Mount Tabor by the London Reading Book

The Plain of Esdraelon, in Palestine, is often mentioned in sacred history, as the great battle-field of the Jewish and other nations, under the names of the Valley of Mejiddo and the Valley of Jizreel, and by Josephus as the Great Plain. The convenience of its extent and situation for military action and display has, from the earliest periods of history down to our own day, caused its surface at certain intervals to be moistened with the blood, and covered with the bodies of conflicting warriors of almost every nation under heaven. This extensive plain, exclusive of three great arms which stretch eastward towards the Valley of the Jordan, may be said to be in the form of an acute triangle, having the measure of 13 or 14 miles on the north, about 18 on the east, and above 20 on the south-west. Before the verdure of spring and early summer has been parched up by the heat and drought of the late summer and autumn, the view of the Great Plain is, from its fertility and beauty, very delightful. In June, yellow fields of grain, with green patches of millet and cotton, chequer the landscape like a carpet. The plain itself is almost without villages, but there are several on the slopes of the inclosing hills, especially on the side of Mount Carmel. On the borders of this plain Mount Tabor stands out alone in magnificent grandeur. Seen from the south-west its fine proportions present a semi-globular appearance; but from the north-west it more resembles a truncated cone. By an ancient path, which winds considerably, one may ride to the summit, where is a small oblong plain with the foundations of ancient buildings. The view from the summit is declared by Lord Nugent to be the most splendid he could recollect having ever seen from any natural height. The sides of the mountain are mostly covered with bushes and woods of oak trees, with occasionally pistachio trees, presenting a beautiful appearance, and affording a welcome and agreeable shade. There are various tracks up its sides, often crossing each other, and the ascent generally occupies about an hour. The crest of the mountain is table-land, 600 or 700 yards in height from north to south, and about half as much across, and a flat field of about an acre occurs at a level of some 20 or 25 feet lower than the eastern brow. There are remains of several small ruined tanks on the crest, which still catch the rain water dripping through the crevices of the rock, and preserve it cool and clear, it is said, throughout the year.

Mount Tabor.

The tops of this range of mountains are barren, but the slopes and valleys afford pasturage, and are capable of cultivation, from the numerous springs which are met with in all directions. Cultivation is, however, chiefly found on the seaward slopes; there many flourishing villages exist, and every inch of ground is turned to account by the industrious natives.

Fig Tree.

Here, amidst the crags of the rocks, are to be seen the remains of the renowned cedars with which Lebanon once abounded; but a much larger proportion of firs, sycamores, mulberry trees, fig trees, and vines now exist.

Sycamore.