Ethnic Groups in the Galilee

A Tour Following Ethnic Groups and Religions in the Galilee

The tour will take place in the Galilee and include: magical landscapes, fascinating stories, hidden gems, meeting juicy characters and personalities.

We will begin in the picturesque village of Dir Hana, a village with mixed population- Muslims and Christians. This is one of the three ancient villages in the Galilee where the crusader outline has been preserved. The village’s core, surrounded by a wall survived almost in its entirety. The meaning of the name Dir Hana: John’s monastery, this tells us of the existence of an ancient Christian community, perhaps from the time of the crusades. The wall’s northern gate from the 18th century, beautiful segments of the wall from that period and an impressive mosque have all been perfectly preserved. Also partially preserved is the citadel, near the wall and the mosque. It is possible to climb to the roof of the mosque through a mysterious spiral staircase and overlook the great scenery of the Lower Galilee from the garden of a gracious family.

We will visit an ancient olive press still operated with a donkey.

We will visit the house of a Christian family, with its arched ceilings and taste delicacies like carob honey and magnificent olives.

We will go to village’s spring at the foot of Netufa Mountain and enter perhaps the oldest olive grove in the country. We will see olive trees with immense trunks and tell legends of these amazing trees as well as learn the tradition of producing olive oil in the surrounding villages.

A look at literature of medieval travelers shows a fascinating demographic picture of an ancient Jewish community residing in Muslim villages. Jews known as Mustarebim or Mursikim who never left the land in times of the Diaspora.

We will continue to the Circassian village of Rehaniya.

The Circassians are an ancient community that came from the mountains of the Caucasus, which in Russia. Their religion is Muslim.

A small community living in the area with the assistance of Ottoman rule mid-19th century after persecuted by the Russians.

They magically keep the language and tradition.

Where we will meet Shuki and visit the local museum and hear about the Circassian people, language and tradition. We will be guests in Shuki’s garden to taste a cheese pastry called Hlug’ as well as Circassian tea.

From here we will drive to the village Gush Halav (Jish) whose population is Muslim and Christian. We will wander through the ancient village’s alleys, between churches and mosques and visit an impressive mausoleum that was randomly discovered in the yard of a Christian family’s house. This is a 2000 year old burial site that has been preserved almost perfectly.

We will tell of the village mentioned in the writings of Josephus and in the Talmud as well as legends indicating the village’s wealth.

We will climb to the Druze village Beit Jan on an enchanting road winding through ancient olive groves and fruit orchards.

The Druze is an ancient community who founded the religion 800 years ago. Their religion is secret and they live in villages in the Galilee Mountains.

We will visit Dr. Jamal, a specialist in producing olive oil and wild herbs based cosmetics, a combination of tradition and innovative knowledge.

We will end the tour with a delicious Druze meal in Faiz’s house, overlooking the village of Beit Jan and the Meron Mount nature reserve. Faiz’s wife does wonders with Druze cuisine. The magnificent taste of her home cured olives cannot be put into words.

This is the time and place to end a tour of the Galilee’s human and cultural mosaic.