• Issue: October 1973
  • Designer: R. Errell
  • Stamp size: 30 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 399 - 400
  • Sheet of 50 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Luxuriant, semi-tropical undergrowth and thick foliage in the midst of bubbling rivulets characterize the nature reserve of Tel Dan. Situated north of the Huleh valley, close to the former Syrian border, this lovely spot is now freely accessible and has become a popular focus for excursionists and holidaymakers from Israel and abroad.

On one edge of the reserve is the archaeological mound of ancient Dan which, during the time of the biblical Judges, was established by the tribe of Dan. Excavations on the mound have unearthed many extraordinary finds from this period - nearly 3,000 years ago.

Copious springs producing as much as 40,000 cubic meters an hour, well up from the heart of the hillock and form the main source of the River Dan, one of the three tributaries of the Jordan. These are augmented by more streams gushing from among a group of massive terebinths, known by the Arabs as Tel el Kadi - the "Mound of the Judge" - which corresponds to the Hebrew word Dan, meaning to judge.

Although its area is small, the nature reserve has been carefully set out to provide much interest. A picnic area is located at the entrance, which is through a copse of eucalyptus trees planted in 1939 by the founders of nearby Kibbutz Dan. A clearly marked track ensures that the visitor sees every corner of this well-watered garden. The path meanders through a paradise of rare trees and shrubs, creepers, ferns and mosses, crossing the brooks by footbridges or stepping stones. Silver poplars rustle with the slightest breeze; an oriental plane tree soars up to a height of 15 meters, while the Syrian ash and Tabor oak lift their heads above the variegated greenery of the laurel, the lotus shrub and the ever-present rhamnus.

Moist warmth, food and protection have transformed the nature reserve into a home for a variety of wild life. Lizards bask in the sun; birds chirp and whistle from the treetops; small woodland creatures can be heard scuttling in the fallen leaves, while the cool water is alive with movement.

On the west of the reserve a curious phenomenon can be seen, for the streams are sucked into an opening in the bedrock, to appear again a short distance to the south. Another point of interest - this time man-made - is the 150-year-old flour mill activated by water-power. Actually in use until 1948, it has now been reconstructed and may be set in motion under proper supervision, concluding a memorable visit to the Nature Reserve of Tel Dan.

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Palm trees flourish in the warm humid air of the plain of Zebulun near Akko. Adaptable and decorative, the date palm grows best in well-watered, sandy soil, like that of the desert oasis, or not far from the sea, where there is abundant groundwater and a reasonable amount of heat. Some varieties thrive in land with a high salt content, and along the southern shore of the Dead Sea are extensive groves of palms producing large quantities of excellent dates.

Those in and around Akko, however, are taller and more graceful than the palm trees at the Dead Sea. Akko's palms are widespread and beautiful, adding much to the town’s exotic, Middle Eastern atmosphere. They grow in the seventeenth- century mosque of Jazzar Pasha, the cruel governor of the district at that time; they grow in the ancient walled fortress-citadel, now a public garden; they grow in the parks and in the courtyards of Akko's historic khans. Plantations of palms, once cultivated along the banks of the Na'aman river, stretch from the town's southern boundary to the Crusader mills of Kurdaneh, some 7 kilometers to the south.

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Landscapes Of Israel (V)