Rising above Israel's lovely northern coastline is the mountain that features prominently in biblical history and is the current home to ethnic groups like the Druze community. Visitors to Mount Carmel are able to experience the natural wonders of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) protected area which is also just miles away from the cosmopolitan city of Haifa.
Exploring the Landscape of Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel has become the benchmark of beauty for coastal mountainous regions and has inspired the names of other scenic seaside cities around the world like California's Carmel-by-the-Sea that frequently attracts Hollywood celebrities like its former mayor Clint Eastwood. Tours of the mountain range with Ori span across its width of five miles and extends approximately 24 miles along its length. Mount Carmel's highest point ascends to over 1,700 feet above sea level and provides unforgettable photo opportunities in all directions. The famously lush hillsides that traditionally nourished olive trees and wine vineyards frame the Jezreel Valley toward the northeast and portions of historic Galilee.
Mount Carmel's Important Anthropological Features
Besides its stunning panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea, the mountains contain numerous caves recognized by UNESCO as possible habitations of prehistoric man. The Mount Carmel caves present amateur anthropologists and archaeologists with opportunities to see an unbroken sequence of progressive human history through the fossil records found of now extinct cultures from hunter gatherer communities to more modern agricultural people groups. The caves like Tabun, Jamal, and El-Wad are recognized as World Heritage sites and are unlike any in the region.
Ancient Mount Carmel of the Bible
Bible buffs jump at the chance to discover for themselves the ancient sites of scriptural events that took place at Mount Carmel. This was the area where the soon to be king David gained early notoriety and acquired his first two wives Abigail the Carmelitess and Ahinoam the Jezreelitess. The mountains of Israel were also known as sacred areas for both Israelite prophets and Canaanite priests, and most visitors refuse to leave before seeing the location of the famous show down between Elijah and Jezebel's baal worshiping prophets.
Modern Mount Carmel
Visitors to Mount Carmel can appreciate the contributions of the ethnic Druze community that features prominently across the region spanning northern Israel, parts of Syria, and Lebanon. Their ancient connection to the land of Israel began during the time of Moses as they acknowledge Moses' father in law and ancient Midian priest Jethro as one of their patriarchs. Additionally, tourists can take to the wooded hiking and biking trails to arrive at the large kibbutz Ma'agan Michael.
There is no place in the world quite like the original Mount Carmel by the Mediterranean Sea. A tour of the region with Ori Stern satisfies the intellectual curiosities of scientists, historians and nature enthusiasts alike.