Built around 1229 by Saladin’s nephew Al- Aziz Uthman, the fortress now resembles a botanical garden. It is a partially restored ruined fortress with plants growing all along the paths.
Shmuel and I went up there recently with a group and had fun exploring every nook and cranny. The views from the hidden rooms are not to be missed! It’s pleasant in the summer, with a cool wind blowing from the surrounding hills.
It is truly an experience to walk along the paths, with stone slabs edging on one side, and a forest down the middle. It’s peaceful, with the noise and bustle of society blocked by the trees, walls and distance. My favorite place is the Beautiful Tower- a tower in the middle, with stones carefully crafted.
After the Port of Akko was conquered, Nimrod’s Fortress lost its strategic value. It fell into disrepair until it was used again during the Ottoman period as a luxury prison for exiled Ottoman nobles.
For further reading on Nimrod’s Fortress, check out the article from the Jewish Times Asia.
The August torch-light tours are an experience which will be remembered by all members of the family, but must be carefully planned in advance due to timing and location. However, if you have to choose between a trip during daylight hours or at night, go for the daytime trip, as the view of the deep Hermon Valley is something that should not be missed, and will not be clearly visible at night.
Nimrod’s Fortress was named for the hunter Nimrod, grandson of Noah, who was first depicted in the book of Genesis. Sir Walter Raleigh discussed the “Land of Nimrod” in his History of the World (1616). Tradition says that Nimrod was the leader of those who built the Tower of Babel. Different versions of Nimrod are also recounted in Armenian and Hungarian legends, and in some stories, was one of the founding fathers of the Free Masons. This area in the Golan Heights is, according to legend, where Nimrod hunted, and thus, the fortress is now called Nimrod’s Fortress.
While Nimrod’s Fortress is off the beaten path and a bit of a drive away from civilization, it is definitely a site that should not be missed for a well travelled tourist who is looking for something different.
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