Paneas (Banyas)

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Paneas (Banyas)

A source of the Jordan River running through lush woodlands and ending in a broad lagoon overlooked by the Mount Hermon snows, and flanked by rock-hewn caves and an ancient temple dedicated to goat-footed Pan.

Now part of a nature reserve.

History: Called Paneas in the Hellenistic age  in honor of the Greek god,  Pan. Banyas, is the Arabic mispronunciation of Paneas.

It was here that  in the Roman Period Philip the Tetrarch, son of Herod, established the city of Caesarea Philippi – mentioned in the New Testament and Talmud. Games were held here in 70 CE to celebrate Titus' victory over the Jews. Many Jewish captives were killed here.

It had a large Jewish community and called Dan in Middle Ages.  The Crusaders named it Belinas.

Nahal Hermon, the source of Nahal Banyas, is one of the three major sources of the Jordan River.

Evident are rock-cut grottoes where Greeks placed  statues of their gods. Sheikh el Khadr above the springs is purported to be the tomb of Sheikh el Khadr, the Arab name for the Prophet Elijah.

The Banyas Waterfall is further along the Banyas Stream. The entire area is now designated a nature  reserve.

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