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The Hula Valley stretches over an area of 232 square km, made up mainly of agricultural fields and plantations, small settlements, several springs and waterways, and the Jordan River.
The valley is the main basin and contributory to the Sea of Galilee, surrounded by both basaltic and sedimentary ridges. Varying amounts of annual precipitation in the surrounding area, combined with the different soil types, function as a unique habitat enabling visitors to enjoy numerous species of flora and fauna within a relatively small geographical area.
Archeological findings date human settlement in the Hula Valley to approx. 780,000 years ago. Due to its strategic location in northern Israel, connecting ancient kingdoms and ports, humans have inhabited the valley continuously ever since.
Today, aside from hosting millions of birds annually, the Hula Valley is also home to 30,500 human residents. The region is sparsely populated by small towns, villages and Kibbutzim – a communal form of living unique to Israel. Besides the standard “western” towns, the area is home to impressive Druze, Arab and Tscherkessen villages. The Hula Valley and Galilee region boast beautiful landscape and wildlife and the area offers visitors a multitude of religious sites (Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Kapernaum, The Mt. of Beatitudes and more)as well as archeological sites, nature reserves and parks, horseback riding and extreme sports.
The region is famous for its unique ethnic cuisine.
Story of the Lake
Up until the 1950's the Hula Lake and Marshes, at the heart of the Hula Valley, were the largest wetlands in the Middle East.
The valley has undergone three major transformations since Israel’s early days.
1952-1958 - the lake and surrounding marshes were drained for the purpose of fitting new land for agriculture, causing many of the occupant species to become extinct from the area, while endemic fauna and flora were extinct globally. As a result the first nature reserve in Israel was established – the Hula Reserve
Over the years the newly claimed peat soil suffered from intensive erosion, spontaneous fires, extensive land erosion, pollutants washing into the Sea of Galilee and poor agricultural yield. This brought about the second major transformation. In 1992-1996 a huge scale project was launched under the name” The restoration of the peat lands”
In the heart of the new
project was a touristic entrepreneur – a shallow lake called Agamon
Hula – serving as a loadstone for birds and people alike. The
increasing number of (human) visitors caused the third transformation:
infrastructures; visitor center, parking lot, facilities, paved road
surrounding the lake and various attractions.