Yehiam fortress (מבצר יְחִיעָם)
Breathtaking views and impressive landscapes, the Yehiam Fortress in Israel is a place that visitors flock to year after year. The birth of this fortress is unknown but it did start as part of a very large estate and later switched ownership and ended up in the hands of crusader Teutonic knights. Later it was conquered, destroyed, and laid in ruin for many years. Today it is famous for its vast views and deep history of some fierce battles and lost lives. As recent, as 1946 Jewish people of Yehiam used the fortress to try to fend off the Arabs, but to no avail.
Today a variety of fairs and events are held at the fortress and visitors walk through daily to experience a bit of history in this western part of Galilee/Israel. Restoration of the castle took place and the mighty walls that helped keep it safe from intruders until its ultimate defeat are back in place. Visitors are treated to a film of the fortress’s history concerning the War of independence. You can tour the castle, tower and grounds when visiting because the Yehiam fortress is now part of a national park in Israel that has been preserved for its culture and interesting history. A beautiful reception hall is used for visitors and many parts of the area have been cleared for walking through, even though there are still some overgrown areas that are being renovated for future tourists.
A walk around the fortress continues the story of its history as you can still see the observation towers, areas where the wounded stayed and firing areas where the battles took place. The massive woods outside the castle grounds are an added attraction to the charm of the fortress it encases. Within the walls, visitors are able to admire the many centuries and touches of each of its owners through the years, as areas were destroyed and later built again and again.
You can continue your tour through the Yehiam River trails which are easily marked. Even though the climb may be steep, it is always a new challenge and a new wonder as many visitors have run into the occasional wild animal basking in the sun or the wonderful exotic flower or bush that they have not seen before. At the bottom the air is much cooler as the area is covered by vast vegetation and olive trees. If you keep walking you eventually run into a single house which represents an organic settlement that was built somewhere in the late 70’s.
An amazing national forest area that holds the Yehiam fortress allows visitors to camp alongside the forest and even tour the fortress at night through lamplights. The obvious attraction to the wildness and beauty in this part of Israel is shown clearly through places such as the Yehiam Fortress. With care and attention, now a very popular attraction gives some insight into the past of one part of this fascinating country. Visiting this area and not making a stop at the Yehiam fortress would very much be a grave missed high point of your trip. Make a plan and make a visit to the Yehiam fortress in the western part of Israel and you will understand and see one of the most memorable parts of history of Israel.