Afula Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsThe town of Afula, founded in 1925 on the site of the Arab village of Afule, to the west of Mount Hamore (Givat Hamore, 515m/1,690ft), is situated at an important road intersection in the Jezreel plain.
The inhabitants live by farming, trade and various crafts.HistoryThe place is not mentioned in the Bible. The Crusaders built the castle of La Fève (later destroyed by Sultan Baibars) to protect the old roads which met here. In the later Turkish period the Arab village was a station on the railroad line from Haifa via Bet Shean and through the Yarmouk valley to Damascus. During the First World War the Turks and Germans built the branch line from Afula via Jenin to the south.The townAfula is a modern and not particularly attractive little town, the principal market center for the Jezreel plain. There are only scanty remains of the older Arab settlement. 2km/1.25mi east of the town center, in the kibbutz of Merhavya (founded 1911), are the ruins of the Crusader castle of La Fève.
14km/8.5mi northeast of Afula is the kibbutz of En Dor, founded in 1941 and named after the Biblical Endor, situated on a tell to the east of the kibbutz. Faced with the Philistine armies drawn up at Shunam, King Saul consulted the witch of Endor, who prophesied his doom (1 Samuel 28). The prophecy was fulfillled on the following day, when Saul and his sons were killed in a battle on Mount Gilboa, southeast of Afula, and his body was hung from the walls of Bet Shean.
To the east of Afula is the Arab village of Sunam (Hebrew Shunem), the Biblical Shunam. This was the home of the "fair damsel" Abishag who was brought in to minister to the aged king David (1 Kings 1,1-4). The village fountain, En Avishag, bears her name.
West BankSituation and characteristicsAt the Arab town of Jenin, lying between Afula (18km/11mi) and Nablus (42km/26mi) on the West Bank of the Jordan, the old road going north from Jerusalem through the hills of Samaria runs through the Dotan valley into the Jezreel plain. From the earliest times, therefore, Jenin controlled this important line of communication.HistoryIn the 13th century the Mamelukes, fearing further incursions by the Crusaders, destroyed all the coastal towns and built Jenin up into a staging-point for caravans on the route between Damascus and Egypt. During the First World War Jenin was a station on the Afula-Nablus railway line, which it was planned to extend to Jerusalem and the Suez Canal; but when British forces gained control of the area the project was abandoned. Until the early 1930s the road from Jerusalem to Haifa and Galilee ran through Jenin. With the development of Haifa as a port and the construction of the coast road via Hadera, however, the importance of Jenin declined.