Hermon nature reserve
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Hermon nature reserve (שמורת חרמון) is a nature reserve located in the north of the Golan Heights, which was declared a nature reserve on December 6, 1974. The reserve includes an area in southern Mount Hermon which is located in the Israeli occupied portion of the Golan Heights. The reserve excludes the Mount Hermon ski resort, Neve Ativ and the Nimrod Fortress. The total area of the reserve is 18,842 acres (76,250 dunam).
Vegetation: Due to the height of the mountain the growth and the blooming begins at the top of the mountain in August, instead of the spring.
Fauna: The common birds in the reserve include white-throated robin, western rock nuthatch, sombre tit and northern wheatear. There are many species of butterflies, of which 23 are unique to the Hermon nature reserve and do not exist in the rest of Israel. The common reptiles in the reserve include the Vipera bornmuelleri and the four-lined snake.
One of the loveliest parts is the Hermon nature's reserve containing pretty waterfalls and riverbanks. An important part of this reserve is the Banias spring that lies on the foot of Mt. Hermon, where it meets the Golan heights. The most hiked route in the reserve is climbing to the Banias Cave through the trail that goes through the spring.
There are reminders of a Roman temple dedicated to the god Pan. Deep archaeological digging has discovered the five niches shaped out of the rock to the right of the Banias cave. Three of the niches carry messages in Greek, mentioning Pan the tune lover, echo, the nymphs under the mountains and a certain Galerius, one of Pan's clergymen. The cave's characteristics were changed by earthquakes that have modified the scenery, making the water come from the bottom of the cave instead of from its inside.
In 1905 the botanist Aaron Aaronsohn discovered what he called "the mother of wheat", Triticum dicoccoides, on the eastern slopes of Mount Hermon. In its time, this was a discovery of the greatest importance, as there were plans to hybridize "wild wheat" with other cultivars to produce a grain more easily grown in inhospitable locations. Eventually, this plan was abandoned; it didn't work.
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