Today we visited many different ancient towns such as Dan. This city is one of the oldest sites in Israel dating back about 3-4000 years. It was crazy to see some of the walls still standing! There is also a temple that was built here by Jeroboam when the kingdom of Israel was split.
On the northern frontier of the kingdom, Dan was particularly well fortified. This gatehouse was built in the ninth century BCE, probably by Ahab, and is part of a series of gateways discovered.
We also visited Qatzrin which was another ancient city that has been partially excavated. This site was unique because they had rebuild some of the structures and houses to show what life during that time would have looked like. Here is where we talked about how real it would have been to be packed in one of these houses to hear Jesus teach, only to be interrupted by men digging through the roof to lower their friend. (Mark 2 - actually happened in Capernaum but for illustrations sack we used this room)
The ancient Jewish farming village of Katzrin was built around a spring, which still flows. Although there were standing ruins on the site, archaeological excavations have increased the number of accessible ancient buildings. An ancient synagogue was discovered in 1967 and excavated between 1971 and 1984. Other parts of the village were excavated beginning in 1983. Some of the buildings have been reconstructed on their ancient foundations and furnished with replicas of household goods and tools
One of the most significant sites we visited was Caesarea Philippi. In Jesus' time this city was a huge pagan city that worshipped many gods but here they built a temple to The Greek god Pan. They believed that the Gates of Hades, the mouth of the Jordan river, would only flow if they had pleased Pan. The people would celebrate the harvest and fertility by having mass sacrifices of goats, cows, and other animals as well as have massive orgies in the streets in order to please the god. It is here that Jesus took his disciples, the "worse" and most ungodly place, to proclaim that he was the Son of the living God. More than that he tells them that not even the Gates of Hades can overcome this truth. Matthew 16:13-28.
This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.