Megiddo is a (Tel) or hill which was the site of an ancient city-state in Israel, it has also given its name to a nearby kibbutz (Kibbutz Megiddo); church and road junction. Megiddo, Tell Megiddo or Tell al-Mutesellim is located southeast of Haifa near Afula, overlooking the Valley of Jezreel. The site is a popular stop for tours heading to northern Israel. Tel Megiddo rises 21.3 meters from the ground and the surface area on the summit covers 10 acres. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and within the Megiddo national Park.
Historically Megiddo was a strategic location at the beginning of the Camel Ridge overlooking the Jezreel valley and a gateway of the trade route which passed through the valley from Assyria in the north to Egypt. The Romans referred to this route as the Via Maris and the Bible called it the Way of the Sea, it is also called the Megiddo Pass (Wadi Ara).
Excavations have revealed at least 26 layers of ancient settlements dating back to the Chalcolithic period 7000 BC ago. Megiddo has been inhabited by Assyrians (7th -8th century BC); King Ahab (887BC) who had the water system constructed; King Solomon and the Israelites; King David; Philistines; Canaanites and was finally destroyed by the Egyptians in 609BC. Other civilizations which left their mark on Megiddo were the Egyptians (732BC), Greeks, Persians and Romans.
Historians claim that Megiddo probably saw more battles than any other site in the world. The Battle of Megiddo in the 15th century BC was between the Egyptians and the Canaanites; the Battle of Megiddo in 609 BC was between the Egyptians and Judeans; the Battle of Megiddo in 1918 was fought between the British and the Ottomans and of course there is the final battle, the battle of Armageddon as predicted in the New Testament.
Megiddo in the Bible
In the Book of Revelations (16:16) Armageddon is mentioned as the place of the “final battle” between East and West, an apocalyptic battle fought by armies which will gather here to battle the returning Messiah. The word Armageddon is derived from the Hebrew “Har Megiddo” which means Mount Megiddo. The city is also mentioned in the Bible (1 Kings 9:15) when describing the building of the Solomonic gate. Other references to the city appear in Joshua 12:21; Joshua 17:11; Judges 1:27 and Kings I 4:12.
What to see at Megiddo
Visitors can enter through the Solomonic City Gate and can see the Ivory Palace where extensive Canaan riches where discovered. Paths lead between the excavated sites and you can see the 2900 year old stables of King Ahab; an early Bronze Age circular altar, 10 meters in diameter; a grain pit; a temple; a 25 meter deep square water hole which leads to a 70 meter long tunnel which leads to the natural spring which provided water to the hill top city. Today there is a wooden walkway through the tunnel. The tunnel would have required careful engineering and hewing from both ends.
There is a museum here where you can see artifacts found during the excavation of Megiddo. The museum helps to understand the history of the site through models and an audiovisual presentation. From Megiddo there are breathtaking views of the Jezreel Valley below.