history would be the place where the final battle would be predicted to take place. Multiple times my husband and I drove past this site without knowing its importance. Enjoy the photos of this site that I have posted here.

     One of the most important archeological sites in Israel from the time of the bible, Tel Megiddo is a beautiful and impressive national park near the town of Afula. Megiddo was important in antiquity: it is mentioned in Egyptian writings and is forecast to be the site of Armageddon in the Christian Book of Revelations. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, the impressive remains of several civilizations draw many visitors and pilgrims.

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