OUTSIDE OF JERUSALEM: Gamla
OUTSIDE OF JERUSALEM: Gamla – the Massada of the North
Named for its characteristic hump (“gamal” in Hebrew means “camel), Gamla is often called the Massada of the North. That’s because, like their compatriots at the famous desert fortress, Gamla’s residents tried heroically to resist Roman conquest during the Great Revolt of 67 C.E. And, like the men, women, and children at Massada, Gamla’s defenders fought valiantly – but lost. Half of Gamla’s population of 10,000 souls was killed in battle: the other half jumped off the mountain rather than be taken prisoner. Today Gamla is part of a large and exciting Nature Reserve. Excavations at Gamla have revealed some fascinating remains, including the oldest synagogue in the world as well as solid evidence that residents of the city were Orthodox Jews. Also recovered were six special coins minted and found only at Gamla with the inscription “for the redemption” on one side and “of holy Jerusalem” on the other.