Meron Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsThe village of Meron in Upper Galilee, founded in 1949 to the north of the ancient city of that name, lies 9km/6mi west of Safed on the eastern slopes of Mount Meron, the highest hill in Galilee (1,208m/3,963ft), at the point where the road to Nahariya branches off the road to Akko.Simeon Bar Yohai, one of the leaders of the Bar Kochba rising, was buried in Meron. He is credited in Jewish tradition with the authorship of the Kabbalistic work known as the "Zohar" ("Splendor"), which in fact was written in Spain in 1270. In his honor thousands of Jews come every year in spring to this place of pilgrimage and celebrate the festivity of Rashbi Hilula with a great procession, singing and dancing (April/May).HistoryJoshua was victorious over a number of kings here (Joshua 11,7). During the Bar Kochba rebellion in the second century A.D., the last Jewish rising against the Romans, Rabbi Simeon Bar Yohai and his son Eleazer hid in a cave which is shown to visitors at Peki'in, in the valley of the same name on the west side of Mount Meron.
Tomb of Simeon
In the center of Meron, in a building surrounded by a high wall, is the mausoleum containing the tombs of Simeon Bar Yohai and his son Eleazer, roofed with shallow white domes. On the roof are two tube-shaped copper sockets in which torches are set on the occasion of processions.
To the north of the Tomb of Simeon in Meron are the remains of a synagogue of the third or fourth century which is also associated with the name of Simeon Bar Yohai. Of this building, which originally measured 27m/88ft by 13.5m/44ft, there survives little but the main front, facing south. It was divided into three aisles by two rows of eight columns.
Near the mausoleum of Simeon Bar Yohai in Meron are other tombs, including the rock-cut tomb of Rabbi Hillel and his disciples and, on the far side of the valley, the tomb of Rabbi Shammai. Both men founded Mishnah schools in the first century, Hillel teaching a liberal doctrine, Shammai a rigidly orthodox one.
Mount Meron (Hare Meron) is reached from the village of Meron by taking the road which at first runs north and then bears west, coming in 9km/6mi to the village of Sassa. 3km/2mi farther on a road goes off on the left to Mount Meron, the summit region of which is a nature reserve.