The Banias Nature Reserve
Where the Hula Valley meets the Golan at the foot of Mountain Hermon, in the eastern Upper Golan is The Banias Nature Reserve situated. This magnificent location is the home of many natural wonders like waterfalls, woodlands, lavish vegetation, ancient ruins, and glorious rivers. The Banias Waterfall is the Banias Spring product that starts at the foot of Mountain Hermon and ends in the river Hermon. The water runs roughly 3.5km through a canyon before it arrives at the waterfall; after it goes further to the Dan River and into the Jordan River.
What are the Historic Sites of the Banias
This place is extraordinary, and in the past centuries, it was considered a sacred place where people worshipped the ancient god Ba’al. But that’s not the only god that was worshiped here. In ancient times and the Hellenistic period here, you could find a cave dedicated to Pan, the Greek god. Interestingly, the name Banias comes from a mistake and wrongly pronounced Panias, the Greek word for the god Pan. During the 3rd century BC, this place was the site of a cult worshiping Pan, and today you can see the ruins of ancient altars where the sacrifices were made. Those are not the only ruins that remained in this land. The remains of the marble temple that Herod the Great constructed here when he occupied the territory also endured the weight of time. In the year 3 BC, a city named Caesaria Paneas was built here by Philip, Herod's son. You can read about that city in the Jewish Talmud and Mishnah and the Gospel of Mark and Matthew. Crusaders also came to this land in the 12th century and built a fortress named Qa’l’at al-Subayba. They fought the Muslims to protect the city they made, but finally, they surrendered it, and it became a village. In years that are closer to us, this location was important because it’s the treasured water source that’s giving the water to the almighty Jordan River, and also because of the vicinity of the Syrian border. Banias was placed inside the French Mandate of Syria by the League of Nations in 1922. Syria used this location as a base for an easy attacking of the neighboring Kibbutz Dan and controlled Banias until 1967.
You can hike in the Banias Nature Reserve
Banias is a beautiful place where you can enjoy nature and hike. It has an excellent hiking route that follows the stream from the waterfall to the Banias Spring. If you chose to take this path, you would pass the ancient ruins; you will enjoy the stunning waterfall, you will also see a spring water pool named Officer’s Pool because supposedly Syrian officers have bathed in it. That’s not all; you will encounter an old Roman bridge and an old mill used for the production of flour. You don’t have to worry because the hike is easy and manageable for everyone, but you should be prepared for some steps. The hike lasts for about two hours, but you don’t have to go all the way and can delight in the Banias Nature Reserve without the complete hiking tour. There is no doubt that you will have a wonderful time whenever you visit because the river runs all year long.