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Circle of Giants: Israel's Stonehenge

Galgal Refa’im is a stone structure in the Golan Heights known as Israel's Stonehenge (Photo: wikicommons)

The many ancient sites in Israel connect visitors (and Israelis) to both history and the Bible. But there are some locations off the beaten path that many don't know about. One of these, featured by our friends at ISRAEL21c, is an ancient and mysterious stone structure in the Golan Heights:

It’s called Galgal Refa’im (“wheel of ghosts”) or Gilgal Refa’im (“circle of giants” referring to a biblical race of giants) in Hebrew, or Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic (“stone heap of the wild cats”). It is one of Israel’s most puzzling and mysterious places.

With massive rock walls jutting eight feet high into the sky, this Golan Heights structure is fondly called “Stonehenge of the Levant,” as according to many estimates, it is a contemporary of England’s Stonehenge.

The prehistoric Stonehenge monument in England, believed to be constructed between 3000 and 2000 BCE, is one of the world’s most famous sites. An average 1.3 million people visit this ring of standing stones every year. Other famous stone monuments popular with tourists include Chichen Itza in Mexico (1.4 million per year) and Machu Picchu in Peru (1.2 million).

Yet, Galgal Refa’im doesn’t draw even close to those numbers. Whether it’s because the magnificence of this approximately 5,000-year-old stone structure comprising some 42,000 tons of basalt stone laid out in huge concentric circles can only be seen properly from the air or whether it’s because of a lack of publicity, this obscure site attracts only a trickle of visitors most of the year...

Tags: Life in Israel

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