Friday, December 28, 2012

Haaretz: Aphek and Antipatris

Miriam Feinberg Vamosh writes about the biblical site of Aphek in Haaretz (free subscription required).

The lumbering fortress that crowns the ancient mound at Yarkon Sources-Tel Afek National Park is just one of many must-see sights and a good place to start an approximately two-hour visit that effortlessly combines nature and heritage. 

From the northwestern tower of this 16th-century compound you’ll get a breathtaking view of the coastal plain. From the southeastern corner of the fortress you can peer down at remains of the Roman road, built by Herod the Great who named it Antipatris after his father. The road recalls the New Testament story of Paul the Apostle, who spent the night here with his Roman guards as they marched him from Jerusalem to Caesarea (Acts 23:31). But the road is a virtual historical toddler compared to the other antiquities you’ll see.

The city of Afek, straddling a strategic pass on the ancient highway from Egypt to Mesopotamia (the Via Maris) was founded in the fifth millennium BCE and is first mentioned in Egyptian writings some 4,000 thousand years ago. Among the finds unearthed in excavations of the Egyptian governor’s palace are documents written in hieroglyphics, Hittite, Akkadian, and Sumerian.

The story also notes the biblical connection as well as some modern history. The four-minute video does not include narration.

For more photos and history of the site, see the BiblePlaces page on Aphek and Antipatris.

Aphek Turkish fort with lake, tb052905334

Lake and Turkish fortress at biblical Aphek.
Photo from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

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