Days Out in the Galilee & Golan

Megiddo – A City at the Crossroads

The tell (or archaeological 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.

Armageddon

The city is thought to be the site of several battles than any other location in the world. Fortifications in the cities were built on the 10-acre summit of Tel Megiddo (Megiddo Hill) rising 21.33 meters (almost 70 feet) above the valley. From this vantage point, several battles throughout history took place in this location.

For Christians, the term “Megiddo” is synonymous with the end of the world as mentioned in the Book of Revelations.

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. It is also known as the site of the Final Battle.

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.

small scale model of a fortified city

Visiting Megiddo

The site is open all year round. You can spend an hour or two (that depends on you) seeing the sites there.

We recommend beginning your visit to Megiddo National Park (admission charged), by viewing the audio-visual presentation at the visitor’s center. The museum also uses models to recreate the original structures that once stood there, which you can also see (pictured above).

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) 

Visiting Hours

April to September – 08:00 to 17:00
October to March – 08:00 to 16:00
Friday – 08:00 to 15:00

See Megiddo NP & Visiting National Parks.

rocky remains of an ancient structure overlooking a field

Entrance fee

(prices are subject to change without prior notice)

Adult – 27 NIS
Child – 14 NIS

Contact details

For more information, you can call (972) 04-6590316

 

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