Tel Yodfat


On a beautiful, but very windy, Friday morning, we took our water bottles and headed for the historical site of Tel Yodfat, about a 30 minute drive from home. We knew the site had some history, but we weren’t sure what it was until we got there.

It is actually a very important site in Israel’s history. It was the first Jewish town that was brutally attacked by the Romans in response to the Great Jewish Revolt, in 67 CE. After 47 days, the Romans conquered the city, 40,000 Jews were killed, and 1,200 women and children were enslaved. Yodfat was razed and burnt to the ground. A lot is known about the battle that took place here, thanks to Josephus Flavius’ historical book, The Jewish War (also called, The Wars of The Jews).

Ancient Yodfat (called Jotapata by the Greeks) is mentioned in the Mishnah as a fortified Jewish village dating from the time of Joshua. However, archaeological explorations of the site have revealed a modest village established sometime during the Hellenistic period, between the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. As the Hasmonean kings extended their influence into the Galilee during the last decades of the 2nd century BCE, a change of population occurred at Yodfat, and Jews populated the village.

There are many caves and small caverns on the hill.

According to the Mishnah, the town of Yodfat was encompassed by a wall before the Israelite conquest of Canaan under Joshua.


If you are interested in more information about the site, this blog post, by Lev Tsimbler, is quite comprehensive.


Aside from its fantastic history, Tel Yodfat is also known as one of the spots in Israel with an amazing abundance of squill flowers (chatzavim)! But in September, not when we were there in January.


Sadly, the Fresco House wasn't accessible to the public.

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