Mount Tavor (Mount Tabor or “Har Tavor” in Hebrew) is a beautiful spot at the north eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, in the distance (south) Mt Gilboa is visible. It is a very distinct hillock, set apart from the valley and from surrounding hills. Mount Tabor commands the strategic Jezreel Valley one of the primary east-west routes that lead to the Mediterranean Sea.
Mount Tavor in religion
References to Mount Tavor can be found in both Jewish and Christian texts.
Old Testament refers to Mount Tavor as the border of the tribes of Zebulun, Issachar and Naphthali, probably on account of its height, making it an ideal location to provide strategic control to the east-west route through the Jezreel Valley, and north-south route through the Galilee. During the Second Temple period, Mount Tavor continued to be of significance as the site of settlements and battles.
Mount Tavor is important in Jewish tradition as being close to the war with Sisera and the Canaanites that was led by Deborah and Barak and won by Yael (Judges 4) who sedated a fleeing Sisera and then killed him with a tent peg in his temple.
For the Christians, Mount Tavor is a place of importance as it is the traditional site of The Transfiguration.
Today Mount Tavor has a Franciscan and Greek Orthodox churches on the summit.
The Church of the Transfiguration was built by the Franciscan order between 1919 and 1924, upon the ruins of a Byzantine-era church from the fifth or sixth century and a Crusader church from the 12th century. On the Feast of Transfiguration (August 6), the church is illuminated by a sunbeam which is reflected by a glass plate on the church’s floor. The ruins of a 12th-century Benedictine abbey lie not too far from the church.
The Greek Orthodox “church,” on the other hand, is technically a monastery. Construction of the monastery began during the 19th century by a Romanian monk named Irinarh Rosetti. After his death, his disciples continued with the construction. There is a small cavernous church located on the northwestern portion of the monastery, and is named after the King of Salem, Melchizedek. Christian tradition says Abraham met Melchizedek right at the site where the small church stands today. One of the typical Orthodox services is the all-night vigil, which is held in the monastery every Orthodox Feast of Transfiguration on August 19.
There is a very pleasant walk around the summit of Mt Tavor with some beautiful spots and exceptional views over the Jezreel Valley and north towards the Galilee.
Enjoy photos of spring at Mount Tavor.