The Golan Heights rise from 400 to 1700 feet in the northeastern section ofthe country. Israel's highest mountain, Mt. Hermon, is located here.The plateau was once actively volcanic and the northernmost points remain weathered and desolate. The Golan overlooks the Hula Valley Israel's richest agricultural area.
The Golan is a strategically important region, extending like a finger between the borders of Lebanon
.In the past, that finger was crucial to preventing the Israeli defense dike from bursting and allowing Arab armies to flood the country. Why? Because it is only about 60 miles -- without major terrain obstacles --from the western Golan to Haifa
,Israel's industrial heartland. In the hands of a friendly neighbor, the escarpment has little military importance. If controlled by a hostile country, however, the Golan has the potential to again become a strategic nightmare for Israel. Today, you can visit former Syrian bunkers to see the view their gunners enjoyed of the valley below. Thiswill give you an appreciation of the strategic value of the Golan thatyou cannot get without seeing it for yourself. Be sure to stay on thewell-worn paths, because old Syrian mine fields remain uncleared beyond them.
is one of the sources of the Jordan River. Today, the Banyas are agreat place to hike to see waterfalls and to go river rafting. In the center of the Golan is Katzrin, a government-planned town where many army officers stationed in the area settled. The town has an interesting museum of regional history. It is also the site of anancient synagogue and a winery where you can sample some of the best Israeli wines.
Learn more about the Golan Heights
Virtual Tour content provided by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise(AICE). To find more information about the sites on our trip and general facts about Israel visit the Virtual Israel Experience
at AICE's Web site.