|• ISO 259||Qaçrin|
|• Also spelled||
|• Type||Local council|
|• Head of Municipality||Sammy Bar-Lev|
|• Total||12,214 dunams (12.214 km2 or 4.716 sq mi)|
Katzrin (Hebrew: קַצְרִין; also Qatzrin) is an Israeli settlement and local council in the Golan Heights. Known as the "capital of the Golan," it is the second-largest locality there after Majdal Shams, and the largest Jewish locality. At the end of 2010, Katzrin had a population of 6,700. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights illegal under international law, though the Israeli government disputes this. Despite not being part of its jurisdiction, the seat of the Golan Regional Council is located in Katzrin.
The site was occupied from the Middle Bronze Age, continuing into the Iron, Hellenistic and Roman (when it was destroyed) periods. The most substantial structural remains date from the Late Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (3rd–4th to mid-8th centuries), when the site was a Jewish village with a synagogue.
Arab and Mamluk periods
The Jewish settlement served as an important trading location in the region, but started to decline with the change of trading routes after the Islamic conquest. The village was destroyed in an earthquake in CE 746–749. As a result of the earthquake the location was most probably abandoned by the declining Jewish community.
Ottoman, French and Syrian rule
In the 1880s, Kisrin, as it was known then, was described as "a small Bedawin winter village, with a group of beautiful oak trees and old ruins". From the late 19th century to 1967, the village was occupied by Bedouin and a settled population. Since 1920 and until the independence of Syria in 1944, the area was under the jurdisdiction of the French Mandate.
Modern Katzrin was established in 1977 as a planned urban center for the Golan based on a decision of the government in November 1973. Construction began in 1976 on a plateau east of Lake Kinneret. In 1981, under the Golan Heights Law, Israel applied Israeli civil law in the Golan Heights (including Katzrin) but this law was internationally condemned and determined null and void by the UN security council. Katzrin serves as a district town, that provides educational, administrative and cultural services to the surrounding region.
The early residents were young couples and free professionals from Tel Aviv and Haifa. At the end of the 1980s, a large number of Jews from the former Soviet Union settled in Katzrin. Today, a third of the city’s residents are Jews from Soviet Union and their descendants. Religious educators also moved to Katzrin, establishing a religious day school and a premilitary academy. Katzrin is divided into five neighborhoods: Gamla, Naveh, Kedma, Afek and Batra.
The Golan Heights Winery is located in Katzrin. In 2008, the large Chinese solar company Suntech Power and Israeli company Solarit Doral built Israel's largest solar power station, a 50 kW rooftop project near the town, and connected it to the electric grid. The Mey Eden mineral water bottling plant and the Golan Olive Oil Mill are in Katzrin. Golan Olive Oil produces some 50 tons of olive oil which is sold locally and exported. During the olive harvest season, which begins in October, visitors can watch the processing procedure, from crushing to bottling.
A tourist attraction in Katzrin is the Magic of the Golan, a special effects movie screened at the local mall that depicts the spectacular scenery of the region.
Education and culture
Ohalo College, a teacher training college, moved to Katzrin in 1988. In 2010, the college opened a department devoted to sustainable development and renewable energy. Students explore the interrelationship of different renewable energy sources and their impact on the sustainability of development in the Golan and Galilee. Katzrin has twelve preschools (including three for special needs children); two elementary schools (one religious and one secular) and a comprehensive regional high school Nofey Golan with over 1,000 students.
Prior to 1967, the antiquities site on the outskirts of Katzrin was a closed military zone and off limits to archaeological research. Investigation by Israeli archaeologists commence in 1972. Katzrin ancient village and synagogue was reconstructed and opened to the public as a "Talmudic village" set in a national park. The Golan Antiquities Museum in Katzrin houses archeological findings from the region and screens an audiovisual presentation about Gamla, a Jewish town in the Golan Heights that fought the Romans in the 1st century.
Katzrin has a friendship agreement with Mikulov, Czech Republic. In 2012, a Czech delegation visiting Israel attended a cornerstone ceremony for Mikulov Park in Katzrin attended by the Czech Deputy Ambassador to Israel. Special features of the park are a miniature replica of the clock tower of Mikulov and an audio station where visitors can learn about the history of Mikulov.
- Sammy Bar Lev, Mayor of Katzrin
- Aronson, Geoffrey (1998). "Settlement Monitor". Journal of Palestine Studies (University of California Press) 27 (4): p. 138.
- Golan olive attractions
- Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (2011), populations of localities numbering above 2,000 residents
- "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- The Golan Heights attracting young Israelis
- Ann E. Killebrew (2004). "Reflections on a reconstruction of the ancient Qasrin synagogue and village". In John H. Jameson. The Reconstructed Past: Reconstructions in the Public Interpretation of Archaeology and History. Altamira Press. pp. 127–129.
- Claudine Dauphin (1998). La Palestine byzantine, Peuplement et Populations, Vol. III : Catalogue. BAR International Series 726. Oxford: Archeopress. pp. 653–654.
- Shmuel Marco, Moshe Hartal, Nissim Hazan, Lilach Lev and Mordechai Stein (2003). "Archaeology, history, and geology of the A.D. 749 earthquake, Dead Sea transform". Geology 31: 665–668.
- G. Schumacher (1888). The Jaulan. London: Richard Bentley and Son. p. 194.
- The Golan Heights come down to Earth, Haaretz
- United Nations. Security Council Resolutions, 1981.
- Council on Foreign Relations. UN Security Council Resolution 497.
- BBC News. Regions and territories: The Golan Heights.
- In Golan Heights, Doubts Plus a Bit of Confidence, New York Times
- Katzrin community guide
- The Golan Heights come down to Earth, Haaretz
- Moskowitz prize
- Israel opens largest solar plant with Chinese help, December 10, 2008.
- Chinese PV pioneer helps build Israel's biggest solar power station, Xinhua, December 9, 2008.
- Settlers aim to increase Israeli population in Gaza in bid to thwart pullout, Lebanon Daily Star
- Ohalo College in Katzrin
- College of Katzrin opens department of sustainable development and renewable energy
- Go Israel: Katzrin
- KKL-JNF Completing Work on Mikulov Park in Katzrin
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Katzrin.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Qatzrin.|
- Katzrin town website
- A Renewable Energy Peace Park in the Golan as a Framework to an Israeli-Syrian Agreement