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Written by Stephen Langfur
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Arbel Cliff

Hiking the Arbel cliff

The Arbel also offers a hike. It can include a descent of the cliff, using cables and metal rungs hammered into the rock. (This really adventurous part takes most people about fifteen or twenty minutes.) The descent follows a zigzag path to Wadi Hamam, the Valley of the Doves, so called because the wind, playing through the many caves in the cliff face, can make a sound like cooing. In this valley was a well-to-do Jewish village in the Roman and Byzantine periods. The mosaic floor of its synagogue was discovered in 2007. It features, uniquely, images of woodworkers building a structure, perhaps the Temple or Noah's ark. The mosaic is presently undergoing preservation and is not yet visible on site. (More on this discovery, with a picture...)

Here is a series of images showing what the hike is like. In order to have time for the view, a Bible reading, meditation and descent, one should leave at least two and a half hours. The bus waits in Wadi Hamam. It is possible to omit the descent, walk along the cliff edge for ten minutes (first picture below) and then cut back to the bus before it leaves for Wadi Hamam.