Meet Mount Tabor Nature Reserve and National Park
Mount Tabor is known for its beautifully round shape rising from the ground in the heart of Lower Galilee. It is green all year round and contains values of scenery and nature, history and archaeology.
points of Interest
Mt. Tabor has two different centers of interest: nature and scenery sites and religious sites.
A number of walking paths have been marked out on the mountain with some beautiful observation points, and the Israel Trail passes within its boundaries. The “Around the Mountaintop” path is marked in black and goes around the top of the mountain. A green (and steep) pathway starts from the west of Shibli village, climbs eastward along the Foresters’ Road and joins the “Mountaintop” path. The blue path begins close to Gazit Junction and ascends with the electricity line on the eastern slope, also joining up with the Mountaintop path. The red path starts east of the village Um el Ganem, going up to the south-eastern corner of the top of the mountain. The Israel Trail begins with the blue path, joins the black path and descends to the green path.
Due to its height the mountain provides spectacular views. On the Mountaintop path there are wonderful observation points. In addition, on the mountain itself, mainly at its top, there are a number of caves, some natural, which served as quarries from which stones were cut to build the wall. At the northern part, under the Greek church, there is a cave the opening of which is built of chiseled stones, and it is open to visitors.
The place is active as a religious site attracting many pilgrims. The religious institutions operate and maintain the churches and the antiquities within the site at the top. The Greek-Orthodox church opens only on a few days a year, while the Franciscan church is open to the public, including the Church of the Transfiguration and the ancient remains surrounding it. The winding road does not make it possible to travel by bus, and therefore a visitors’ center has been set up at its base, close to the Shibli village, from which taxi rides to the top have been organized. Entry to the place is free of charge, and there is a parking lot.
Mount Tabor is located in the heart of Lower Galilee, dominating the valleys and dales around it from a great height. Its peak height is 562 m., around 400 meters above the surrounding terrain. Mount Tabor was declared a Nature Reserve and National Park in 1991, covering a total area of about 4 dunams, and includes natural habitats, beautiful views, antiquities and historic sites.
Its unique shape is noticeable from the west of Kfar Tabor and is seen to a great distance. Mount Tabor is mentioned in ancient Jewish sources as one of the most prominent mountains, and even today it is visible from far away. Woodlands consisting of Palestine oak (Quercus calliprinos), Mount Tabor Oak (Quercus ithaburensis) and a plethora of plant species, some of them quite rare, adorn its beautiful dome and slopes, crowded together like a soft green fuzz. Here, the Sternbergia crocus blooms in autumn, in winter the Gilboa iris (Iris haynei), and in spring the tulip (Tulipa agenensis), the yellow asphodel (Asphodeline Lutea), orchids and others. The range of fauna is also broad: raptors and songbirds, reptiles and mammals, including foxes, hyraxes, bats and more.
The name “Tabor” originates from the Bible, where it is mentioned in a number of contexts, sometimes together with Mount Hermon: “Tabor and Hermon rejoice in thy name” (Psalms 89:13). 2,000-year-old remains – from the time of the 2nd Temple – testify to the human connection with this mountain from ancient times. Christian tradition considers it a sacred mountain, because of the Revelation/Transfiguration of Jesus that traditionally occurred there. The archaeological discoveries include remains of buildings from the Roman and Byzantine periods up to the Crusader and Muslim periods. Today there are two active churches on the mountain – Greek-Orthodox and Franciscan – which attract large numbers of pilgrims.
Mount Tabor Nature Reserve and National ParkUseful Information
The Nahal Tabor Nature Reserve, eastern Lower Galilee, covers both sides of Nahal Tabor, from around Kfar Lakhish to the point where the stream crosses the Bet She’an – Tsemah road (Road 90, south of Kibbutz Gesher).