Nature is very rich in the Hula Valley.
Hula Valley is located in the middle of the Syrian African Rift that extends from the feet of Mt. Hermon to Kenya. This valley is blessed with much spring water. This water makes the whole area of the valley a paradise. The source of the water supplies are rain and snow that fall on Mount Hermon. Hermon is the highest mountain in the Land of Israel - 2814 (9229 feet). The limestone rocks of the mountain absorb precipitation like a sponge. Then the water comes through the springs: Dan, Hermon (Banias), and Snir (Hatsbani). All these springs are headwaters of the largest river in Israel - Jordan. All the springs and tributaries with the land around it were designated as Nature Reserves in the 1960s by the Government of Israel.
The water from the springs is also used for the agriculture needs.
In addition, the Nature and National Park Protection Authority has preserved the remains of the ancient cities of Dan and Banias.
The area is very different from normally dry environment of the Land of Israel. There are very many trees and they create a canopy around the streams. The area 25 hectares and together with Tel Dan extends over 48 hectares (118 acres). Dan spring gushes out more than 250 ml. cubic m of water. This makes the spring one of the largest in the Middle East.
The Dan spring consists of other springs: Ein El-Qadi (Arabic translation of the name Dan - Judge) and Ein-Lidan (that name preserved the sound of Dan). The water temperature is comparatively cold - 14.5 degrees by Celsius (58 degrees by Fahrenheit).
The springs and streams of the Dan merge in one river within the confines of the reserve. The width of the river ranges between 6 and 10 m and its depth between 1 and 1.5 m. There are lots of trees growing at the banks of the stream. There are Syrian Ashes, true laurels, which leaves were used in ancient Greece to make wreaths for the winners in competitions. Further from the waterline, the Christ thorn jujube can be seen. Many traditions claim that Jesus' crown of thorns was made of its branches. Along the paths of the reserve can be found Christ thorns - very rare plant in Israel. Also Tabor oaks grow here in abundance.
The natural world varies very much in the reserve. The fire salamander is one rare animals that live here. These salamanders have black body with yellow or orange spots. There are also lots of birds and most of them is very difficult to distinguish among the leaves and branches of the trees.
This low hill was already occupied as early as in v Millennium BC (Neolithic period) according to the scientists . There is an attestation of a very high level of material culture. During numerous archaeological excavations held at Tel Dan, there were found remains of the vessels, bones of domesticated animals etc.
The next settlement occurred during the Early Bronze Age (2700-2400 BC). The settlement flourished in the Middle Bronze Age. (18-Th BC). This was the city of Laish, mentioned both in the Bible and in the famous "Mari Inscription".
to be continued...