Israel is building an interactive trail that will run 45 miles across the Lower Galilee, from Beit She’arim to Tiberias, to bring the region’s Talmudic-area history to life.
Recent archaeological excavations by thousands of high school students along the main street of the ancient Roman city of Tiberias have paved the way for that section of what will be known as the Sanhedrin Trail, which will connect sites associated with members of the Sanhedrin.
The trail is a project of the Israel Antiquities Authority with the National Religious Education Administration of the Ministry of Education, financed by the Landmarks Project of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage. Environmental organizations and the councils and towns through which the trail runs are also working on the project.
The trail is south of Sandy Springs’ Israeli sister city, the Western Galilee cluster.
As part of the Tiberias segment, a visitors center will soon be built to give the public a better understanding of the project and a chance to join the excavations.
The Sanhedrin Trail will have five segments and can be covered in five days of walking by families.
The smart trail will communicate with hikers using an augmented reality application. The app will enable the virtual reconstruction of heritage sites, will integrate figures who will guide children along the trail, and will bring back to life the Sanhedrin scholars and the sages of the period.
The Sanhedrin was exiled to Yavne after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., then to the Galilee after the Bar Kokhba Rebellion was crushed in 135. The effort to develop Judaism without the Temple led to the writing of the Talmud and the Passover haggadah.
“The trail project, which is dedicated to the Sanhedrin sages, will extend over 70 kilometers and will be dedicated to the state of Israel in its 70th year of independence,” said Israel Hasson, the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Tens of thousands of pupils and volunteers will bestow the respect due the Sanhedrin sages, and they will provide a spectacular and enjoyable interactive trail for tens of thousands of hikers that will connect the hikers to their past.”
Michal De-Hann, a pedagogic deputy in the National Religious Education Administration, said the work to create the trail also will have educational value by connecting Israeli students to the history of Jewish ideas.
“People such Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi, the members of the Sanhedrin who were active here 2,000 years ago, determined to a great extent much of how our lives are run today,” said Yair Amitzur, the IAA’s antiquities inspector for the Eastern Galilee. “It is according to these religious laws that we marry or conduct funeral ceremonies and even administer Jewish law. The establishment of the trail and walking on it will connect those who live here today with the atmosphere and frame of mind of that period.”