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Sussita National Park 

The ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Sussita are located in the Golan Heights on top of a prominent hill overlooking Kibbutz Ein Gev, which is on Lake Kinneret. This national park was formerly regarded as being off the beaten track, but reconstructions are being carried out and the park is becoming more popular. It can be reached via its main entrance and also via a scenic circular hike from its lower parking lot.



Time: About 1½-2 hours.

Distance: 4¼ Km.

Type of hike: Circular.

Difficulty: An easy path but with a continuous incline to the ruins.

Directions: Enter into Waze "Sussita“ and click on “Sussita National Park.“ Waze will lead you to Sussita’s Upper Parking Lot. For this hike, park at the Lower Parking Lot. If you are coming from Route 92 along Lake Kinneret, turn off this road just before the Ein Gev traffic circle onto an “anonymous” road. By a sharp bend in the road, you will see a small parking area on your left with a prominent green sign in Hebrew from the Israel Nature and Park Authority. If you are already in the Golan, Waze will direct you from Route 98 along this same Mevo Hama Road.

Admission: This is a site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The site is open from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and Saturday and on Friday and holiday eves 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Closing time is one hour earlier in the winter. Their phone number is *3639. This is their website.


The ruins at Sussita are from the Roman and Byzantine periods from the 1st century BCE to the 7th century CE.

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What is a Greek pagan city doing in Israel?


As related in the Bible, Moses allotted captured territory east of the Jordan River to the tribes of Reuven, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh. After First Temple times, however, the eastern side of the Jordan River was under Jewish control for only a limited time during the reigns of the Hasmoneans and Herod the Great.


The city of Sussita was founded by the Ptolemaic Greeks, whose base was in Egypt, in the 3rd century BCE, possibly as a border fortress between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires. These two kingdoms were created by the generals of Alexander the Great after his death and this area was the front line between them during their subsequent fighting. Sussita later became part of the Seleucid empire, whose capital was in Iraq and then Turkey. The city was then called Antiochia Hippos. Hippos is Greek for a horse. It may have been called this because of the horse-shoe shape of the hill on which it was located. The name Sussita is Aramaic for a female horse.


After many years of conflict, the Hasmoneans were eventually able to displace the Seleucids from Judea. The Hasmonean ruler Alexander Jannaeus took over lands east of the Jordan River between 83 to 80 BCE.


Hasmonean rule was brought to an end by the Roman general Pompey when he conquered Judea. Hippos then became one of ten cities on the eastern side of the Jordan River collectively called the Decapolis, and each was granted self-rule as part of the Roman Province of Syria. However, when Judea was ruled by Herod the Great, Rome transferred Hippos to his rule and the city again became part of the Jewish kingdom. On his death, it reverted back to the Province of Syria. The Decapolis was never part of the kingdoms of Herod's son Herod Antipas, grandson Herod Agrippa, or Herod Agrippa II.


After the defeat of the Jews in their Great Revolt against Rome, this city became part of the Roman province of Palaestina, and it reached its peak then in terms of prosperity, architecture and population. Together with the other cities of the Decapolis, it became a center of Greek and Roman culture. New city walls were built, and a 24-Km aqueduct was constructed to bring spring water from the Golan Heights into the city.


Sussita was initially pagan, although it may have had a small Jewish community. As evident from its churches, it became Christianized during the Byzantine period. The city declined during the Muslim period. The city was abandoned after the earthquake of 749 CE which caused considerable destruction.


Prior to Israel’s War of Independence, Kibbutz Ein Gev was Israel’s northern-most settlement on the eastern side of Lake Kinneret. During the 1948 War of Independence, members of the kibbutz captured the hill of Sussita, and Sussita remained on the western or Israeli side of the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria. This remained the situation until the Six-Day War when Israel captured the entire Golan Heights from the Syrians.  



A very nice hike goes from the Lower Parking Lot to the lower entrance to the city along a snake-like path overlooking Nahal Ein Gev. It has next to no shade and there is a continuous incline, but the gravel path is otherwise easy. You will come to the main thoroughfare of the city with its original Roman basalt paving and then the main square, basilica, temples, a small theater, churches, bathhouse and houses.

You can return the way you came at any time. You can also make this a circular hike by continuing to the main entrance of Sussita. At the end of the Sussita turn-off, turn right onto the main Ein Gev Road to the Lower Parking Lot and your car. 

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The city of Hippos was built on a grid pattern centered around a long main street running east-west through the city.

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View of Ein Gev and Lake Kinneret from the snake-like path leading to Sussita.

Nearby places of interest

Consider a visit to nearby Kibbutz Ein Gev. After entering the kibbutz, continue straight ahead until you come to parking areas by the harbor. Close to this is a scenic path along the harbor, restrooms, an art store, fish restaurants, and café. If you continue southwards on the path by the side of the lake, you will come to the kibbutz beach. It is a sandy beach, although a bit stony as you go out into the lake. There is no lifeguard, restrooms or changing area here (although you can use the facilities by the parking area).

Links to the HOME PAGE and best family activities, hikes and historic sites in the GOLAN, EASTERN GALILEE, UPPER GALILEE, LOWER GALILEE, JORDAN VALLEY & LAKE KINNERET, the SHEFELAH, TEL AVIV-YAFFO and surroundings, NORTH of TEL AVIV, and SOUTH of TEL AVIV.

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