Glimpses of Israel - Belvoir

by Joseph Hunting

It was one of those beautiful spring days when it feels good to be alive as we climbed the heights to the ruins of the Crusader castle overlooking the Jordan valley. The Crusaders had aptly named their eagle’s eyrie ‘Belvoir’ meaning ‘lovely view’ .

Eight centuries ago Belvoir and the surrounding hills rang with the clash of weapons as Crusader and Saracen armies fought for supremacy of the Holy Land. On the nearby Horns of Hattin the Crusaders were defeated in one of the bloodiest battles of the campaign.

In spite of the battles and the ravages of time much of Belvoir is still well preserved. Paved courtyards, graceful archways and high vaulted ceilings reveal the splendid architecture of the period. And some of the massive ramparts look as though they could easily endure another eight centuries.

Below Belvoir, the Jordan valley extends north and south as far as the eye can see. To the north, the Sea of Galilee glitters like a sapphire jewel in the bright sunlight, and the river Jordan winds its way south to the Dead Sea.

There is a great contrast between these two inland seas though they are both supplied from the same river.

But contrasts are commonplace in this country. Caves by the Sea of Galilee recently yielded human fragments dating from the dawn of time and we pondered the contrast between the earliest sojourners in this land and their modern counterparts. We thought of the countless wars fought over this land, called Holy, and wondered if man has really progressed.