Birkat RamAquaduct

  • Issue: October 1973
  • Designer: R. Errell
  • Stamp size: 30 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 401 - 402
  • Sheet of 50 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Brekhat Ram - the "High Pool" - lies in the northern Golan, near the Druze village of Mas'ada. Oval in shape, the pool measures about 900 by 600 meters, and dips abruptly to a depth of over 9 meters. It is strange to see this expanse of shining water set 1,000 meters above sea level, adding color and beauty to the majestic but somewhat barren landscape. Despite the fact that one section of the crater rim is of chalk, not volcanic basalt, most authorities believe that the water basin is the mouth of an extinct volcano.

The waters of Brekhat Ram are cool and sweet, with a very low salt content, and the surface level varies only by around a meter between summer and winter. Never overflowing, always tranquil, this mysterious lake with a capacity of two million cubic meters seems to be on the water-course between Mount Hermon and the Banias. Springs gushing from the Hermon foothills apparently feed the underwater sources of Brekhat Ram, which through faults in the lake bed in turn feed the copious streams of the Banias.

Mentioned ever and over again in ancient writings, one of the stories of Brekhat Ram is a Talmudic legend which claims that the waters of Hamat Gader, the hot springs of Tiberias and the lake of Brekhat Ram are remnants of the biblical Flood!

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Jazzar Pasha's Aqueduct dominates the landscape near Kibbutz Lohamei ha-Getta'ot. Built in the late seventeenth century by Ahmed Pasha, governor of the district of Sidon, it was perhaps the most remarkable engineering project carried out in this area during the 400-year-long period of Turkish rule over the Holy Land.

Ahmed, nicknamed Jazzar or the Butcher because of his cruel, ruthless character, was a strong personality and an excellent administrator, who made the seaport town of Akko his capital and his home. Akko had few natural springs, so to remedy this deficiency, he erected the aqueduct, which drew fresh water from the copious springs of Kabri, 13 kilometers to the north. Until recently, the aqueduct was believed to be the original one, but investigations have proved that the plaster-lined conduits leading the water out from Kabri and for at least 5 kilometers beyond, date back to Roman times. As seen today, the aqueduct begins as a canal at ground level. Then, in order to preserve the gentle incline needed to convey the stream to its destination, it is supported on pillars, some up to 10 meters high, like those bordering the Arab village of Mazra'a. Soon after passing Mazra'a the land rises and the pillars become shorter. Near Kibbutz Lohamei ha-Getta'ot the soil level dips and the channel again rests on towering columns before entering Akko.

Jazzar Pasha's Aqueduct, largely destroyed in 1799 when Napoleon attacked the city of Akko, was restored in 1805 and later kept in good order by continual repairs and renovations. It supplied most of Akko's drinking water until blown up for security reasons during the War of Independence in 1948.

No longer in use, its picturesque columns and arches remain as a spectacular memorial to one of the few developments initiated by the Turkish regime in the land of Israel.

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Landscapes Of Israel (VI)