July 31, 2011

Crazy Arab Cab Drivers

Did that title get your attention?? :-)

If you happen to be in Israel  and want to visit Mount Tabor (one possible spot for the Mount of Transfiguration), you have park at the bottom of the mount and ride in taxi vans up the insane switchbacks. The Arabs in the village at the base of the mountain control the road up and you have to ride in their taxis....And New York cabbies ain't got nothin' on these guys. 

The switchbacks are steep and sharp and the drive is hair-raising. The drivers FLY up and down this road. I mean I know they do this 50 times a day, every day, but still, common sense should tell you to take the corners a bit more slowly. 

The reason this is such a holy mountain is that everyone going up or down it so praying for all their worth. 
Once we disembarked at the top...and started breathing again...we walked up a beautiful tree-lined road to the Church of the Transfiguration. It was built in 1919 on the peak of Mount Tabor. 
The church was built upon the ruins of a Byzantine church from the fifth or sixth century and a Crusader church from the 12th century. You can see ruins from both eras. 
I fell in love with the church. It is gorgeous. The artwork and architecture is breathtaking. 
 I really like the angels. I don't always like the "orthodox" style angel faces, they seem off to me, but these were just beautiful. 

The view was also awesome. We overlooked the entire Jezreel Valley. Which is supposed to be the spot of the final battle of Armageddon. And you can certainly see why when overlooking it and learning about it's past.
Mount Tabor is first mentioned in the account of Deborah in the 14th century BC. And it was been a strategic location ever since. It sits at a crossroads and whomever controls it, usually wins. 

They had several gardens where people could sit and read scriptural accounts of the area. 
I love that they called them gardens when we were basically sitting in Crusader ruins.

Mount Tabor turned out to be one of my favorite places in Israel...after we made it safely back down the mountain.

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