Mt. Tabor (Tavor): was the site where the famous battle between Barak, son of Avinoam, under the leadership of the Jewish judge Deborah (Judges 4:6), and the army of Yavin commanded by Sisera, took place in the mid 12th century BCE.
It is also believed by many Christians as the site of the Transfiguration of Yeshua.
In the days of the 2nd Temple (516 BCE – 70 CE) era, Mt. Tabor was one of the mountain peaks in the Holy land where it was the custom to light fire to inform the surrounding villages of the coming of Jewish holydays and the start of new months.
Around 55 BCE, during one of the Hasmonean rebellions against the Roman occupation, Alexander Jannaeus was defeated in battle at Mt. Tabor.
During the Great Revolt against the Roman Occupation in 66 CE, the Galilean Jews defended the mountain under the command of Yosef Ben Matityahu.
The composers of the New Testament mention that Yeshua had brought Petrus, Yaakov, and Yochanan his brother up a high mountain where he rose above them, met Moses and Elijah and became radiant there (Matthew 17:1-12). However, none of these accounts identify the “high mountain” of the scene by name. The earliest identification of the Mt. of Transfiguration as Tabor is by Origen in the 3rd C.
Due to the importance of Mt. Tabor in the Christian tradition, the mountain became a pilgrimage site from the 4th C onward. According to pilgrims who visited the site during the 6th C describe three churches on the top of the mountain.
During the Crusades, the mountain changed hands many times between Muslims and Christians. In 1099 the Crusaders fortified the monastery on the peak of the mountain, in order to protect the pilgrims from Muslims attacks.
In 1263 the Mamluk Warlord, Baibars. occupied the fortress and destroyed all the buildings on the mountain.
In 1799, during Napoleon’s expedition to the Holy Land a battle was fought, in the valley between Mt. Tabor and the Hill of Moreh in which the French under the command of Napoleon won against the defending Ottomans.
Between the years 1919 to 1924 a beautiful Franciscan church named “Church of the Transfiguration” was built on Mt. Tabor. The building was designed by the famous Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi. The church was built upon the ruins of a Byzantine church from the 5th C and ruins of a Crusader church from the 12th C, built in honor of Tancred, Prince of Galilee.
The Greek Orthodox monastery on the same mountain is also dedicated to the Transfiguration. The construction of that church was started by a Romanian monk, Irinarh Rosetti, in 1859, and finished by his disciple, Nectarie Banul, in 1862, making it the first religious structure built by Romanian Christians in the Holy Land.
From here we recommend driving eastward through the Circassians village of Kfar Kama descend through the valley of Yavne’el to the city of Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Overnight we will stay at one of the many hotels or hostels in Tiberias.
By bus, taxi or Guided Tour.