The Israel Treck - Mt. SARTABA
Every time I travel through the Jordan Valley, I look at this impressive mountain
and dream to climb it. It's conic shadow can be seen from almost every spot in the valley,
and in the mountains around. The Sartaba.
There are 2 ways to get there:
1. Enter a narrow road 100m north of the Education center(Gefanim School)
of the BIKA'A, about 5 km to the north of Fatzael and "Mifgash Habika'a".
2. Find a jeap(byke, truck-toron) and come from the hills near GITIT
3. Hire a chopper and land on the sharp top...
We tried the first way, left the car on the SHIN-GUIMEL
of a solitary military base up the next hill, and started to climb.
On the end of the Hashmonaic period, there was a rivalry between two sons
on the crown: Aristobulus and Horkanos were the two sons of Shlom-zion,
and both claimed for the crown. One of them invited the Roman emperor to help him,
and there was a long war. One of the battles ocurred here. Horkanos built this fortress
against the romans and his brother, but it didn't help much.
The Roman conquered this strong spot, and approached Jerusalem.
After some generations, when Herodes married, killed his wife, and married again,
(and killed her again...) this hill was built as a huge palace,
and served for the winter period of the year, like Jericho.
It seems that he built a synagogue also, and roads to communicate.
Near the top of the mountain we found a serie of water reserve caves,
and on the top - the remainings of a big and impressive fortress.
Near that - remainings of a synagogue, with heart-shaped columns, and corinthian headers.
Sartaba was known as one of the places where "MASU'OT" were lit
to signal the diaspora and the villages that the new month has begun.
In Lag-bao'mer the the youth groups come here and lit these traditional "MASU'OT".
We (the royal we) strongly recommend you to walk early in the morning or late enough,
after the big heat.
Places to see around:
Jericho: Al-Hisham palace of Herodes and the Muslem period, Naaran and Jericho synagogues, etc.
Jericho is quite in the hands of the palestinians.
Fatza'el springs: largest springs in the area. Nearby a large roman-period pool, with water,
suitable for swimming. In "MIFGASH HABIKA'A" - alligators ranch.
Have a nice time,
You may now look at the picture of Mt. Sartaba: