If you wish to travel some 3-4,000 years into the past, we have just the place for you! Hazor was a very important city, located in the Upper Galilee, in the southern Hula Valley, on the ancient trade route through Syria to Babylon, linking Egypt with Syria, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia.
In the Book of Joshua, Hazor is described as “the head of all those kingdoms”. According to the Book of Joshua, Hazor was the seat of Jabin, a powerful Canaanite king who led a Canaanite confederation against Joshua, but was defeated by Joshua, who burnt Hazor to the ground. Hazor continued to be significant throughout the Old Testament.
Today, you’ll find the Tel Hazor National Park on the site, and the museum in the nearby Kibbutz, Ayelet HaShahar, home to various archaeological findings. Other artifacts are displayed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
History to Witness
Hazor consisted of two parts: the Acropolis (upper city), with about 1,000 inhabitants, covering 12 hectares (30 acres), and the lower city, with about 20,000 inhabitants, covering about 70 hectares (173 acres). Twenty-one layers were discovered, proving that this huge city remained relevant for centuries and was rebuilt many times. It’s still an active archaeological site, and every summer Israeli and international students dig here as part of their studies. While the city is being uncovered, you can see the already excavated structures that are over 2,500 years old!
The Lower City
The lower city is a huge area located north of the upper city, across the Hazor valley, surrounded by a fortification and a narrow strip, inhabited from the 18th to the 13th centuries BC. While the visit to Hazor mostly focuses on the upper city, there are quite a few important structures excavated in the lower city as well: a 13-14th century BC Canaanite temple with statues; 18th-13th centuries BC Canaanite temples, the gates, and the remains of structures, tombs, and pits.
The Passage between the Lower City and the Upper City
The basalt stairs that led from the upper to the lower city are a fantastic discovery. From here, you can see the remains of a large building, with a ritual dais (platform) at its center, made of smooth basalt stones, dating back to the Late Bronze Age, the surface of which consists of a single two-ton block. There is a small ‘mountain’ nearby, under which rest the remains of the wall that once defended the lower city.
These 8th-century BC buildings were originally built over the Canaanite palace but were moved to the northern part of the Acropolis for their preservation. One of the structures you can see, which is typical for the Israelite period, is the Israelite four-room house that included a small yard, where the reconstructed oil press was originally found, and three areas around the yard.
Originally posted at Gil Travel.