Har Tavor is well known among Jews and Christians alike for being both the site of the Biblical battle between Barak and the army of Jabin (Canaanites) during the reign of Deborah the Prophet as well as the site of Jesus' transfiguration.
Church of the Transfiguration
The top of the mountain, accessible by car, is home to a stunning Church of the Transfiguration erected in the early 20th century. The church boasts some spectacular murals, beautiful mosaics,exquisite architecture and various artifacts from the thousands of years of visitors who came on pilgrimage. The church itself was constructed atop layers of ruins of what was once a Byzantine church, and before a Crusader church.
Har Tavor actually a stop on the "Jesus Trail" for those of you who are interested in "walking in the footsteps of Jesus" on your travels in Israel . (Either way, you should take a look at the site: their header picture of a big comfy yellow couch in the middle of the desert on a Jesus trail does make the hike seem pretty miraculous.)
If you're planning on hitting up the Church of Transfiguration as you travel in Israel, here are their visitors hours: 8:00-12:00, 2:00-6:00. Closed Saturdays. Modest dress required (no shorts or sleeveless).
There are a number of nice hikes in the area. Hiking up the actual Mount Tavor is part of the Israel National Trail, Shvil Yisrael (שביל ישראל) which runs the entire length of Israel from top to bottom, (or bottom to top, whichever way you look at it). This means that the trails are well marked and well traveled.
Hikinh the mountain should take about 4 hours up and down, or you can choose to simply hike around the mountain in Beit Keshet Forrest.
Here's a map of the area:
For those readers who are not Hebrew Literate, the large white blob in the center of the map is the Beit Keshet forest. Mount Tavor is the small white splotch just by the bottom of the map. We started where the big red hand is pointing. We parked a bit further, by the blue "Park" symbol where there are restrooms and a parking area and walked towards south. Then we continued on towards that red arrow on the far right, before wandering back through the forest straight towards the car.
We really pottered through the forest, trying to find the best views of Har Tavor, and following the bike path, despite the fact that we were traveling on foot. The bike path is highlighted below in yellow.
We eventually made it to a beautiful view point overlooking Har Tavor where we inhaled an entire package of cookies with dark black coffee. It's a great look out point to stop at if you want a bit to eat, but I just don't recommend consuming an entire package of whatever it is you brought. Trust me. It makes the next leg of hiking., well, uncomfortable. So stick to the coffee and a sandwich or one/two cookies and you're good to continue on your way.
It's the perfect place for a cheesy photo.
We then continued our wandering down and around the forest, slowly making our way back to our parked car. Our somewhat disorganized wandering hike took us approximately 5 hours including two snack breaks and several moments when I was certain we'd completely lost the way.
All in all it's a great day trip for anyone who happens to be traveling in Israel.
For more information, visit the following sites: