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arriving at the top, one looks down on the other side almost perpendicularly into the abyss of the Lîtâny, fifteen hundred feet, as measured by Dr. De Forest with the aneroid. The top of the ridge is very narrow; and the castle occupies its whole breadth, and more, being in some places built up from lower precipices. Its length is hence
greatly disproportioned to its narrow breadth. On the S. of the castle the top of the ridge is levelled off as a fine esplanade or parade-ground.
This fortress is known to us from the historians of the crusades; but it needs only a glance to see that it dates from a much higher antiquity, and that the crusaders did nothing more than repair it. The ancient portion, which still forms the main body of the building, is built with bevelled stones; not large stones like those at Jerusalem, nor with a bevel so regular as is found in the tower of Hippicus, but yet of the same general character, though coarser. The sloping foundations of the towers are also seen here; and, indeed, some of the square towers may be said to be almost facsimiles of Hippicus. The repairs of the crusaders are everywhere easily to be distinguished; they have a totally different character. The chief work of theirs which remains is a fine Latin chapel along the eastern wall. Perhaps some historical notice may yet be found to fix the date of this fortress; but at any rate it cannot be later than the times of the Byzantine, or perhaps the Roman dominion in Syria. Here was always an important pass from Sidon eastward. Nothing overshadows the castle except Jebel Rîhân on the N. and N.E., so that it forms a conspicuous object, visible at a great distance in all other directions. From it the castle above Bâniâs bore S. 60 E.
From esh-Shûkîf we turned our course about W. by S. to the bridge over the Lîtâny (here running westward) near the village Kâ’kâ'îyeh. This bridge is in part an ancient structure, but the whole is very rickety. Here we encamped for the night.
Our next day's journey brought us to the castle of Tibnîn, the Toron or Turinum of the crusaders. Our direct road to this place led up through the Wady Hujeir for nearly the whole distance ; but after an hour we turned to the left up another deep valley, Wady Selûky, which has its beginning in the S.W. of Hûnîn, and drains the whole region. On the high southern brow of this valley we came, after another hour, to the hamlet Kūbrîkhah, where are the remains of a temple with several columns still standing, with Ionic capitals. Hence we struck off again obliquely to Wady Hujeir, at a point where another temple once stood on its western side, of which only one or two columns remain.
The fortress of Tibnîn is on the summit of an isolated hill, and covers much more ground than that of esh-Shūkîf. It is also much more a work of the crusaders ; though several courses of bevelled stones on the outside show that they built it upon earlier foundations. It is now in ruins, except the gateway, where a family of Metâwîlch Sheikhs have built a house within the walls, which they make their home. Here Jerjú’a bore N. 24 E. and the castle esh-Shūkîf N. 42 E.
From Tibnîn we took a course S. 60 W. crossing our former route at Hârîs (not Hâdîth), and after another hour turned up the ridge on the right side of Wady el-'Ain, on the road from Rumeish to Tyre, to Yâtir, a village overlooking the plain of Tyre, and evidently occupying an ancient site.
Retracing our steps, we followed up Wady el-'Ain for a time S.E., and then turned to the right to a site of ruins called Hazûr and also Hazîry ; but not the Hazor of Scripture and Josephus. Hence we proceeded S.W. to Râmeh, on an isolated hill in the midst of a basin shut in by other high hills. This is unquestionably the Ramah of Asher; a different place from Ramah of Naphtali
. Here are quite a number of ancient sarcophagi. Half an hour W. of Ramah is a high hill
, on which are seen from afar the columns and part of the architrave of an ancient temple. We visited the spot; but the columns are all too much weather-worn to distinguish the order of their capitals. The place is called Belât. From this high point we could look down over the whole mountainous and broken region intervening between it and the
sea, from Râs el-Abyad to ’Akka, and could trace the course of the ridges and valleys. Of the latter, the great Wady el-Kūrn is the principal ; it was described by our guides as so deep and precipitous, that even eagles could not fly across it.
We learned afterwards, that both Rấmeh and Belât had been visited a few weeks previously by Mr. Van de Velde.
From Râmeh we turned our course to Rumeish, and thence to Kefr Bir'im on the road to Safed, half an hour E. of Sa'sa'. Here are the remains of two singular edifices. Of one a large part of the body is yet standing, with a portico of columns in front, of no Greek order. Behind the columns is a large portal in the middle, with a smaller door on each side. The whole is very elaborately decorated with sculptured ornaments. Of the other building only a portion of the front remains, standing alone in the fields.
It is similar to the front of the other edifice, except that on the sculptured entablature of the middle portal is a Hebrew inscription, in the ordinary square character of the present day. It is much defaced, and, so far as it can be read, merely invokes ' peace’ upon the founder of the edifice, but without legible name or date. If the inscription be coeval with the building, it marks it as a Jewish synagogue. That it and the other building actually were such is also evident from their resemblance to the ruined building at Meirôn, which the Jews still hold to be a synagogue of their fathers. We afterwards found the remains of similar edifices, marked by a very peculiar architecture, and some of them quite large, at Irbid, Tell Hûm, Kedes, and perhaps other places in Galilee. All this would seem to mark à condition of prosperity and wealth and influence among the Jews of Galilee during the early centuries of the Christian era, of which neither their own historians, nor any other, have given us any account. These edifices must have been coeval with their flourishing schools in Tiberias.
The next day (April 14th) took us first to Meirôn; whence, after examining the sepulchres and the ancient synagogue, we turned our course up the mountain W., and crossed the high ridge of Jebel Jermûk and the next valley to Beit Jenn. This village lies high upon the declivity of the ridge W. of the great valley here running N.W., and forming one of the main heads of Wady el-Kŭrn. Beyond this western ridge, in a basin from which goes out another great branch of Wady el-Kúrn, is the village Bukei'a, inhabited in part by Jews occupied with agriculture. On this account they are supposed by some to be a remnant of the ancient Jewish inhabitants of the land, who have never been driven out by the later masters of the country, whether Christians or Mohammedans.
Turning S. from Beit Jenn we came out after half an hour upon the brow of a pass in the ridge of mountains here running from E. to W. looking out over the whole of southern Galilee. This point afforded one of the widest and finest views we met with in our whole journey. Some 1500 or 2000 feet below us was the splendid plain of Râmeh (the Ramah of Naphtali), covered with groves of olive-trees and fields of grain ; while beyond were other ridges and plains, through which we were to pass. Through this long plain of Râmeh runs the great road' from 'Akka to Damascus.
Singularly enough this plain has no outlet at either end. Its eastern part is drained through a gap in the southern ridge into the next plain, and so through Wady Seslâmeh to the lake of Tiberias. The western portion is in like manner drained through a similar gap in the same ridge into Wady Sha'ab, which runs down W. to the plain of ’Akka. On the southern ridge, E. of the former gap, is a high rounded prominence called Tell Hazûr, from a small ruin on its N.W. declivity. This, also, cannot be the Hazor of Scripture and Josephus; for that was adjacent, not (like this) to the lake of Tiberias, but to the waters of Merom or Samochonitis, now the Hûleh.
We descended to Râmeh, lying still high on the lower and cultivated declivity of the mountain. It has few traces of antiquity.. We then crossed the plain obliquely S.E., and ascended the southern ridge around the eastern
side of Tell Hazûr, to the large village el-Mŭghâr upon its S.E. side, overlooking the plain below. This place is probably
ancient ; but no corresponding name is found in ancient writers. From this point we visited the ruin of Hazûr, and also ascended the Tell.
The plain now before us does not, like that of Râmeh, extend unbroken between the ridges on the N. and S. throughout their whole length; but is divided near the middle by a lower ridge running obliquely across it from N.W. to S.E. between the two parallel ridges. The eastern part was now before us, drained eastward by Wady Sellâmeh, which comes in from the plain of Râmeh, and enters the lake of Tiberias as Wady er-Rūbūdîyeh. It has its name from an ancient site Sellâmeh, on the western side of this part of the plain ; the Selame or Selamis of Josephus.
From el-Mŭghar we made a short day's journey, descending and crossing the plain on a S.W. course, and then crossing the oblique ridge into the western portion of the plain. A large part of this is so level that a lake is formed upon it in the rainy season; while the part further W. is drained by the Wady Sha'ab to the western plain. Keeping along on high ground near the southern hills, we came to ’Arrâbeh, lying in a nook among these hills. It is doubtless the Araba of Josephus. One hour further W., and in full view, is Sūkhnîn, the Sogane of that writer, and mentioned by him in connection with Araba. These names, as also Selame, are found in the map of Galilee by Schultz, but are not correctly placed.
At ’Arrâbeh we were detained two nights ; mainly on account of the lameness of one of our horses. This at last compelled us to turn down to ’Akka, which did not lie in our original plan. We therefore went to Sûkhnîn, where are some ancient remains with bevelled stones. From hence the direct road to 'Akka passes by Miâr, on the brow of the hills overlooking the western plain. We, however, turned more to the right, in order to visit a ruin of which we had heard, called Kūbarah. In this name may be recognized the Gabara of Josephus, which he mentions along with Tiberias and Sepphoris, as one of the three principal towns of Galilee. We made a great descent to the bottom of Wady Sha'ab, at a point whence a good and level road led to 'Akka; and there turned N.E.
up the northern ridge and across table-land to the brow looking down into the plain of Râmeh. Here are the remains of Gabara, consisting of the ruins of a large and strong fortress, with the walls and foundations of houses, and cisterns, by way
indicating an important place. The remains of antiquity found here are much more extensive than those existing at Seffûrieh. Râmeh was here in sight, bearing N. 75 E.
On the way to ’Akka we saw on our left, among the lower hills, the village of Kabûl; and afterwards, far on our right, another village on the declivity of the hills called 'Amkah, on the S. side of the deep ravine now called Wady Jiddîn, from the ruined castle of that name on its N. bank. These villages correspond in name to the Cabul and Beth Emek of the tribe of Asher; and the deep valley may then perhaps be that of Jiphtha-el. Both these places had been seen and recognized by Dr. Smith during a former journey.
We remained in 'Akka over Sunday; and starting again on Monday morning (April 19th) we took the road for the hills again,
of ’Abilîn. Our guide, however, finding that we desired to visit Jefât (Jotapata), proposed to take us a shorter way by Tūmrah and Kaukab. To this we assented, and climbed the rough acclivity back of Tūmrah by a blind and unfrequented path. Jefât is E. of Kaukab; we reached it in 40 minutes, also by a blind path. This isolated Tell, first visited by Mr. Schultz, corresponds in every particular to the description of Josephus ; but there exists not the slightest indication that a fortress or anything else ever stood upon it. The surface is naked rock, with one or two small cisterns now used for flocks; but not a trace of a wall or foundation of any kind. It is shut out from any prospect by high hills on all sides, except that through a narrow valley running down S.E. a small strip of the plain el-Búttauf is visible.
Down this valley we proceeded to the ruins of Cana of Galilee, which lie at its mouth, on the edge of the hills which skirt the Būttauf on the N. The remains are those of a large village with well-built houses, but without any special marks of antiquity. The place is known as Kâna and Khirbet Kâna to all the people of the region round about, both Christians and Muslims. We turned now westward along the base of the northern hills to Kefr Menda, and encamped for the night.
The next day (April 20th) we passed through Seffûrieh with its ancient tower; and leaving its great fountain on our left, a favourite camping-ground of the hosts of the crusaders, we kept on S.W. to Beit Lahm, the Bethlehem of Zebulon, a miserable village, with no trace of antiquity but its name.
It had already been visited by Dr. Kally. We continued on to Jeida ; and then crossed the great plain of Esdraelon in the direction of Lejjûn, encamping for the night in the middle of the plain. Here we had on our right the mouth of Wady Milh, at the base of Carmel, up which valley a road from ’Akka leads and crosses the ridge to