Gan HaShlosha (Sahne) National Park

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Gan Hashlosha National Park is a well-known water park to the west of the Valley of the Springs (Bet She'an Valley)

The unique feature of the park is its hot springs and natural bathing pools. Within the park there is also an archeological museum and a reconstruction of the historic settlement site of Kibbutz Amal,  whose establishment marked the beginning of the Tower and Stockade settlement period.

 

Points of interest

Warm water swimming pools, surrounded by spacious lawns

Tower and Stockade site

Museum of Regional and Mediterranean Archaeology

Reconstructed flour mill

Settlement Bell Garden

Israeli orchard

 

Geographic location


Gan Hashlosha is located in the Bet She'an Valley, near Kibbutz Nir David, 5 km to the west of Bet She'an. Access is from Road 669.

 

Lookout point


The watchtower at the tower and stockade site: The top of the tower offers a view of the countryside of the Valley of the Springs, Mt Gilboa, Ramat Issachar and Gilad.

 

Identity card


Gan Hashlosha National Park is a declared park covering an area of 130 dunams. The grounds of the park include the Amal Stream and its pools, and the Museum of Archeology. The planners of the park, architects Lipa Yahalom and Dan Zur, won major prizes for its planning.

The name Gan Hashlosha, the Park of the Three, commemorates three pioneers of settlement in the area - Aharon Etkin, Haim Sturman and David Mosensohn, who were killed in 1938 when their vehicle went over a landmine in the Bet She'an Valley. 

 

Reasons for declaration

  • Hot springs create a water park and recreation site in the heart of an area with a hot climate
  • Conservation of the site of Kibbutz Tel Amal – the first of the Tower and Stockade settlements
 

Conservation activities of the Nature and Parks Authority


  • Creating bathing pools in the natural stream, and cultivating a natural ornamental garden
  • Operating services for visitors – toilets, changing rooms, and canteens
  • Reconstruction of the old flour mill
  • Operating "Footsteps in the Valley" – a hands-on learning center including the reconstructed tower and stockade site, the Museum of Regional and Mediterranean Archeology, and a reconstructed ancient flour mill. The center is the focus of guided tours and activities, mainly for groups of students (by arrangement).
 

Points of interest in detail

Bathing pools: Wonderful pools, whose waters come from springs and cascades along the Amal stream bed. The temperature of the spring water is a constant 28°C, all year round, and this is the source of the park's Arabic name Sakhne, meaning "hot". The pools have been enlarged and improved, and made suitable for bathing and swimming.

Tower and Stockade site: The site is a reconstruction of Tel Amal, the first of the tower and stockade settlements. It was established on December 10, 1936. 3 living quarters, the dining room and kitchen have been reconstructed, as well as the watchtower and double wooden stockade, filled with gravel. The huts containing the pioneers' rooms illustrate the way of life of the settlers, and contain iron bedsteads and mosquito nets, work clothes, and the books that the settlers read. Visitors are offered seven self-activated stations demonstrating the activities of those days, such as washing clothes in the stream, keeping watch from the tower, and filling baskets with gravel.

In the dining room hut there are excerpts from the newspapers of the time, certificates, and a 15 minute video can be screened for groups. The film, which is in several languages, documents the Arab Revolt of 1936 – 1939. Activities such as guided tours, lectures, and activities with actors can be arranged.

Museum of Regional and Mediterranean Archaeology: The museum was founded in 1963 with a donation from Dan Lifschitz, a Jewish collector from Switzerland, who gave Kibbutz Nir David a collection of artefacts and vessels from the Greek and Roman periods, and collections from Persian and ancient Egyptian culture. On display in the museum are also antiquities from ancient times found in Bet She'an Valley, from the Neolithic period until the periods of the Mishna and Talmud, including items from the days of the revolts against the Romans, and from the ancient synagogues that flourished in the area. A large photograph shows a mosaic from the ancient synagogue of Rehov. An inscription in the mosaic mentions many settlements in the land of Israel, as well as fruits and vegetables grown in the Bet She'an Valley at that time, such as zucchini, watermelon, cucumber, mint, fava beans, mustard, rice, peas, and sesame.

Ancient flour mill: The flour mill was operated by the water power of the Amal Stream. It has been reconstructed, and today it can be operated at its original site. Groups can arrange a guided tour showing how the flour mill worked, and what life was like in the days when it was in use. In the past, there were at least three flour mills in operation in the area of Gan Hashlosha, and the remains of one have been found on the north bank of the stream, close to the tower and stockade site.

Remains of a naumachia: On the southern bank of the stream, the remains of 10 rows of seats were found, carved in rock. There may have been a "water theatre" here in Roman times - a gathering place for audiences to come and see recreations of often bloody historic battles and events that originally took place at sea. Researchers estimate that the theatre would have had 500 seats. If this was indeed the purpose of the structure, this is the only naumachia found in Israel to date.

Settlement Bell Garden: Display of restored bells, with examples of bells found at pioneer settlements around the country. The bells were rung in the event of attack or fire, as well as to call the laborers for meals. In the religious settlements, the bells were also used as a call to prayer.

Israeli orchard: An orchard containing species of trees mentioned in the Bible, such as fig, vine and pomegranate, and the fruit trees and bushes that were typical of the early days of settlement. There is also a vine covered pavilion in which visitors can enjoy a few moments of tranquility.

 

Geography

Gan Hashlosha National Park is dependent on Amal (Asi) Stream - a year-round stream originating in an abundant spring that rises at the foot of the Gilboa. The stream flows for about half a kilometer through the park, along the way creating a series of natural pools. Amal Stream continues to flow eastward, and after crossing Kibbutz Nir David its waters are used to fill fishponds and water the fields of the valley.

The source of the water in the Amal Stream springs is the rain that falls on northern Samaria. The rainwater permeates the ground and, because of the geological structure, flows along the incline of the strata to Bet She'an Valley.

 

Archaeology and history


The national park contains a tower and stockade site that reconstructs the early days of settlement at Kibbutz Tel Amal. The kibbutz - the first of the tower and stockade settlements - was established on the day of the second Chanukah candle, December 10, 1936. This was at the beginning of the Arab revolt, which broke out in 1936 and continued on and off for three years. The Arabs demanded that the British authorities prohibit Jewish immigration to the land of Israel and the sale of land to Jews. In the outbreaks of violence more than 600 Jews, 200 members of the British forces, and some 5000 Arabs were killed. Under pressure from the Arabs, the mandatory authorities began giving in to their demands.

The Zionist institutions were afraid to send settlement groups to remote and dangerous areas. A team of members of the Kibbutz Tel Amal group, headed by Shlomo Gerzovsky (Gur), came up with a bold idea: to prepare everything that was needed in advance, and set up the kibbutz in a single day.

The Tel Amal settlers organized themselves for a few weeks in Kibbutz Bet Alpha. On the chosen date they set out at dawn in convoy to the intended site, and in one day they set up three huts for accommodation, one hut for a dining room, and a tower that rose to a height of 12 m. The settlement was surrounded by a double wooden stockade filled with gravel, 1.60 m high. This protective layer was capable of stopping bullets. The wall was surrounded by a barbed wire fence intended to prevent grenades and Molotov cocktails being thrown at the settlement.

This method, which acquired the name "tower and stockade", was a great success. It was adopted by the Haganah organization, and during the period of the Arab revolt more than 50 settlements were established, one after another, which to a considerable extent determined the borders of the State of Israel.

The name Nir David was added to the name of Kibbutz Tel Amal later, in commemoration of David Wolfson, the second president of the Zionist Federation. Today the official name of the kibbutz is Nir David (Tel Amal).

 

Flora and fauna​


In the lower part of the national park grow giant reeds (Arundo donax), common reeds (Phragmites australis), holy brambles (Rubus sanguineus), Marsh fleabane (Pluchea dioscoridis), shrubby saltbush (Atriplex halimus), sticky fleabane (Inula viscosa), and more. The waters of the stream provide a home for St Peter's fish (tilapia) and Melanopsis snails.

​​How to get here:

Gan Hashlosha is situated on Road 669, between Hashita junction and Bet She'an, some 25 minutes from Afula.

By public transport: Superbus line 412, departing from Bet She'an and Afula.

​Length of visit:  ​

One hour – one day

Best season:​​

All year round

Don't miss: The natural Jacuzzi under the waterfall

Other attractions

Rescue services, changing rooms, canteen, pool, shaded areas, waterfalls, Museum of Archeology, tower and stockade site, picnic tables, play apparatus for children

Opening hours​

Last entry to the park is one hour before closing time

Summer:

Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 5 pm

Fridays – 8 am – 4 pm

​July and August:

Fridays – 8 am – 5 pm

Winter:

Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 4 pm

Fridays – 8 am – 3 pm

 

On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement, and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm

Opening hours of the Tower and Stockade site and the Museum of Archaeology:

Sunday – Thursday – 10 am – 2 pm

Overnight camping

For families and individuals, over the weekends in July and August, by prior registration.

Overnight camping for groups of 100 or more is possible throughout the year (and can also include night-time swimming), by prior arrangement.

Night-time swimming​

Groups (100 or more) can enjoy an enchanted moonlight swim in the illuminated spring pool. This can be combined with an evening meal, party, performance in the amphitheater - spacious lawns and overnight camping. Cost NIS 40 per person.

Contact us​

Telephone: 04-6586219

Museum of Archaeology: 04-658352

Tower and Stockade site: 04-ex 581017

Fax: 04-6587822

Email: shmulik@gan3.co.il

Entrance fee​

Individuals: Adult – NIS 39​​, child (up to age 14) – NIS 24

Group (over 30): Adult – NIS 35​, child (up to age 14) – NIS 22

Students: NIS 33​

Senior citizens: NIS 20

*Entrance fee for members:  50% of the full entrance fee for individual visitors

Entry for animals​

It is prohibited to bring dogs and other animals into the grounds of the site

Prohibitions

  • Glass dishes may not be brought into the area of the park
  • Loudspeakers may not be brought into the park

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    Gan HaShlosha (Sahne) National Park