The fund, which helps restore and preserve endangered world heritage centers around the globe, announced its choice to include the “Old Gesher” site in its list of 100 selected locations worldwide during a recent press conference in New York.
The “Old Gesher” is located near the Jordan River, and has 2 historic sites that have been damaged in the past and require restoration. One of them is an ancient bridge, whose base was built during the Roman Byzantine era, and built over later, during the Crusader and Mamluks eras (the 12th century A.D.).
In May 1958, the Israel Defense Force in order to stall the Arab invasion into the newly established State of Israel. Since, the condition of the bridge deteriorated, and it might collapse.
The second site is the Mamluks Han (a roadside inn), built during the 14th century on the ancient road that used to cross the Jordan River. The Han controlled an important passage and provided services for the caravans that passed through it. In 1837, the Han was destroyed in an earthquake that struck the region, and over the years it was covered by the marlstone soil. Following the declaration, these two sites will be included in a select list of worldwide endangered heritage locations for the purpose of raising money for their restoration.
In addition to these sites, the area has a few additional attractions such as the Turkish railway bridge that was used by the Muslim pilgrim caravans on their way to Mecca between 1905 and 1948, a road that was paved by the British authorities and served the bus route between Jordan and Israel, as well as a promenade built along a part of the bank of the Jordan River leading to an observation point overlooking the ancient bridges.
The place also has an audio-visual display, telling the story of the hydroelectric plant that was powered by the water of the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers, giving light to the towns and villages of the area in the beginning of the 20th century, as well as a hike that follows the trail of the pioneers, living in the Kibbutz nearby.
The article courtesy of the Israel Tour Guides Association http://www.tour-guides.co.il/itg/