Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ancient Qasrin, Golan Heights, Gamla

Ancient Qasrin
A Talmudic Jewish Village 
with a Typical 1st Century 
Synagogue and Galilean House

Beautiful Mosiac
of Menorah at Entrance 

Remains of Synagogue
Friends from Singapore:  
Wy Ying and Meow Hah 

What the Synagogue would have originally looked like:  

Typical roof similar to what the one would have looked like when the four friends 
removed the roof in order to lower their paralytic friend down to Jesus for healing. 
Discussion about how Jesus always uses the concrete to make a theological point:  
As the friends are dismantling the roof, Jesus begins to dismantle their worldview:  
Not only can He heal...he can also forgive sins.   

 Obviously they were much smaller people! 

 Innovative Ceiling Storage
 Ladder to an Upper Room

 Olive Press that would be turned by two women:  
"One would be taken and one would be left."
 Another type of Olive Press

 And yet another type of Olive Press
which would be turned by animals

Artistic Renderings of Olive Trees 
done by various students

Next Stop:  Golan Heights
 Mt. Hermon

Picture of Damascus -- approximately 40 miles away
Saul would have walked this route

Installation in Golan Heights

All along the right side of the road we see barbed wire that has yellow signs with a red triangle in it posted every so often.  We find out it means "Caution -- Mine Field". This territory was once controlled by Syria until the 1967 war.  The mine fields have never been cleared.  On the other side of the road we pass abandoned Jordanian military barracks.  

Dolmen near GamlaThen we began to notice "Dolmens" all along the way.  When the earth is basalt and too difficult to dig a grave...these are the answer.  They are one large stone on the left, another on the right, another large stone on top of those two to form a roof...and then lots of small stone piled underneath them.  They are a stone house for the dead.  There are literally thousands of them along the road side.  Another reminder that this is much disputed land. 

Next Stop:  Gamla

Gamla means "camel hump"  and that is exactly what the hill looks like.  It is hard to believe that the situation with the Romans was so bad that the observant Jewish people decided to come here to build a village and hold to their faith.  You can see the remains of the synagogue at the lower left-hand side of the hill.  The story is that the Romans came to fight with the Jewish separatists, and when they tried to ride their horses through the village, the streets were so narrow they couldn't, so they began to ride on top of the rooftops as they ascended the hill.  It caused an avalanche...and 5,000 Roman soldiers were swept to their death, and 2,000 Jewish faithful also died.  Because of the difference, Vaspasian was not a happy camper.  He felt like he lost the battle, but would not lose the war!  Masada occurred right after this.  If Gamla had not happened, Masada may never have happened.  Very sad piece of history!  

Gamla; the "Camel's Hump"
with Meow Hah Chia 
Catapult used by Romans
Description of Catapult
Model of the village of Gamla; over 2,000 Jewish separatists lived and worshiped there 
Path to descend to the entrance of Gamla
This picture shows the path that a person would have to descend to get to the base of Gamla.  Then there would be the climb up that "camel's hump" to get to the village of Gamla.  It was very rugged and very steep...I did not attempt it!  I cannot imagine a Roman army deciding to ride their horses down that steep hill!  

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