Nimrod’s Fortress is located high over the Golan towards Mount Hermon. This Mameluk fortress is an amazing place to explore – find the secret passage and take in the stunning views, especially at sunset.
It is the largest existing Crusader-era castle or fortress in all of Israel. Its location is quite strategic, rising about 800 meters (2,600 feet) above sea level, on a ridge of Mount Hermon, Israel’s highest and only snow-capped mountain. It overlooks the Golan Heights; below the castle is the lush Banias forests with waterfalls and rivers.
The fortress and forested mountain surrounding it are part of the Nimrod Fortress National Park, which covers a total of 195 dunams (49 acres). A huge pool can also be found, which is somewhat hidden in the land that you have to go on foot to be able to spot it. The pool was once used for irrigation and for watering the herds. It has impressive dimensions: 26 x 54 meters (85 x 177 feet) in surface area and is about five meters (16.5 feet) deep.
Nimrod’s Fortress was built in 1228 by the Governor of Banias to pre-empt any attempt by the Sixth Crusade to march on Damascus from Acre. At the end of the 13th century, following the Muslim conquest of Acre and the end of Crusader rule in the Holy Land, the fortress lost strategic value and fell into disrepair.
After the Ottoman Turks conquered the land in 1517, they used Nimrod’s Fortress as a luxury prison for Ottoman nobles who had been exiled to Palestine. The fortress was abandoned later in the 16th century and only local shepherds and their flocks were temporary guests within its walls. The fortress was damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century.
Nimrod’s Fortress is now administered by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and visitors can check out the fortress’ excavated and restored portions. The ruins are beautiful and well preserved and, when standing on the ramparts, it isn’t necessary to be a senior general to understand the strategic value of the location.
It will be enjoyed by all the family and don’t forget to bring your camera.
For more views see Neve Ativ Photos
See also Nature Reserves