A view with lots of history, on this Black Monday.
The bottom picture provides a wider view and one can see that I am standing on an elevated place, which is mount Carmel. I am on the rooftop of a Carmelite monastry. Mount Carmel is most famous as the place reported in 1 Kings 18 as the place where the prophets of Baal were defeated, when the prophet Elias prayed to God. Mt. Carmel is a range of mountains, stretching from the Mediteranian south east into Israel. The monastry is supposedly built, where Elias' altar stood.
In both pictures the view is to the south-east from Carmel, accross the Jezreel valley. This valley has been the scene of many a battle. In the Bible it is mentioned a couple of times that "the kings go out to battle" during the spring months. They would then pitch camp in an area like this valley, where new green grass and water was available. After some customary insults were traded, they would have a go at each other.
The first recorded battle in this valley (15th century BC), was the Battle of Megiddo, between the Egyptians and the coalition of Canaanite vassal states led by the king of Kadesh. The battle was recorded by pharaoh Thutmose 3's personal scribe, Tjaneni. The Egyptians won. This valley was for a very long time the furthest north that the Egyptian chariots could move.
In Biblical times the valley was the scene of a victory by the Israelites, led by Gideon, against the Midianites, the Amalekiltes, and some others from the east. It is also the place where Saul got defeated by the Philistines. Later queen Jezebel, who introduced the Baals into Israel, got eaten by the dogs, after her eunuchs chucked her out of a window (apparently it was not on the ground floor), at the defeat of her husband, king Jehoram.
Later in 1887 Laurence Oliphant described Jezreel as "a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands; and it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxuriant fertility which it is possible to conceive."
Accross the valley, on the furthest hills, from the middle to the left, one sees Nazareth. Now the third largest city inhabited by Palestinians. I refer to the b&w picture.
Still with that picture, in the middle is mount Tabor, barely visible in the coloured picture. It is first mentioned in the Bible as border of three tribes: Zebulun, Issachar and Naphtali. Later judge Deborah defeated the army of Jabin commanded by Sisera, in the mid 12th century BC at mount Tabor. Some Christian believe that mount Tabor to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Since the Bible mentions only "a high mountain", there is no proof of this claim.
In the coloured picture one can see mount Gilboa, at the foot of which king Saul and his sons, met their end during the battle that raged in the valley. Gilboa is to the right in the coloured picture.