Huberman GamlaHulehMt. Meron

  • Issue: April 1990
  • Designer: E. Weishoff
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 84 - 86
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

Gamla Yehudivya nature reserve

The remnants of the town of Gamla from the time of the Second Temple are located on the Golan Heights, in the Yahudia Forest Reserve which also contains the Zavitan, Meshoshim, Yahudia and Daliot streams.

The Golan Heights are a basaltic plateau from which a series of extinct volcanoes rise aloft. The Golan's beauty is hidden in the depths of its canyons which streams have carved out from the basalt layer, forming enchanting waterfalls and steep cliffs where vultures nest.

The town of Gamla was built on top of an isolated crest at the far end of a ridge between two branches of Nahal Daliot. Due to Gamla's strategic location, with steep declivities descending on all sides, and with a single trail leading to it from the east, it was relatively easy to fortify the town.

This allowed for Gamla to be defended very easily from incoming attacks, as the single route towards Gamla meant that all resources could be pushed to one particular side of the town. This is a military tactic that has been used for many forts, towns and castles in a hilly or mountainous environment.

Sieges proved very hard to weather for anyone inside towns like these, but their priority was defence and fortification was the logical imperative in that particular situation. Luckily for Gamla, their positioning meant for an easy defence, and it outlasted any attacks.

In the Great Revolt, Gamla raised the banner of rebellion and, under the leadership of Josephus Flavius, the town was fortified with a rampart. After having withstood an extended siege by the Romans Gamla fell, and her fall claimed the lives of nine-thousand inhabitants of the town and its surroundings.

In the course of time, the site of Gamla fell into oblivion. It was rediscovered and identified after the Six-Day War, and since 1976 regular digs are carried out there under the direction of archaeologist Shmarya Guttman, bringing to light all of Gamla's treasures and the secrets of her past.

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The Huleh nature reserve

The Huleh Reserve is a remnant of the Huleh Lake and swamps which in the past covered an area of 63 sq. km. The lake evolved in the northern part of a tectonic basin of the Afro-Syrian Rift that was blocked about a million years ago by the Korazin-Gadot formation. Draining into the blocked valley, the waters of the streams formed a lake and swamps containing an enchanted world of fauna and flora.

In the 1950s, the Jewish National Fund started draining the lake and its swamps, and only after fierce public protest was it decided to preserve a small part of them as a nature reserve.

The Huleh Reserve's uniqueness lies in its being a rare meeting point of African plants and animals, such as Papyrus Reed, which reaches its northernmost limit of distribution here, and plants and animals of European origin, such as Yellow Iris and Bracken, which have their southernmost area of distribution here. The reserve's flora is infinitely varied - Purple Loosestrife, Great Hairy Willow Herb, Jordan Tamarisk and others. Even greater variety exists in the world of wildlife: Terrapin, Catfish and Coypu are representatives of the aqueous habitat, alongside Water Buffaloes grazing in the meadows, and large numbers of birds. In the migration season, the reserve is buzzing with migratory birds. Particularly impressive are the thousands of Pelicans landing and taking flight. In winter, the Huleh Reserve is populated by myriads of Ducks, Coots, Cormorants and others, and in summer, thousands of Herons, Egrets, songbirds and birds of prey nest there.

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Mt. Meron nature reserve

Covering an area of 100 sq. km, Mt. Meron Nature Reserve - Israel's largest Mediterranean maquis reserve - extends over all the ridges of the Meron mountains whose nine pinnacles rise to a height of over 1000 m above sea level. The highest of these is Mt. Meron - the loftiest of Israel's mountain peaks west of the Jordan.

Because of its height, the Meron mountain group enjoys ample rainfall (over 1000 m) which, together with the limestone rocks and the dolomites of which it is built, create a varied karstic landscape with rocks, sinkholes, rock pillars, caves and deep pits with stalactitic and stalagmitic formations.

Due to the steep topography man has always found it difficult to settle in this region which still abounds in continuous, mature Mediterranean maquis almost untouched by man. The maquis contains among others: Calliprinos Oak, Cyprus Oak, Bear's Plum, Syrian Pear and Prickly Juniper whose sole habitat this is in Israel.

There is an exceptional wealth of flowers, comprising several rare species of Round-leaved Cyclamen, Coral Peony and Orchid.

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Nature reserves in Israel