Megiddo, a small community known as a kibbutz, is located in the northern region of Israel, not far from the city of Nazareth. Within the territory of the Megiddo National Park is Tel (hill) Megiddo, which is part of one of the most important finds in biblical studies. It is a popular tourist destination for those who are interested in the natural surroundings and the history of Israel. The park is open all year round and requires reservations for guided tours, so if this is part of your itinerary, make sure you conduct the proper research for purchasing tickets and booking any tours you'd like to take.
The community of Megiddo Israel is extremely small, with a population of less than 400 inhabitants in 2006. The original settlers of the town were Holocaust survivors and refugees from Germany and Poland. Nearby are the Megiddo National Park and the hill, Tel Megiddo, where tourists can visit an archaeological dig and learn about the ancient history of the site.
The main focal point of the Megiddo National Park is the excavation. Tel Megiddo has been the site of three very important battles throughout history, with its strategic location controlling a central position in the Via Maris (Way of the Sea), and in the Book of Revelations, it is predicted that the Battle of Armageddon, derived from the Hebrew phrase Har Megiddo (Mount of Megiddo), would take place at this very location. The Egyptians conquered the Canaanites here as early as the fifteenth century BC. Again, in 609 BC, the kingdom of Judah, ruled by King Josiah, fell in a battle with the Egyptians. The Allied troops attacked the Ottoman Empire on the same location in 1918, during World War I.
Excavations at Tel Megiddo also took place three times, starting in the early part of the twentieth century. The longest of these digs was sponsored by John D. Rockefeller Jr., beginning in 1925 and ending with the outbreak of World War II. Twenty levels of habitation have been discovered, and many of the remnants are now kept at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem and the museum at the University of Chicago. Today, an ongoing archaeological dig has been taking place twice a year since 1994. Volunteers are welcome to join in the exciting experience of the dig, and those interested in participating are encouraged to make reservations for their trip, as places are limited.
One of the more recent discoveries at Megiddo Israel is a church that was buried beneath a military prison. Several hundred meters south of the hill, Yotam Tepper made the discovery in 2005. Moving the prison is being considered by authorities in order to conduct a more thorough research of the grounds. A very well preserved Greek mosaic was unearthed stating that this church was consecrated to "the God Jesus Christ." It is thought that this is the oldest church in Israel.
Megiddo Israel is one of the most interesting places to visit during a tour of the Holy Land, particularly for those interested in history. Visitors are in for a pleasant combination of tours and hands-on activities, as they step back to ancient history and take part in the modern excavation of the site. A visit to Megiddo is an unparalleled opportunity during any visit to Israel.
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