Susita: Northern Israel’s Newest National Park Gem

Perched on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Susita National Park offers breathtaking views and a deep dive into history. This beautiful park is an excellent addition to any tour of Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee, providing a unique combination of natural beauty and historical intrigue. Whether you are a history enthusiast, nature lover, or just seeking a new adventure, Susita National Park is a must-visit on your next Israel tour.

The Ancient City of Susita

Susita, also known as Hippos, is an ancient city that dates back to the Hellenistic period. It was one of the ten cities of the Decapolis, a group of cities that were centers of Greek and Roman culture in a predominantly Semitic region. The city’s ruins, perched on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, provide a fascinating glimpse into its storied past. Archaeological excavations have uncovered remains of a basilica, a theater, and several residential areas, each narrating tales of a once-thriving metropolis.

Natural Beauty and Scenic Views

The location of Susita National Park is nothing short of spectacular. Situated on a plateau, the park offers panoramic views of the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, and the rolling hills of northern Israel. The scenery alone is worth the visit, providing countless opportunities for photography, picnicking, and hiking. The park’s trails cater to different levels of hikers, from easy walks suitable for families to more challenging routes for the adventurous.

Flora and Fauna

Susita National Park is not only a historical site but also a haven for nature enthusiasts. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, typical of the northern Israel region. Visitors can expect to see a range of wildflowers, shrubs, and trees that paint the landscape in vibrant colors, especially during the spring. Bird watchers will be delighted by the diverse bird species that inhabit the area, including birds of prey and various migratory birds.

Archaeological Significance

One of the highlights of visiting Susita National Park is the opportunity to explore its rich archaeological heritage. The ruins at Susita provide a unique insight into the life and architecture of ancient civilizations. Guided tours are available, offering detailed explanations of the site’s significance, the history of the Decapolis, and the ongoing excavations. The blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue makes Susita a unique destination in northern Israel.

The Conquest of Susita

The history of Susita is not limited to ancient times. During the War of Independence in 1948, the strategic location of Susita made it a focal point of military action. The people of Ein Gev, a nearby kibbutz, played a crucial role in its conquest. Their bravery and determination in capturing Susita from the Syrians, who were threatening the northeastern border of Israel, added a modern chapter to its long history, symbolizing the resilience and spirit of the region.

Activities and Amenities

Susita National Park offers a range of activities for visitors. If you are visiting without a tour guide, the park provides guided tours and educational programs. Nature lovers can enjoy the numerous hiking trails and picnic areas. The park is equipped with amenities such as restrooms, shaded areas, and information centers to enhance the visitor experience.

For families, Susita provides an educational experience for children and adults alike. Interactive displays and activities designed for younger visitors make learning about history and nature engaging and fun. Don’t miss the moving video about the brave people of Kibbutz Ein Gev.  Additionally, the park hosts seasonal events and festivals that highlight the cultural and natural beauty of the area, providing even more reasons to visit.

Bonus tip: If you are heading to Susita with a tour guide, ask to bathe in one of the secret natural springs near by. In such a case bring your bathing suits and towels!

Planning Your Visit

The best way to visit Susita is with a tour guide who owns a van for tourists. Otherwise, you will need to rent a car, as public transportation is unavailable to the national park. The best time to visit is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the natural surroundings are at their most vibrant. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, bring plenty of water, and don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning views.

Susita National Park is a shining example of the diverse attractions that northern Israel has to offer. Its combination of historical significance, natural beauty, and outdoor activities makes it an ideal destination for a wide range of visitors. Whether you are on a family vacation, an educational tour, or a solo adventure, Susita promises an enriching experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

Explore Susita National Park and discover the magic of northern Israel. It’s more than just a park; it’s a journey through time and nature, waiting for you to explore.

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