The Golan Heights may be mostly rural, but it is full of things to see. You will be astounded by its diverse terrain and how much history is in the area, connecting ancient Israel to the modern nation. So what is not to miss in the Golan Heights?

Ancient Israel in the Golan Heights

The history of the Golan goes back to before the First Temple era. During that time, Golan was known as Bashan, and Golan was a city within Bashan. It is spoken of in Deuteronomy and Joshua. It was part of the Manasseh tribal lands.

in 2020, an ancient fort was found in the Golan that goes back to the time of King David and is believed to be that of strong allies of him, the Kingdom of Geshur. One of David’s wives was a Gershurite.

If you go to the area of Banais, you will see not only an unbelievably gorgeous nature preserve, but also the remnants of Caesarea Phillipi, the very place where Peter’s Confession took place, confirming his belief that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. This area not only holds intense natural beauty and deeply meaningful Christian history, but it also has the ruins from the town during Jesus’ time, including a cave in which sacrifices were made to the pagan god, Pan.

The area has been a source of political strife for all of history. After the Jewish revolt, the Romans conquered the area of Gamla, a major Jewish city from the Hasmonean era. Many of its inhabitants chose suicide, much like the inhabitants of Masada.

During the time of the Byzantine, Muslim and Crusader period, the land held great strategic importance. You can see the remnants of these periods throughout the area, including that of the Nimrod Fortress. The fortress was built either during the Hellenistic or the Byzantine periods and then went back and forth between fighting armies. The fortress is an impressive sight, looking like something you’d see in a Lord of the Rings movie! Even if you don’t stop to tour it, you will certainly be able to see it perched on the cliff while driving in the area, so keep an eye out!

Modern History

The area has continued to be of massive strategic importance during the modern age as well. One stop that we certainly suggest, though it doesn’t take place in the Bible, is to stop at the Valley of Tears. From here, you will get not only sweeping views right into Syria, but also see where God’s providence over Israel was showcased as Israel defended itself in the Yom Kippur War against unbelievable circumstances. There you will see tanks still stranded and a memorial of names of those who perished. It is a very humbling moment of reflection.

Among the attributes of the Golan Heights is the Druze village with wonderful Druze food. It is typically a highlight for many to enjoy a lunch in the village, typically served family-style.

The other wonderful part of the area is it’s agricultural bounty. You may be surprised driving through the area to see a lot of green! You will also see cattle and maybe even an Israeli cowboy or two. In this area you can partake in the tasting of Israeli wine grown in the Golan. You can also purchase olive oil from the area that you can enjoy upon returning home, which is a popular souvenir to take home!

We hope you will come to Israel soon and enjoy all that the Golan Heights and the entire country has to offer! Contact one of our helpful tour operators for you free and no-commitment proposal. If you don’t have a group, consider joining a tour!