Postcard from Israel – Rujum el Hiri

Thousands of years ago, probably during the Chalcolithic period, residents of the Golan Heights got together to move almost 40,000 tons of the local basalt stone in order to construct a massive stone circle often dubbed as ‘the Stonehenge of the Levant’. 

Rujum el Hiri (which translates as ‘the heap of stones of the wild cat’) is also known in Hebrew as Gilgal Refaim – wheel of the giants. Its outer stone circle is 520 feet in diameter, with walls originally 8 feet high.  Four further concentric stones circles lie within and at its centre – an ancient tomb. 

Rujum el Hiri is situated on the Golan Trail – a 125 km hiking route  – near moshav Yonatan and the Dvash reservoir and close to the source of the Daliyot river.  

Theories as to the megalith’s original function are varied and include the possibility that it may have been used for worship at the summer and winter solstices, or as a calendar. The photographs below were taken around sunrise on the morning of the summer solstice.

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