Any trip to the Golan Heights is sure to be a memorable one. The region is thick with forests, streams, waterfalls, and wildlife, and it affords visitors a literal breath of fresh, clean air. Laying in the shadow of the majestic Mount Hermon, the Golan Heights—or simply, the Golan—is replete with everything for lovers of nature, but it also has universal appeal, with enough attractions and activities for nearly everyone. But a visit to the Golan is not complete without a tour of its unofficial capital city, Katzrin.
Located roughly 8 miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee, the town of Katzrin is in the heart of the central Golan and has a population of approximately 8,500 residents. Walk through the Katzrin town square, and you will discover myriad shops, cafés, and a colorful mosaic sculpture at its heart. Take a nature hike through the nearby Eden Springs Park, which affords a spectacular view of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and the gentle slopes of the Golan Heights. You can also see the flora and fauna of the region while cooling your feet in the pools which are scattered throughout the park.
Just outside the modern Katzrin is Katzrin Park, a preserved Jewish village from the Talmudic/Byzantine periods (3rd-6th Centuries) and is one of 27 such villages discovered in the region. The park is a cross section of ancient Jewish life as described in the Talmud. See an authentic olive oil press and wine press, as well as a reconstructed home, complete with kitchen, pantry, living area, bedroom, and courtyard. You can also visit a Talmudic-era synagogue made from basalt, which is still used today for special occasions.
In the month of August and during Jewish holidays such as Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot, there are re-enactments by actors in period dress. You can also partake of fresh pita at the beit lehem (bread house).
Golan Archaeological Museum
Spend a few hours exploring the Golan Archaeological Museum, which features relics of Byzantine-period churches and synagogues. Be sure not to miss the museum’s breathtaking audiovisual presentation of the heroic battle for the Jewish town of Gamla against invading Roman forces. Enjoy the display of Roman arrowheads, ballista stones, clay oil lamps, and coins minted during the siege.