Har Megiddon (Hebrew for hill of Megiddo) was just that, “the end”, for dozens of civilizations (excavations have identified about twenty-five layers of settlements dating back to the 6th millennium BCE) as each fought to be king of this strategically located hill.
I can’t really speak to the conflicts over the centuries, nor predict the end of civilization, but from the top of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Israel, the view alone was to die for.
Oops! Did I just say that?!
In ancient times, two important roads passed by Megiddo. One road (eventually known as the Via Maris, Way of the Sea during Roman occupation) took travelers from the Mediterranean Sea to the fertile plains of central Eretz Yisroel. The other road went from Egypt all the way to the countries of Ashur (Assyria), Persia, and Bavel. Whoever controlled Megiddo controlled the crossroads of the Middle East.
A total of 17 temples were built in the course of 2,000 years of the city, starting from the early Canaanite period (3300-2900BC). The round altar below is the lowest level - the first temple. The layers of wall behind it and to the left are from different periods in that history.
The first wall at Megiddo was constructed in the Early Bronze Age II or III period (2800-2300 BC), but it provided little protection during the Middle Bronze Age when it was subjugated by Thutmose III, the sixth Pharaoh of Egypt’s Eighteen Dynasty following the famous Battle of Megiddo in 1478 BC.
Either way, those numbers and much of the excavated ruins explained the ghostly horse figures strategically placed throughout the site,
By 586 BC, the town’s importance had dwindled; the site was eventually abandoned during the Persian rule. Despite the growth of towns nearby, Megiddo was left untouched.
I was ready to abandon the ten-acre site forty minutes into our tour as the temperature soared into the nineties.
I wondered, too, how many before me had uttered a silent prayer for peace.