A visit to Rojum al-Hiri on the longest day of the year – Israel

The group of young men and women standing on the pile of basalt stones moved slowly, back and forth, humming a soft melody. Dawn in the east began to redden. A moment later one of the young men pulled out a large mouthpiece from his backpack and began poking it hard in the direction of the sun ball that quickly climbed between the stone openings. “Good Morning, Good Morning…”, the young rumble that stood next to me with her eyes closed as she raised her hands high. A new day has begun.

Not just a new day. The date is June 21st. The longest day of the year and the official date of the opening of the summer season. The place: the center of the Golan Heights. The site: “Rojum El Hiri” (Hebrew: “The Pile of Stones of the Wild Cat”), an ancient and mysterious prehistoric site. Every year, when the sun rises at this time, those standing in the center of Rojum’s building watch the shooting, rising and rising from the center of the northeastern opening of the large stone circle.

Rojum al-Hiri, nicknamed the “Israeli Stonehenge”, was discovered in the early 1970s and is estimated to be around 3,500-4,000 years old. According to many researchers, this is one of the most impressive Megalithic remains discovered in our area. Not surprising if you look at the dimensions of the site. These are basically two architectural units: a central stone mound and four walls – stone circles, some of which are incomplete, that surround it. The central reservoir forms the core of the site and is built of small stones, 5-6 meters high and 25-20 meters in diameter. Four walls are connected to the reservoir – the first wall is semicircular, 50 meters in diameter and about 1.5 meters wide, this wall is connected to a second wall that is an almost complete circle. Diameter about 90 m. The third wall formed a complete circle without interruptions and disturbances, c. 110 m in diameter and 2.6 m wide, and its entire length. The fourth wall was the outermost and largest of the walls, c. 150 m in diameter and 3.2 m wide.

The name “Gilgal Refaim” was attached to the place due to the biblical name of the residents of Bashan (Refaim). The site is located about 16 km east of the northern shore of the Sea of ​​Galilee across an extensive plain covered with hundreds of dolmens, not far from the site are economic villages typical of the Golan Heights and a large settlement from the Early Bronze Age.

This morning we arrived, a team from “Another Journey”, to photograph the sunrise along the imaginary line drawn by the Rojum website to the shooting. For many years we have been following this site and the research related to it. It is also pleasant to return to this wonderful place and feel the special atmosphere that the place creates.

What motivated the ancient people to create the complex structure and deceive many basalt stones, with a total weight of several tens of thousands of tons? Israeli and foreign archaeologists who excavated the site found some interesting finds. The American archaeo-astronomer Prof. Avini confirmed the hypothesis that this is a site for astronomical prediction, or a temple (calendar structure), which allows observing astronomical phenomena related to the seasons (probably for agricultural uses). A particularly large dolmen was discovered in the main structure (excavated by Dr. Yoni Mizrahi), which strengthens the hypothesis that this is a burial site of a distinguished personality, who was given such a huge and impressive structure.

Other questions continue to resonate: Why was such a large structure built? Where did the stones come from? Was it some kind of growth frenzy or was it a technical reason, or at least a ritualistic reason? As of today these questions have remained unanswered. Along with us waited for the rising sun also a bunch of people of the new age who hummed ancient melodies, held hands and scattered the smell of incense in the air to receive the new day.

Spring is coming to an end, summer is approaching, feel? Great doubt. The familiar seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn, do not behave according to the scenarios we have learned in the geography books,

At least not in recent years. In general, spring, it seems, exists only in books and poems, and perhaps also in Europe. But with us – not at all. Add to this the fact that the earth’s climate is getting warmer, and you will understand why Israel is, above all, a land of summer, no more.

Still, spring, which has not been, is coming to an end. And today will officially open the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere with far more hours of light than hours of darkness, so that in fact the day will be the “longest day of the year.” The main reason for this phenomenon is the “asymmetry” on our planet and the fact that it is slightly inclined on its axis. The inclination (23.5 degrees relative to the plane of motion around the sun), causes that during its annual rotation around the sun, different parts of the sphere are constantly exposed to different amounts of radiation, and the ratio between the hours of light and darkness changes. As mentioned, June 21st will be the date of the inversion (the second is December 21st – the shortest day) and the summer will be excited for us in full force.


About 1 km north of the Dalyot junction in the center of the Golan Heights, on Road 808, there is an entrance on a dirt road, intended for 4X4 vehicles (and also other hard vehicles). Drive east until close to the stone piles of Rojum and park. The Dalyot River and after a few minutes you reach Rojum, and go to the central mound. Wise: “Rojum to the shooting”

Courtesy of Cloud Pillar and Mapping Center

Courtesy of Cloud Pillar and Mapping Center

Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il.

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