A visit to Mount Tabor is beautiful all the time of the year, but in the spring, it is unique. The lush green grass, the thunderclouds, the bright sun, and the fresh wind seem to recreate the miracle of the Transfiguration. The nature reserve of the mountain, ancient history, and the stone ruins of the crusaders immerse us in a unique cocktail of nature, history, and faith.
Mount Tabor is a mountain in the Lower Galilee in the Jezreel Valley. It rises to a rank of 588 meters above the level of the Mediterranean Sea. The hill has a glorious story since ancient times. There are several versions of the origin of the name.
One tradition argues that the word Tabor - is similar to the Hebrew word "Tabur," - which means "navel" in the concept of "center," "significant place." In the Arabic tradition, the mount is called A-Tour. Arabs use this word to call famous historical mountains, for example, Mount Sinai, Mount Gerizim, Mount of Olives.
The settlement was on the mountain during the First Temple. Although the Levites did not receive the allotment, this settlement belonged to the Levites. During the Second Temple, Mount Tabor was fortified by rebels, which mentioned in the Judean War. After Romans suppressed the Jewish rebellion, the Jewish presence continued on Mount Tabor. All the time of the First and Second Jerusalem Temples, Mount Tabor was the transmit point for notifications, messages, and alarms from Jerusalem, that held by making bonfires at elevated peaks of the central ridge and Galilee mountains. Announcements of the beginning and end of the holidays alert the new moon, signals of dangers and attentions were transmitted to the Mount Tabor.
Following the Christian tradition of the Transfiguration, the Church of the Transfiguration was built on Mount Tabor back in the days of the Byzantine Empire.
The exact place of Transfiguration is not known. Since there is no direct mention of the site of the Transfiguration Jesus, some sources consider the location of Transfiguration, one of the slopes of Mount Hermon near Caesarea Philippi (Banias). Byzantines was first to establish the tradition of Transfiguration in mount Tabor.
This tradition was so strong that even after the destruction of the church by Muslims during their conquest of the Holy Land, the open-air pray on Mount Tabor was conducted by the clergy of Nazareth on the day of the Transfiguration (August 6 according to the Catholic tradition, and August 19 according to the Orthodox).
The construction of fortifications was begun on Mount Tabor during the reign of the famous participant in the First Crusade of Tancred, Prince of Galilee.
Monks of the Cluny Abbey founded a monastery. Only about 100 years after the death of Tancred, the construction of the Catholic church began on the site of the fortified chateau of the great knight. Sultan Baibars destroyed it in 1263.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Catholics build on the site of Tancred's structures, a majestic temple of the Transfiguration of the Lord - the work of the famous architect Antonio Barluzzi.
The central portal of the temple stands on the ruins of the buildings of the crusaders. Its southern and northern sides are dedicated to the prophet Elijah and Moses.
The location of the hill on the most famous ancient road connecting the two centers of world civilization - Egypt and Mesopotamia, determined the strategic importance of this hill over the entire area of the Jezreel Valley. Great battles and wars were held in the valley during the period of Pharaoh Ramses the second, at the time of the Judges (the struggle against Midianites during the wars of the prophetess Deborah), the battle of the Hasmoneans when Alexander, son of Aristobulus fought against Gabinius. . Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the militia of Pasha Abdala from Damascus in close vicinity to Mount Tabor during his campaign in Syria in 1799. This victory cost the lives of many French soldiers, but was necessary by Napoleon, besieging Acre.
In 1854, the archimandrite Irinarch, a native of Moldova, the monk of the monastery of Sabbas the Sanctified, had a vision according to which he settled on Mount Tabor and, together with Hierodeacon Nestor, discovered and rebuild the church dated to the period of the Byzantine Empire. Irinarch died in 1959 on Christmas eve at the age of 93. His grave is located on top of a mountain. The church was completed and consecrated in 1962. It contains fragments of the Byzantine church and part of an ancient mosaic. There are three apsides in the Temple, corresponding to gospel traditions. The central one in honor of the Transfiguration, the southern one in honor of Moses and Elijah, the northern one in honor of Saint George and Demetrius of Thessaloniki. There is also a convent in which the miraculous icon of Mary, mother of Jesus, is kept. According to later legend, the monastery stands on the site of an ancient cave temple founded by Melchizedek.