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Katzerin (Israel)

A pleasant north wind greets visitors to Katsrin - the capital of the Golan Heights.

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A pleasant north wind greets visitors to Katsrin - the capital of the Golan Heights. Founded in 1977, it has become an urban, commercial and tourism center. Katsrin is built in the heart of the Golan Heights and is a young city known for its landscapes and its quality of life. Its special location affords easy access to many nature reserves, historic and archeological sites, river beds and attractive visitor centers.

The city is named after the ancient town of Katsrin, whose ruins are located in the nearby Katsrin antiquities park. The ancient town was inhabited on and off from the Middle Bronze Age (about 4,000 years ago) and archeological digs found evidence of a Jewish village from the Talmudic period, which existed until the Moslem conquest just over 1,300 years ago. The remains of the ancient village are fascinating with reconstructed homes, complete with their interiors and the farming implements used by the inhabitants. The central site is a magnificent synagogue from the 6th century, evidence of a prosperous community. The park is full of beautiful rest spots, surrounded by fig trees and grape vines, and there is also a museum of modern basalt sculptures.

The Katsrin industrial zone houses a mineral water bottling plant and a large winery, among the most famous in Israel, and both have visitors’ centers that offer a glimpse of the water-bottling and wine-making processes. The Golan Antiquities Museum is located in the commercial center in Katsrin, with exhibits of archeological findings from the region as well as an impressive audiovisual presentation of the heroic defense of the town of Gamla against Roman forces in the 1st century. Also at the center is a doll museum depicting the history of the Jewish people up until the renewal of Jewish settlement of Israel and the Golan Heights in the late 19th century. Between the two museums are stores, pubs and restaurants, a few guest rooms and a field school that offers sleeping accommodations in hostel rooms as well as outdoor camping and guided tours.

The nature and historical sites near Katsrin include Nahal Zavitan, the Meshushim Pool with its unusual hexagonal rocks, Gamla, Nakhal Yehuda and Seleukia Springs.


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