Tel Dan

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Tel Dan ( Hebrew תל דן, Arabic تل القادي Tell al-Qadi / Tell al Kadi , DMG Tall al- qāḍī  'Hill of the Judge') is a national park and nature reserve about one kilometer north of Kibbutz Dan in northern Israel . The reserve includes the approximately 20 meter high settlementhill( Tel ) of acity ​​inhabitedfrom the early Canaanite to the Roman times, as well as the sources of the Dan River.

Tel Dan, Israelite Gate
Tel Dan, Canaanite Gate
The Tel Dan inscription. The mention of the "House of David" can be found in the 9th line
The Tel Dan inscription. The mention of the "House of David" can be found in the 9th line


The first city was founded around 2700 BC. Founded in BC and populated by Canaanite tribes. The city of Lajisch (also called Leshem , Laish ) was later conquered by the Israelite tribe Dan and continued to be inhabited ( Judges 18 : 11-31  EU ). After the division of the Solomonic Empire , the Israelite king Jeroboam made the city of Dan a place of worship and an alternative to the Jerusalem temple . The place of worship at an elevated point north of the Dan source was used until the Hellenistic period . In Roman times the city was abandoned and settlement shifted to Banyas . In 1838 Edward Robinson recognized the biblical city of Dan in the Tel.

In 1966, a team of archaeologists led by Professor Avraham Biran began excavations. A paved public square was uncovered. In the summer of 1993, a black block of basalt with the Tel-Dan inscription was discovered.

In 1964, in the so-called " water war ", there were military conflicts between Syria and Israel over the use of the source. The occasion was the demarcation of 1923 between the British League of Nations mandate for Palestine and the French League of Nations mandate for Syria and Lebanon . The border was drawn with a pencil line on the map directly north of Tel Dan in order to realize an Eretz Israel from Dan to Be'er Sheva in the British Mandate area according to biblical tradition. The line on the map corresponds to a strip about 130 meters wide, in which the Dan sources are also located, and which both Syria and Israel claimed for themselves. Syria derived from this the claim to tap the springs and divert the water to the north. To emphasize this claim, a military post was set up in the village of Nohila, 400 meters away, where tanks were stationed. Israel responded by building a paved patrol road on the northern flank of the Tel and by permanently occupying the Israeli military post on the Tel. After increasingly frequent firefights, the Syrian army shelled Kibbutz Dan on November 13th. Israel responded with massive use of land and air forces, destroying the Syrian military post and the equipment intended for the Syrian water drainage. Further Syrian efforts to gain sovereignty over the Dan sources were made obsolete by the Six Day War and the shifting of the Israeli-Syrian armistice line to the east .

Israel, for its part, had already planned a water drainage from the Dan spring in the early 1960s to counter the water shortage in Israel. From 1966 the possibilities of using the Dan's water were heatedly debated between water planners and conservationists. The conservationists called for nature to be preserved in Tel Dan and pushed for water to be drawn further downstream. After three years of discussion, they prevailed, and the Tel Dan area was declared a nature reserve in 1974.

Nature reserve

The sources of the Dan are distributed over several source pools in the reserve. With an annual pouring of 240 million cubic meters, the Dan is not only the largest of the three Jordan source rivers, but also the richest source in the Middle East. At the same time, the source area of ​​the Dan is very small, almost all of the river's water originates from the deep springs. As a result, the water emerges at a constantly low temperature of 14.5 ° C and with high quality and purity. The area is overseen by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority .


Web links

Commons : Tel Dan  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 33 ° 14 ′ 55.3 "  N , 35 ° 39 ′ 7.8"  E