A walk along Tel Gezer reveals the most unexpected and amazing moments of the distant past. The oldest Hebrew inscription was found here. The giant pagan altar of Canaan was found here. The city gates of the times of King Solomon were found here. Spring is the best time for walking. A green carpet of lush grass covers the hill slopes, and trails lead to the cold waters of a natural spring in the middle of wheat fields.
A non-paved country road leads to the parking lot. The way passes through the village of Karmey Yosef. Along the way, there are signs with the inscription "Tel Gezer." A hiking trail rises to the hill. The climb is not steep, and as you climb, a beautiful view of the valley opens. You can continue the trip by car to the top of the hill. But in this way, you will lose the feeling of approaching up the city, which is so essential for the ancient traveler, which was ascending into the town in the head of a caravan. By the way, we approach the city from the old route from Egypt.
At the top of the hill, we meet the entrance to the park and the inscription as follows: TEL GEZER NATIONAL PARK Welcomes you! Tel Gezer is one of the most important biblical sites in Israel. It contains impressive remains, among them the city walls, a massive tower, and a monolith temple, all from the Canaanite period. "Solomon's Gate“ was also discovered, as well as the Gezer Calendar (the most ancient Hebrew inscription ever found), dated to the Israelite period. Please observe the following rules: • Do not harm the antiquities, flora, and fauna! • Moving in vehicles is prohibited! Danger - open pits! Use only marked paths! • The lighting of fires is forbidden! • Do not remain in reserve after dark. Keep the area clean. Enjoy your visit! Israel Nature and Parks Authority
The Gezer Calendar A 10th century BCE inscription on a small limestone tablet The Gezer Calendar, which measures 7 x 11 cm, is considered the oldest ancient Hebrew document so far discovered. lt was found by Macalister among mounds of excavated material from his dig. It is now on display at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The calendar is generally believed to be a record of agricultural work done during the 12 months of the year. Translation of the inscription: Two months of harvest Two months of sowing Two months of late planting One month of hoeing flax One month of barley harvest One month of harvest and measuring Two months of vine pruning One month of summer [fruit]
Macalister, the son of Professor of Zoology, the University of Dublin, first interested in the archaeology of Ireland, developed a keen interest in biblical archaeology. He excavated several ancient hills in Ottoman Palestine from 1898 to 1900. From 1902 to 1909, he was responsible for the excavations at Gezer and found the very early Hebrew calendrical inscription. Although he managed to compile the first chronology of the place, based on the relative stratigraphy of Flinders Petrie - the prototype of Indiana Johnson, Makalister made many big mistakes that left many questions to subsequent generations of archaeologists. We climbed the mound that Makalister left from the waste material being excavated. To our right is the valley of the Gezer stream, which flows into the Ayalon River. Directly below the mound is the city’s tower. To our left are the coastal valley and the towns of the Greater Tel Aviv area. It is here that it becomes clear that the main ways of the ancient world between Egypt and Mesopotamia passed here and intersected with the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem.
Along the hiking trail, salvia is rampant. The plant has a long history of medicinal and culinary use. In ancient times, warriors used it to treat wounds. The European name for the plant Salvia comes from the Roman word Salvia - savior. We descended the hill down to the base of ancient ruins. The Canaanite tower is in front of us. It was part of the fortifications of the city of Gezer in the Canaanite period (Middle Bronze Age). The Bronze Age is a period that was characterized by the use of bronze and urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the time of the famous ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian ancient societies. The tower protected the area of the city gate, which was discovered about 20 m to its east. Its huge size (16 m wide), the large stone blocks of which it was built and its immense preserved height (5 m), make it the largest Canaanite tower ever found. The tower's uniform survived height indicates that from this point upward it was built of mudbricks that did not survive. The original height of the tower is estimated at about 15 m. This may have been a gated fortress, housing a military and administrative center, the dwelling of the king or the governor, public reception rooms and various service rooms.
The Canaanite Gate The gate of the Canaanite city that was connected by a wall to a gigantic watchtower The gate and the tower were part of a wall that surrounded the city. The gate is typical of this period; it is constructed of mud-brick on a stone foundation, and is preserved to a height of seven meters. Huge stone pilasters protruding into the passageway narrow its width. On the outside were wooden doors that did not survive. From the gate, the city wall continues left and connects to the remains of the gigantic watchtower. The tower was about 16 meters wide and more than 20 meters long! It is the largest fortification of its type in Israel.
Silybum marianum has other common names milk thistle, or Saint Mary's thistle, originally a native of Southern Europe, it is now found throughout the world. Milk thistle roots can be eaten raw or boiled. The young shoots in spring can be cut down to the root and boiled as a spinach substitute or they can also be added raw to salads.
"Solomon's Gate" is the southern gate of the Israelite city. The gate consists of three rooms on either side of a passageway. A stone bench exists along the walls in each of them. In the room to the far left, a large stone basin was found. The floor of the passageway had a rainwater drainage channel covered with paving stones. On both sides of the gate's outer opening, towers were incorporated into the city wall. The entrance, very similar to those discovered at Hazor and Megiddo, was probably built in the 10th century BCE. It shows evidence of a significant fire, which can be attributed to the violent conquest by Pharaoh Shishak in 925 BCE. The connection between Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer is also reflected in the following verse that describes Solomon's building activities: "This was the purpose of the forced labor which Solomon imposed: It was to build the House of the Lord, his palace, the Millo, and the wall 'of Jerusalem, and [to fortify] Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer" (1 Kings 9:15).
A walk along the southern slope goes over the valley of the Gezer creek. Vineyards are visible in the valley. Above the vineyards rise the hills of Shfela, beyond which the mountains of the Jerusalem ridge are visible.
In the western part of the hill are the remains of Sheikh's tomb, which is attributed to Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazali. Abu Hamed Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Ghazali was born in 1058 AD in the city of Fly in the Khorasan region of eastern Persia, near the town of Mashhad. Mentioned in medieval Hebrew texts called "al-Ghazali," he was a Muslim philosopher and corrector, one of the most important Muslim theologians.
High Place - Monolithic Temple is a shrine, which includes one stone basin and ten monoliths, each different from the other in size and shape Scholars believe the temple served as a venue where alliances between tribes or city-states were forged or renewed. The ten monoliths may have symbolized the city of Gezer and nine allied cities in its vicinity. The stone basin may have served as a container for a blood libation during an alliance ceremony. A ritual of this type is described in the Bible after Moses brought the Ten Commandments down A figurine of a fertility goddess Mount Sinai: "Moses then wrote down all the commands of the Lord. Early in the morning, he set up an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel […..] Moses took one part of the blood and put it in the stone basins, and the other part of the blood he burned against the altar" (Exodus 24:4-6).
Along the northern slope, a path descends to the foot of the hill. Very rarely go along these paths, and here you can find a lot of exciting things.
During the reign of the Greeks and later during the reign of the Hasmoneans, people again settled in these places. They cultivated vineyards and produced wine. Take a closer look at the stones, and you will see baths carved into the rock. They were used to collect grapes in them and crush it. Juice flowed into the carved stone tanks.
The valley of the Gezer stream has always been fertile. Wheat and grapes were grown here. Just like this is happening today.
In 1177, this plain near Gezer was the site of the Battle of Montgisard. The small Crusaders army of Baldwin IV defeated the forces of Saladin. A castle of Crusader Lordship of Montgisard stood there, a short distance from Ramleh.
Around the water spring, there is a meadow in which grows the marsh clover, and a memorial corner for soldier Itai Steinberger, a member of Carmi Yosef village, who fell in the Second Lebanon War.
Yarda spring is the ultimate natural water source in the area of Tel Gezer, originates in a well about two meters in diameter next to it are fig trees. When the water level is high, the excess water flows out down the Gezer stream - one of the tributaries of the Ayalon River.