Rosh Pina, the rural tourism capital of the Galilee
When the pioneers of Rosh Pina dug the foundations for their homes on the hill, they found, to their surprise, the remains of an ancient settlement and a cave containing an olive press. They built their synagogue on an ancient site known by the local Arabs as “knisat el yahud”. A recent archeological dig in Old Rosh Pina revealed more of the Biblical era settlement that was located here. The name is unknown, but it seems that it was an agricultural settlement within the city of Hatzor.
Hatzor – “the mother of all the kingdoms” – the biggest Canaanite city in the Land of Israel, the city of King Jabin, was built at a strategic location, on the road that passed between the ancient empires of the Fertile Crescent. The route was frequented by caravans, the Israelite Tribes, merchants, and apparently even the Patriarch Abraham and his grandson Jacob, on their way from Harran to Canaan (according to tradition, Joseph’s Pit is located some 5 km south of Rosh Pina) and maybe Paul on his journeys to Damascus.
Rosh Pina’s location is indeed its salient advantage, in addition to its esthetic and architectural uniqueness, Rosh Pina is the starting point for touring the Galilee.
This advantage has made Rosh Pina the rural hospitality center of the Galilee. When you stay at one of Pina Balev Inn's luxury suites in the heart of the old town, after relaxing in the whirlpool bath or enjoying a professional spa treatment, you can make yourself a cup of freshly ground espresso, using the professional machine in your room; you can use your laptop to go online with Pina Balev’s Wi-Fi connection and decide where to go tomorrow. Needless to say, Kobi will be happy to sit with you and help you come up with various itineraries tailored to your interests.
If you choose a walk in the lap of nature, and you just happen to come here in the spring or the fall, there’s no better place to visit than the Hula Valley International Birding Center or the Hula Reserve. Get up early in the morning, when the birds start chirping, get in your car and within 15 minutes you’ll be there, among flocks of cranes, coots and pelicans.
For those who like challenges – the mountain climbing wall at Manara Cliff (a 20 minute drive – those who struggle climbing can take the cable car), kayaks, inner tubes and sailing on the mountainous Jordan River, mountain bike riding on the pathways of Biria Forest and riverbeds and lots of amazing hiking trails.
The Galilee, Israel’s pearl of nature, offers travelers and believers experiences of every possible kind.
Not long ago, on the grave of Yitzhak Ben Shlomo Ashkenazi, known as The Ari, Ari-Hakadosh, or Arizal, founder of the Lurianic Kabbalah in 16th century Safed, at midnight, the song and prayer Lekha Dodi could be heard, sung softly by a voice known to millions of people around the world. The singer was none other than Madonna. In the lanes of Old Safed, one can experience the authentic ambience of the synagogue of the Arizal, Rabbi Isaac Abuhav, Rabbi Joseph Caro and others, or enjoy the many galleries of authentic Jewish art and the international Kabbalah center that conducts tours and lectures.
A short drive from Safed – the grave known as Zion Hakadosh (Holy Zion) Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai and the graves of many righteous Jews, then back to your beautiful suite at Pina Balev in Old Rosh Pina, via the unique landscape of Biriya Forest, passing by the grave of Rabbinic sage Jonathan ben Uzziel, the ancient Nevoriah synagogue and other sites.
After an enjoyable day of touring, followed by hospitality at Pina Balev in Rosh Pina, you can dine at one of the Galilee’s finest culinary establishments, Muscat Restaurant in Rosh Pina, or Julian’s or any of dozens of wonderful restaurants, and taste the flavor of the Galilee.
To the east of Pina Balev’s luxury suites you can see the entire Golan Heights, another fascinating nearby destination. Katzrin’s archeological park, the Golan Antiquities Museum, the Golan Heights Winery and around 10 boutique wineries that are open to the public and offer wine and cheese tasting, and, just 45 minutes north of Katzrin, the Birkat Ram natural pool, Odem Forest, Druze villages on the slopes of Mount Hermon and the ski site.
Skiing on Mount Hermon or waterskiing in the Sea of Galilee, everything is possible, the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee is just a 15 minute drive from Pina Balev, so it’s another option after a hearty breakfast at Pina Balev, including home-baked sourdough nut bread, homemade organic granola, a platter of fine cheeses, home-smoked salmon and more.
En route to the Christian sites at the Sea of Galilee, you can visit Domus Galilaeae International Center in Korazim, which was established recently in fulfillment of Pope John Paul the Second’s dream. A few minutes later you can see the Byzantine floor mosaic with Egyptian elements in Tabgha. The site’s name is derived from the Greek name Heptapegon (seven springs), and visit Capernaum, the city of Jesus, where He lived and worked His miracles before going to Jerusalem. A 15 minute drive takes you to Tiberias, with its antiquities and Roman baths.
You could end your trip at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth (half an hour’s drive from Tiberias), take a walk through the open market, have some authentic hummus and end your meal with a cup of steaming Turkish coffee.
Rosh Pina is, of course, also a cultural experience, the restored historical site and audiovisual show, the cinematheque (in the historical silk factory building) which is the only movie theater in the north that shows quality films on a daily basis. In the summertime, classical music in the Baron’s Garden, the music festival in Kfar Blum (a 20 minute drive) and the poetry festival in Metulla (a 30 minute drive), the Jacob’s Ladder Festival, the Ein Gev Festival (a 40 minute drive) and the Klezmer Festival in Safed (a 10 minute drive).
Kobi will be happy to sit with you in your luxurious suite in Pina Balev Inn and help you plan your itinerary, give you some important tips that only the locals know, and provide you with discount vouchers for the various sites. Your perfect vacation begins in Pina Balev in Old Rosh Pina, with uncompromising quality, and if you don’t manage to fit in everything you planned this time, we’ll be waiting for you with open arms. The Galilee is full of surprises!
Written and edited by: Rina Offenbach, certified tour guide, for guided tours in Rosh Pina and its environs
Please call: 054-4243724