Updated: Apr 14, 2020
The Jordan Valley stretches along the Jordan river between the Sea of Galilee in the north to the Dead Sea in the south for 110 km. There is very little water streaming in the river these days but in old times the river was full of water and a ted as a natural barrier between Judea and the tribes east of it - Edom, Moav and Gilead. The Jordan valley is full of history: the place where the Jews crossed the Jordan and entered Israel after fleeing Egypt; the baptism site of Jesus by John the baptist; Sartaba, the highest peak in the valley where beacons where lightened signal a new month had started; The first power plant in Israel was built in Naharaim by Pinhas Rottenberg in 1932 and delivered 18m/w.
We start our journey from the Bet Shean valley and head south to the Dead Sea, along many historical places:
This site is thought to be an ancient "foot temple".
Skitopolis, an ancient Roman town that inhabited over 15,000 retired Roman soldiers. Skitpolis is one of ten Deca-polis towns in the region and the only one in Israel. Beautifully preserved, and renamed to Bet Shean. Skitopolis is located in "Emek Hama'ayanot" or Valley of springs that offers excellent trails in cool fresh water all year long.
The "latrina" - ancient public toilette in Skitopolis. Here is where the phrase "money has no smell" was invented.
The Roman theater in Skitopolis is one of the best-preserved theaters in Israel.
"The land of the monasteries" in the Jordan valley. Jesus baptism site is right there.
Ancient "laura", a 1,600 years old hermits' cave. Ancient hermits lived in caves and used to meet on weekends with other hermits. The laura came before the monasteries.
Jordan star fortress, or Chateau Belvoir ,is a 1,000 years old Crusaders concentric fortress built by the Knights Hospitaller to control the Jordan river. It is the most beautiful fortress in Israel and has probably the best 360 degrees view of the country. The Knights Hospitaller are also known as the Order of knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, and the word "hospital" is named after them.