Ein Pik and Mitzpe Afik

This short family hike takes you via an exotic pathway from the partially reconstructed ruins of the Syrian and formerly Jewish village of Pik to its spring Ein Pik. From the village there is a wonderful view of the Ein Gev wadi. Next, walk to the overlook of Mitzpe Afik, also with wonderful views and a strong connection to the story of the Jewish spy Eli Cohen.

FOR THE SHORT HIKE

 

Time: At least 45-60 minutes.

Distance: 0.90 Km there and back.

Type of walk: One-way.

Difficulty: The descent to the spring is on stone and metal steps with bars on either side. The short final section to the spring is slightly difficult and there are rocks to climb over.

Directions: Enter “Ein Pik” into Waze. This will lead you to the parking area. There is a portable WC here.

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Pik is named after the Syrian village that was here. It was deserted after the Six Day War and some of the Arab basalt homes have been reconstructed. In the Roman and Byzantine periods It was one of the many Jewish villages in the Golan. Archeological findings of Jewish interest are a pillar on which was engraved a seven-branched menorah and the Hebrew words “ana yehuda hazan” – I am Judah the cantor. This can be viewed in the Golan Archeological Museum in Katzrin. Also displayed there are the finding of a lintel with a menorah and other Temple symbols – a shofar, an incense pan, and the citrous fruit the etrog.

 

From its Arabic name, it has been suggested that this was the site of the Biblical city of Aphek, which is mentioned several times in the Bible. In the 9th century BCE, King Ahab, the king of the Northern Israelite Kingdom, decisively defeated Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram who had declared war on Israel. Ben-Hadad’s army suffered numerous casualties in this battle as told in Kings 1 28:20. The surviving Arameans fled to the nearby Biblical city of Afek and the walls of the city fell on them. It has been speculated that the city of Afek may have been here and its name was retained in the Arabic Pik. In fact, Aramean ruins have been located here. If this is the case, then the battle would have been nearby. However, other location for this city have also been proposed and there may even have more than one Biblical city called Aphek.

Directions to the spring:

 

  • Take the path ahead of you. At the first fork turn right. At the next fork turn either to the right or left - both lead to the village. Some of the Syrian buildings have been reconstructed.

 

From the wooden bridge there is a beautiful view of the Ein Gev wadi. The small hill in the distance in the same line as the spring bed is the site of the ruins of the Greek city of Sussita (which can be visited). Beyond this you can see Lake Kinneret.

 

  • Take the steps on the left to the spring through a shaded path with dense foliage on either side. Crossing the remains of an aqueduct will bring you to a small concrete-bounded pool. It is quite deep, up to the neck of an average height adult. Just before the pool is a short path to the spring. The source of the spring is in a crevice in a rock, and water can be seen dripping from its roof. The kids can play in its cool water.

 

  • Return to your car the way you came.

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The path from the village to the spring of Ein Pik is quite exotic.

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Watch the spring water drip from the crevice in the cliff. Kids can play in the water.

Visiting Mitzpe Afik (Afik Overlook):

 

A visit to Mitzpe Afik is worthwhile. There used to be a direct footpath from Ein Piq to the overlook, but I was unable to find it and it no longer seems to be passable. Instead walk up to Kibbutz Afik and the overlook is on the south-west edge of the kibbutz. If you are short on time, drive to the kibbutz. Enter “מצפה אפיק” into Waze. The building by the overlook is a former Syrian officers building and it is number 4 on the Eli Cohen trail.

 

From the parking lot continue straight ahead and this will lead you up to a southern peripheral road of the kibbutz.

 

Turn left and continue on the southern-most peripheral roads until you reach the lookout, which is a small garden. There is a recording about the view, which can also be heard in English. Visit the former Syrian officer’s building, although there is not much in it.

 

You return the way you came.

Paths to Ein Pk and Mitzpe Afik: To follow your location on your smart phone, click on https://israelhiking.osm.org.il/share/wY4vknCd4z. Click on the black box with a cross at the top left of the map and it should change color to green. It is not necessary to download the program unless you wish to.

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The simple memorial to Eli Cohen in the Syrian officer's building.

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View from Mitzpe Afik, including the ancient city of Sussita.