Tens of millions of years ago, a unique geological phenomenon occurred in nature, as a result of which the earth’s crust unfolded over a distance of 6.5 thousand km and a crack formed, called the Great Syrian-African Fault. Part of it is located on our territory. The fault formed a number of reservoirs with unique qualities: the Jordan River, Kinneret Lake and the Dead Sea. Now we will talk about Kinneret. The reservoir is located in the northern part of the Syrian-African Fault, about 209 meters below sea level. Its length, from North to South, is 22 kilometers; width, from East to West, 14 kilometers; area – 170 square meters km, and the greatest depth is 43 meters. The volume of water in the lake is 4 billion cubic meters. Features of the subtropical climate of this area create a peculiar temperature regime in the lake. From about mid-May to the end of December, Kinneret’s waters are clearly divided into two layers: a warm (from 22 to 30 degrees), a well-mixed upper layer (epilimnion) with a depth of 16 to 30 meters, and a deeper, cooler (from 13 to 16 degrees) deprived of oxygen (hypolimnion). In winter, this bilayer disappears and the water mass is completely mixed. The water in Kinneret is brought mainly by the Jordan River. The rest comes from numerous streams and streams flowing from the Golan Plateau.
Pages of history
Kinneret acquired modern contours about 18 thousand years ago. This is confirmed by the fact that scientists discovered an early prehistoric site of man two kilometers south-east of the lake. Evidence of later prehistoric settlements was found in the karst caves of Wadi Amud, northwest of Kinneret, where the remains of the “Galilean”, the primitive man who lived here 100-150 thousand years ago, were found. As pages of a book of history, one could leaf through 16 cultural layers of excavations carried out in Tel Beit Ierah, on the southeastern coast of the lake: from ancient times – through the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs – to the first settlers of the late XIX century.
During the Greek, Roman and Byzantine rule, the banks of Kinneret were densely populated. There are a fairly large number of factors that determine the interest in this area, the main of which are: strategic location (I recall that the Via Marris – the Sea Route connecting Egypt with the Fertile Crescent countries passed here); the abundance of fresh water needed for agriculture; fishing, which was part of the diet of local residents and was a commodity; and, finally, hot springs, which at all times have attracted patients with various diseases here with their healing qualities. To the peak of its development, the region began to go from the moment the city of Tiberius was founded on the Kinneret, the arrival of refugees from destroyed Jerusalem, including dozens of Jewish sages, and, of course, the justification in Tiberias of Sanhedrin and the completion of work on the Jerusalem Talmud here.
All sorts of memories, such as the chronicles of Joseph ben-Mattathiyahu (better known as Flavius), Talmudic literature, would remain only words, if they were not confirmed by material evidence, archaeological excavations. In Galilee there are about 50 excavated synagogues, convincingly proving the facts of the Jewish presence in Galilee and the Golan.
Kinneret gained particular popularity in connection with the Christian tradition. As you know, the settlements around the lake became the site of Jesus. As time passed, churches and monasteries were erected here to commemorate events from the earthly path of Christ, which became objects of pilgrimage and tourism.
Leaving Kinneret, Jordan loses the swiftness of its course, becomes calm and low-water. Probably, this was not always the case. How could it be otherwise if in pr. every year, 1 billion cubic meters of water is taken from Kinneret? And is it just that which has no place in my “walk”? In fact, in this place it is worth putting an end to the story of the river, which plays such a significant role in the Jewish and Christian traditions. Which I will do! Adding just a few guide considerations …
The entire upper part of the Jordan, before it flows into the Kinneret, is replete with wonderful places for active and passive recreation. What could be better than a weekend spent, say, in the nature reserve “Dan”? Or in the Yarden Park, where you can go down the river in kayaks? And then take up the favorite sport of the Israelis, – food at one of the landscaped areas. Tourists can visit the beautifully appointed place of the Epiphany in Yardanite, and history buffs will descend a little downstream to the surviving remnants of the crusader structures on the Jordan. The choice is yours! Do not just sit at home!