Arbel (arbel, nebe shueb, horns of hittim) is part of the Tentative list of Israel in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Mount Arbel is a rock massif with high cliffs in Lower Galilee close to the Sea of Galilee. It is protected as a nature reserve. Mount Arbel is also the location of a historic cave fortress and the ruins of an ancient synagogue. This mixed site also includes two locations nearby, Nebe Shueb and the Horns of Hittim. Nebe Shueb is a Druze shrine that is traditionally identified as the tomb of the biblical figure of Jethro. The Horns of Hittim is the supposed site of a crucial battle between the Crusaders and the Arabs in 1187.
Map of ArbelLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
The complex of the Horns of Hittin, Mount Arbel, and Nebe Shueb encompasses a wide range of historical religious and natural wonders.
The mountain is only 181 meters above sea level, but it rises steeply 380 meters from the Sea of Galilee. If you drive on Route 90, along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the impressive sight of the high cliff rising directly 400 meters above the road cannot be ignored. Mount Arbel is indeed impressive when you look at it from below, but the view from its summit is even more beautiful. Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful lookouts in Israel. The best way to visit it is by tackling the classic hike. Climb from the base to visit the Arbel fortress (see below). From the fort continue to climb to the summit. And go down via the ancient synagogue(See below) and Wadi Arbel. However, if you are not up to the steep climb, you can reach the summit with a 10 minutes easy walk from the National Park's entrance.
Arbel Ancient Synagogue:
The beautiful ruins of synagogue dates from 4th century CE. It was built from large limestone blocks in the center of the ancient Arbel village. The synagogue is believed to have been used continuously until the 8th century CE. The synagogue can be visited by car. It is located about one kilometer before the entrance to the National Park.
The fortification that was carved into the rocks was built by the Galilean Jews, who barricaded themselves at Arbel in 37 BCE. Herod was sent to suppress the rebellion. His army overcame the rebels only after he had the best of his warriors lowered to the caves in cages suspended by ropes, from which the rebels became convenient targets. The fortress can only be reached with a hiking trail from the summit of the base of the mountain.
Horns of Hatin:
"Horns of Hattin" is a steep hill n the lower Galilee (altitude 327 ASL) rising about 250 meters above the surrounding plains. It is an extinct volcano with a crater in the middle and twin peaks ("horns") on each side. The ruins of the large Talmudic period village of "Hittya" are located on the northern slopes of the hill. From these two facts comes the name "Horns of Hattin". It is also identified with the biblical town "Adamah".
The location where Jesus preached the "Sermon on the Mount" is still debated. The more accepted site is the Mount of Beatitudes. However, many protestants believe the correct location is the Horn of Hattin. However, the historical event that made the "Horns of Hattin" famous is the battle between Muslim forces led by Saladin and the crusader's army, which took place here in 1187. The defeat of the Crusaders in this battle marked the "beginning of the end" of their rule of the Holy land that resulted in a few months later in the surrender of Jerusalem to Saldin.
I visited the "Horns" many times. It is one of my favorite viewpoints in all of Israel. From the summit, you have a far-reaching panorama. Mount Arbel just below you, the sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, Galilee mountains, and Mount Tabor.
- Nebi Shueb:
Nebi Shuayb was a Druze prophet, traditionally identified with the biblical Jethro, (Father in law of Moses). He is considered the ancestor of all the Druze people, and his tomb located at the foot of the Horns of Hattin is regarded as the most important pilgrimage site for the Druze. In Druze tradition, it is believed that towards the end of his life, Shuʿayb took refuge in a cave on the slopes of the "south Horn" where he would die in old age. His followers buried him at the site and placed a tombstone at his grave. The building standing here today is a modem and also serves a pilgrims hostel mainly during the annual holiday held on 25-28/April.
Read more from Erezspeiser here.
During my Holy Land trip back in April 2018, I decided a much more in-depth itinerary than most tourists take, and while it did take me and my family to some rather untouristic places, by far the place where we were most out-of-place was Nabi Shuayb. This is the holiest site for the Druze religion as the supposed tomb of the prophet Jethro, and our visit on the 25th of April accidentally coincided with the Druze feast day. And we wondered why the parking was so full of private cars!
The normally serene sanctuary (at least according to the travel blogs I had read) was a bustling crowded mess - of only Druze people. We followed them in covering our heads (with raincoats) and removing our shoes before lining up to see the tomb up close, as well as a rock with Jethro's alleged footprint. And after a quick look of whatever we could, we left, a bit shocked from the strange cultural immersion.
Does Nabi Shuayb have OUV? I'd say yes as it is a great show of Druze culture and religion, which is not represented on the list yet, but as a site, i don't think it can stand an inscription alone, not having enough importance as a structure. The surrounding areas, while beautiful and of great historic value, don't have much tangible cultural claim, and therefore, no OUV. If the Horns of Hittim are inscribed for being the setting of an important war, should we inscribe several random passes in Greece for their own respective wars? The T-list site just isn't a coherent site with a consistent OUV. Then again, with all the cultural landscapes that get on the list for less tangible merits, who knows where they could take this? I sure don't, but I stand by my opinion of it.
Mount Arbel (or Arbel Cliff) is a mountain near the Sea of Galilee with a lovely view of the lake. Apart from this I can hardly see any reason for its inscription. It is, however, of historic significane with Jewish and Druze archaeological sites. It also holds the holiest Druze site. A major reason highlighted in the nomination file is the fact it is the site of the historic battle between the Mameluks and the Crusaderes.
- Full Name
- Arbel (arbel, nebe shueb, horns of hittim)
- Natural landscape - Diverse ecosystems Religious structure - Indigenous
- By ID
2000 Added to Tentative List
The site has 2 locations
16 Community Members have visited.