Monday, July 15, 2013
Day two of touring began by driving southwest of Galilee to Megiddo. Megiddo is one of the most excavated areas in all of Israel. It is a site where 24 layers of ruins have been discovered. Because of its prime location, there were many battles between nations here, and those that conquered the land rebuilt their cities on top of one another. It sits just above the Jezreel valley and in the path of the trade routes between Israel and Egypt. It was inhabited for hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ time, and has been uninhabited since about 400BC. Here are some pics I snagged from the internet to give you an idea of location of Megiddo.
See how it sits on top of this mountain ridge? Ideal location for ancient times when you needed to protect your city. A city on a hill. Since there are soooo many layers of civilizations at Megiddo it’s hard to date it. Instead scholars have dated certain areas of it. One opinion is that the main City Gate dates back to the 10th century BC to the reign of Solomon. This particular area below was a sacred area. It served as an area of worship for over 2,000 years, and several temples were found built one on top of another. The round stone area pictured below is an ancient alter. Thousands of sacrificial animal bones were discovered around this area as well.
A large water cistern. It only rains a few months out of the year in Israel, so most ancient cities had water cisterns to store water. Megiddo was also valued because it had a natural water source from a natural spring at the base of the mound. As long as your city had access to water it could be successful. If the enemy is able to cut off your water supply, the city will surely fail.A nearly 300 foot tunnel was dug beneath the mound to access the spring. Since the spring itself was actually located outside of city walls, the outside access was concealed to prevent enemies from knowing about it’s existence. We walked down into the water system and through the tunnel to the spring which is still somewhat active. Then we exited the city via stairs leading up out of the water system. Next we hopped back on the bus and traveled west to the coast of Israel toward Ceasarea. We stopped along the way at the aqueducts. These were man-made water systems built to run water (usually from natural springs) to the cities of Israel. The land of Israel is dry. Much of the southern half of it is uninhabited dessert. This particular aqueduct was built by Herod in the 1st century BC to supply water to the city of Ceasarea. (I don’t fully understand how this particular aqueduct worked in ancient times, but I think some sort of pipe system ran along top of the archways towards the city). Here we also go to see the beautiful coast of Israel and the Mediterranean Sea. It was gorgeous!