Nimrod’s Fortress & the Little-Known Life of Jews; Weekend in the Kibbutz

Nimrod’s Fortress & the Little-Known Life of Jews; Weekend in the Kibbutz

#Nimrod's Fortress was a little out of the way, but well worth it. An ancient ruin with many nooks and crannies to explore, this #active tour was fun for the whole #family. We were also lucky enough to experience #kibbutz life at Kfar Szold. Making new friends and enjoying the local culture - this was a great weekend in Northern #Israel.


Why is a fortress that was built by Muslims in the 1200s named after a Biblical character? 

Who knows! But this ancient ruin is definitely one of the best preserved icons in Israel and probably one of the most underrated due to it’s remote location. But that didn’t stop us - we had heard some great things about Nimrod’s Fortress by locals and we were on a mission to reach it.

we had heard some great things about Nimrod’s Fortress by locals and we were on a mission to reach it
The Golan Heights
The Golan Heights

Iris, an enthusiastic reader of our blog, noticed we were in Israel and invited us to visit her family who live in a kibbutz in the north of Israel named Kfar Szold. We gladly accepted the offer and met up. She and her family were extremely hospitable and we appreciated their generosity.

Iris and I
Iris and I

Through a friend, they organized a room for us at Bakfar guesthouse (details below) which included a tasty breakfast the following morning.

The bedroom looks nice
The bedroom looks nice
Simple room
Simple room
LET'S EAAAAT!
LET'S EAAAAT!

If you’re not familiar with the term, a kibbutz is a collective community in Israel, often focused on agriculture. With origins in the early 1900s, these communities are founded on socialist ideals of shared property ownership, but in recent decades a shift towards private ownership and increased independence of the individuals have occurred. 

from  $75

Hotel Bakfar Kfar Szold Country Lodging

 Kfar Szold, Qiryat Shemona, Israel
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There’s a strong focus on family and social responsibility within these groups. 

There’s a strong focus on family and social responsibility within these groups

Kfar Szold kibbutz is an ideal place to raise a family with a local pool, playground, parks, a kindergarten and school. The streets are safe, and most neighbours know each other well. Our kids had a great time, even if they couldn’t speak Hebrew, the universal language of playtime is understood everywhere.

Our kids had a great time, even if they couldn’t speak Hebrew

The playground
The playground
Great slides
Great slides
He's coming for me!
He's coming for me!
The walk back
The walk back

We hadn’t savored the taste of bacon or ham since arriving in Israel a month prior, and when we heard about a restaurant that served bacon hamburgers, it caught our attention. Iris took us to that restaurant for dinner, located about 10 minutes from the kibbutz, and it served some of the best burgers, we’ve had in a long time. 

some of the best burgers, we’ve had in a long time

It almost felt a little naughty eating extreme non-kosher (beef & cheese PLUS bacon) on a Saturday (Shabbat). Triple whammy! But we found out it is surprisingly easier that we first anticipated to find pork products in Israel, if you just know where to look.

Definitely having munchies right now
Definitely having munchies right now
BAAACOOOON!
BAAACOOOON!

The next day we headed early to Nimrod’s Fortress located about 19km northeast of the kibbutz, to beat the summer heat. The drive through the windy roads in the Golan Heights was superbly scenic. The fortress could be seen from miles away, perched on top of a mountain overlooking the lush valley below.

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Active
 Nazareth, Israel
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The fortress could be seen from miles away, perched on top of a mountain overlooking the lush valley below
Golan Heights
Golan Heights

The fortress was built by the son of a sultan between 1229 and 1260 and stretches around 420 metres in length. It’s strategic location allowed it to control trade traffic to Damascus in the north, and the rocky location made it easy to defend from enemies. The fortress had been damaged by earthquakes over the centuries, but was still in surprisingly excellent condition because of its isolation. 

The fortress wall
The fortress wall
This fortress is quite imposing
This fortress is quite imposing
The entrance
The entrance

Walking the many steps wasn’t easy for Mr 3-year-old, so we strapped him into the carrier and he nodded off to sleep. The views and architecture were breathtaking and it’s easy to imagine oneself transported back to an era of crusades and knights.

Panoramic view from Golan Heights
Panoramic view from Golan Heights

There was so much to explore for kids and adults alike: spiral staircases, cavernous rooms, a cistern, secret passageways and a plethora of nooks and crannies.

A plethora
A plethora

The photos speak for themselves.

Birds-eye view
Birds-eye view
Old stairway
Old stairway
The sun barely makes it inside
The sun barely makes it inside
Catch me, mommy!
Catch me, mommy!
I will, honey!
I will, honey!
Peekaboo
Peekaboo
Just me posing
Just me posing
Fortress wall
Fortress wall

After about 2 hours, the heat finally overcame us and we retreated back to the carpark and a snack stand for cold drinks. We said our goodbyes to Iris and her lovely family and jumped into the car.

Lil' buddies
Lil' buddies
Iris and her family
Iris and her family
Best friends!
Best friends!
Karmiel market
Karmiel market

On the way back to Haifa, based on a tip-off from our hosts, we stopped at Karmiel, home to the first supermarket in Israel to sell pork products. It originally catered for Russian immigrants, but its fame has spread far and wide. After traversing the entire town for an hour and asking at least 10 different people for directions in broken English, we finally found it – Tiv Taam. To our delight, we picked up some smoked sliced ham for a simple yet mouthwatering lunch of ham sandwiches. The rest of the drive home was a pork-flavoured blur. 

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