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The Jordan Valley

The Jordan Valley extends from the outlet of the Jordan River at the Sea of Galilee to its inlet into the Dead Sea​​

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The Jordan Valley, extending from the outlet of the Jordan River at the Sea of Galilee to its inlet into the Dead Sea, a little over 100 kilometers to the south as the crow flies, reveals the variety of landscapes and sites for which Israel is famous, highlighted here from north to south. 

The Jordan emerges from an area of stately date groves near the first kibbutz, Degania, flows past "Yardenit" Pilgrim’s Baptismal Site and becomes the peaceful border between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In fact, you can cross into Jordan at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge, just opposite the city of Beit Shean.

 

But even before you get to Beit Shean, with its fabulous biblical, Roman and Byzantine remains, you can learn about the region’s rich prehistory at the Kibbutz Sha’ar Hagolan Museum, and then drive up to the Crusader fortress of Belvoir to get an overview of the magnificent landscape. At the Kfar Ruppin Birdwatching Center you’ll discover that the Jordan Valley, part of the Syrian-African Rift, is not only a famed ancient highway; it is one of the world’s major bird-migration routes.

 

From ancient to modern history means just a short drive in this valley: South of Belvoir is Naharayim, where the Yarmuk River flows from the east into the Jordan, the reason the Middle East’s first hydroelectric power plant was founded here in 1932. At nearby Old Gesher you’ll hear the story of that technical wonder of its day, along with the saga of the area’s historic bridges and of Kibbutz Gesher in 1948. The Jordan River Peace Park is an exciting, future cross-border project of this area.

 

As you continue south, you’ll enjoy the gradually changing landscape, becoming increasingly arid as it eventually dips to around 400 meters below sea level. Thanks to modern irrigation techniques, the region is dotted with orchards, date groves, vineyards, and flower and vegetable greenhouses, and you’ll also see shepherds with their flocks.

 

Further south, you’ll pass the area where the Israelites crossed the Jordan, and you’ll see their first destination, the rich oasis of Jericho, the oldest city in the world. The road detours the city and passes the entrance to another Jordan crossing, the Allenby Bridge. Next, near the T-junction where you’ll decide whether to continue southeast to the Dead Sea or northwest to Jerusalem, a sign directs you to the inviting Greek Orthodox monastery of Dir Hijleh.

Sites & Attractions

The Or Torah (Tunisian) Synagogue’s claim to fame is that it is literally covered in mo...
The Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve As you hike among the oaks, terebinth and Christ-th...
HaBonim Beach Nature Reserve Wind and waves have sculpted rocky inlets and hills on H...
Baths with five thermo-mineral hot springs, a heated pool, an amusement park for childr...
The Kinneret Trail The Kinneret Trail takes you around the Sea of Galilee shoreline, t...
Umm al-Qanatir Synagogue Excavations using innovative technology are yielding fascinat...

Accommodations

Located in the heart of a tranquil and pastoral nature reserve, at the foot of majestic...
There are rooms in two-story buildings and rooms for families with a balcony and privat...
The hotel offers a variety of different rooms facing the ocean, and is adapted for gues...
An old hotel with rooms of various standards. Facilities include a swimming pool, sauna...
Geographic Regions