Waterfalls, Griffon vulture nests and one of the most ancient synagogues in Israel
by Israel Nature and Parks Authority
The Gamla Nature Reserve in the central Golan Heights is a wonderful combination of nature, landscape and historical remains. It is home to a globally unique number of raptors for its small size, including rare species, and one of the world’s most ancient synagogues. Dozens of pairs of Griffon vultures nest in Gamla’s cliffs, the largest colony in the country.
Visitors can view the vultures in flight from a cliff-edge observation station. Another lookout takes in the 50-m-high Gamla waterfall, Israel’s highest. On the way to the waterfall are dolmens - massive, table-shaped stone burial monuments built by nomads some 4,000 years ago.Some of the Gamla reserve’s trails are suitable for families, some for experienced hikers. One passes the canyon and waterfalls of the Bazalet Stream, the northern tributary of the Daliyyot Stream.
The remains of the ancient city of Gamla are at the foot of a steep trail, some 20 minutes' walk from the observation point of the ruins. Gamla, a prosperous Jewish town in the Second Temple period, became famous at the beginning of the Great Revolt (67 CE) for its battle against the Romans.
The courage of the Jewish defenders is dramatically described by Josephus in his work, The Jewish War. The ruins include a synagogue pre-dating the destruction of the Second Temple, an aqueduct, a ritual bath and arrows and ballistae balls attesting to the battle. A church was also
discovered in the ruins of the Byzantine village of Dir Krukh. A memorial in the reserve pays tribute to the Golan’s first settlers killed in Israel’s wars.
How to get there?
From the road around the Sea of Galilee, take the Gamla junction-Daliyot junction road (no. 869) and turn north for about 2 km to the sign-posted turnoff to the reserve.