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Megiddo (Israel): Strategic link with Antiquity
By Norman A. Rubin
Note; The author is a former correpondent with the Continental News Service (USA), now retired – busy writing short stories and articles on Net Sites and magazines worldwide
The Tel Megiddo National Park (Unesco Heritage Site) offers a great deal to the visitors touring the archeological remains of the ancient city of Megiddo. Visitors on tour of the site will be able to see the Canaanite gate from the Bronze Age, the remains of the castle, and the Solomonic gate. The northern observation point has a wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley, The Mountains of Nazareth, and Mount Gilboa; the southern observation point looks out on the pilgrim prayer booth, the stable complex, and the remarkable waterworks.
It is advisable to visit the museum at the site at the start one’s tour in order to get a layout of the grounds. A model of the complex archeological structure of the tel (a mound with different strata containing the remains of varied settlements) is on display at the museum at the site. Reconstructed models and photos show the city gate, the palace where the famous Megiddo were found, the water system, the stables of Solomon, and a Canaanite temple.
Megiddo was a strategic point situated on the Via Maris road (In Hebrew – ‘Derech Hayam’ – the Way to the Sea), the great highway connecting the ancient lands of Egypt and Assyria. Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Philistines, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and even the British have all passed through its gates. One of Egypt’s mighty kings, Thutmose III, waged war on the city in 1478 BC. About 300 years later, the city at the gate of the Jezreel Valley was again chronicled in connection with the Israelites’ war under the command of Barak, aided by Deborah against Sisera, commander of the forces of the King of Hatzor. Megiddo is a unique archaeologically site where one can literally see and touch the actual remains of the town and be inspired by its monuments from biblical times.
Archaeological evacuations have revealed many relics of the stables and fortification from the King Solomon era, around 10 BC. “And this the reason of the levy King Solomon raised: For to build the House of the Lord.. and the walls of Jerusalem … and Megiddo.” (I Kings (1:15-16).
Here Azaiah, King of Judah was killed. Here again, the great King Josiah fought against the Egyptian Pharaoh and was killed.
The continuing battles for the town have made Megiddo a symbol of war. Thus, according to Christian tradition it is called Armageddon also spelled Har-Magedon in some modern English translations is the site where the final climactic battle at the end of days between God and Satan the Devil, as written in the Book of Revelation in the Christian New Testament, or more generally, an apocalyptic catastrophe. “These are demonic spirits, performing signs, which go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.” (Revelations 16:13-21)
In more recent history, Megiddo’s strategically importance was recognized by General Allenby commander of the British forces in the Near East. In 1917, having made it the base of his campaign in Palestine, he secured the title of Viscount Allenby of Megiddo.
The National Park Authority of Israel has prepared the entire site for the convenience of the visitor – laid footpaths and provided bilingual explanatory signs. Visitors can enter the shaft and tunnel built by the Israelite King Ahab in the 9 cent BC. The sixty-meter shaft is linked with a 120-meter long tunnel to the source of water outside the fortification (steps and lighting have been installed).The Megiddo waterworks are evidence of impressive engineering skill and equally credible industriousness.
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|Print article||This entry was posted by Barbara Kingstone on January 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm, and is filed under Middle East. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|