The tell or mound of the ancient city of Megiddo hold in its slopes at least 25 layers of human civilization and its origins date back to the Neolithic period. Situated on a hilltop, above an abundant spring, adjacent the fertile plains of the Jezreel Valley and at the crossroads of ancient international roads, Megiddo had all the right ingredients for a major urban center in the ancient world.
Megiddo’s strategic location put it in the path of battles from the Bronze Age through World War I and Israel’s War of Independence. Not surprisingly, the city’s first massive walls and first evidence of its international connections date to the Early Bronze Age. The city was mentioned in 19th century B.C.E. Egyptian texts. In 1468 B.C.E. Megiddo was conquered by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. The Bible tells of the city’s conquest by Joshua. Later it was fortified by Solomon. Megiddo is mentioned in Judges, Kings and Chronicles as the site of battles, conquests and intrigues. A stamp found at Megiddo bearing a roaring lion mentions the biblical king Jeroboam.
Megiddo is identified with Armageddon in the New Testament, where according to Revelations (16:16), the great battle between the forces of good and evil will take place in the end of days. The name Armageddon is apparently a Greek derivation of the Hebrew Har Megiddo, meaning Mount Megiddo.
Megiddo’s impressive ruins were excavated extensively by several archaeological expeditions during the 20th century. In 2005 UNESCO recognized Megiddo as a World Heritage Site.
We recommend beginning your visit to Megiddo National Park (admission charged), by viewing the audio-visual presentation at the visitor’s center. Then set out to explore Tel Megiddo with the aid of a brochure picked up at the park entrance. A marked path leads to Meggido’s sites and there is a map in the brochure. At least some of the site is accessible to wheelchairs (according to the official website)
If you pick and choose, make sure to include in your visit the Iron Age Gates, cultic site (“holy precinct”), observation point overlooking Jezreel Valley, granary and stables (bring your camera.) The highlight of a visit to Megiddo is its ancient water system. Please note: Visiting the water system requires descending and ascending many steps. The exit from the water system leaves you outside the park and at the bottom of the mound, meaning you will have to walk up a small hill to retrieve your car.
Getting To Megiddo
On road 66 between Yokneam & Megiddo Junctions. Served by bus 56 (Afula Illit – Yokneam)
April–September: 8 A.M.–5 P.M.
October–March: 8 A.M– 4 P.M.