Dan Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsThe kibbutz of Dan, 8km/5mi east of Qiryat Shemona near Israel's northern frontier, was founded in 1939 and named after Tel Dan, site of the ancient town of Dan, 1km/0.75 mi north. At its foot rises the river Dan, one of the three source streams of the Jordan.HistoryThe tell was the site of the Canaanite city of Leshem (Joshua 19,47), also called Laish, which is referred to in Egyptian texts of the 18th and 15th centuries B.C. It was conquered by the Jewish tribe of Dan, who set up a graven image which they had stolen on Mount Ephraim and built a shrine to house it (Judges 18,27-31). Another pagan shrine was established by Jeroboam I, first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Since the Temple in Jerusalem was held by the kingdom of Judah he caused two shrines to be built, one in Bethel and the other in Dan, in which a golden calf was worshipped (1 Kings 12,28-30). He also built a palace in Dan. Two hundred years later the city was destroyed by Tiglath-pileser III.
Dan Nature Reserve
A walk through the Dan Nature Reserve, within which are the source of the river Dan and the ancient remains on Tel Dan, is a very rewarding experience. From the entrance to the reserve there are two waymarked trails, the longer of the two being particularly attractive. This runs through dense vegetation, over wooden bridges and a number of caves to the source of the Dan, which has been left in its natural, unspoiled state, and from there up to Tel Dan. Excavations which have been in progress here since 1965 have brought to light the remains of a town gate of the 10th century B.C. on the south side of the site, from which a flight of steps leads up to a platform measuring 18.7m/61ft by 18.2m/60ft, probably the remains of an Israelite shrine.