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Katzrin is located in Golan Heights
Katzrin is located in Israel
Katzrin is located in Syria
Coordinates: 32°59′31″N 35°41′28″E / 32.992°N 35.691°E / 32.992; 35.691Coordinates: 32°59′31″N 35°41′28″E / 32.992°N 35.691°E / 32.992; 35.691
CountryGolan Heights, internationally recognized as Syrian territory occupied by Israel
Israeli DistrictNorthern District
Israeli SubdistrictGolan
Syrian GovernorateQuneitra Governorate
Syrian DistrictQuneitra District
 • MayorDmitry Apartzev
339 m (1,112 ft)
 • Total7,132
Founded 1977

Katzrin (Hebrew: קַצְרִין; also Qatzrin, Arabic: قصرين‎, romanizedqaṣrīn) is an Israeli settlement organized as a local council in Golan Heights.[2] Known as the "capital of the Golan,"[3] it is the second-largest locality there after Majdal Shams, and the largest Jewish locality.[2][4] In 2018 it had a population of 7,132. It is the seat of Golan Regional Council.

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights illegal under international law, though the Israeli government disputes this.[5]


To the south of Katzrin is the Sea of Galilee, to the north Mount Hermon, and to the west are the Upper Galilee hills of Israel.[6][7][dubious ]


Bronze Age to Early Islamic period[edit]

The site was occupied from the Middle Bronze Age, continuing into the Iron Age, the Hellenistic and Roman periods (during the latter it was once destroyed), while 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.[8]

The ancient 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.[9][10] As a result of the earthquake the location was most probably abandoned by the declining Jewish community.

Mamluk period[edit]

During the Mamluk period (13th–14th centuries), it was a Muslim village and a mosque was built upon the ruins of the synagogue.[8][9]

Ottoman, French and Syrian periods[edit]

In the 1880s, Kisrin, at the east edge of the modern town, was described as "a small Bedawin winter village, with a group of beautiful oak trees and old ruins".[11] From the late 19th century to 1967, the village was occupied by Bedouin and a settled population.[8] Since 1920 and until the independence of Syria in 1944, the area was under the jurisdiction of the French mandate. The Syrian farm of Fakhoura was just to the north-east and had about 250 inhabitants before its depopulation in 1967.[12]

Israeli occupation and annexation[edit]

Entrance to Katzrin shopping mall

The Israeli settlement of Katzrin was established in 1977 as a planned urban center for the Golan based on a decision of the Israeli government in November 1973. Construction began in 1976.[13] In 1981, under the Golan Heights Law, Israel applied Israeli civil law in the Golan Heights (including Katzrin). This law was condemned internationally and by the United Nations security council.[14][15][16] Katzrin serves as a district town,[17] that provides educational, administrative and cultural services to the surrounding region.[18]


The early residents were young couples and professionals from Tel Aviv and Haifa.[13] 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.[19] Katzrin is divided into six neighborhoods: Gamla, Naveh, Kedma, Afek, Batra, and Chen.[18] Building of infrastructure for an additional neighborhood, Yovel, began in 2018.

There are also 30 Druze families and few Sunni Muslim families as well living in the town.


Golan Heights Winery, Katzrin

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.[20][21] 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.[3]

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.[22]

Near Katzrin in 2015, Afek Oil & Gas, a subsidiary of Genie Energy Ltd. and controls Genie Energy Ltd.'s oil and gas exploratory project in Northern Israel and the Golan Heights region, discovered significant oil and natural gas reserves.[23][24][25][26][a][28][29][30] As of October 2015, an estimate of the volume of resources and to what extent they may be extractable is unknown.[31]

Education and culture[edit]

Ohalo College, a teacher training college, moved to Katzrin in 1988.[32] 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.[33] 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.[18]


Entrance to Talmudic-era synagogue, Katzrin archaeological park

Prior to 1967, the antiquities site on the outskirts of Katzrin was a closed military zone and off limits to archaeological research.[8] Investigation by Israeli archaeologists commence in 1972.[8] Katzrin ancient village and synagogue was reconstructed and opened to the public as a "Talmudic village" set in a national park.[8] 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.[34]

Town twinning[edit]

Katzrin has a friendship agreement with Mikulov, Czech Republic. In 2012, a Czech delegation visiting Israel and the Golan Heights 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.[35] There is also a friendship agreement with Mionica, Serbia.[36]


  1. ^ As of 2015, Israel consumes 270,000 barrels of oil per day.[27]


  1. ^ "Population in the Localities 2018" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 25 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Aronson, Geoffrey (1998). "Settlement Monitor". Journal of Palestine Studies. University of California Press. 27 (4): 138. doi:10.2307/2538145.
  3. ^ a b Golan olive attractions
  4. ^ Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (2011), populations of localities numbering above 2,000 residents
  5. ^ "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  6. ^ "The Golan Heights attracting young Israelis". Archived from the original on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  7. ^ http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/golan_heights_rel89.jpg
  8. ^ a b c d e f Ann E. Killebrew (2004). "Reflections on a reconstruction of the ancient Qasrin synagogue and village". In John H. Jameson (ed.). The Reconstructed Past: Reconstructions in the Public Interpretation of Archaeology and History. Altamira Press. pp. 127–129.
  9. ^ a b Claudine Dauphin (1998). La Palestine byzantine, Peuplement et Populations, Vol. III : Catalogue. BAR International Series 726. Oxford: Archeopress. pp. 653–654.
  10. ^ Shmuel Marco; Moshe Hartal; Nissim Hazan; Lilach Lev; Mordechai Stein (2003). "Archaeology, history, and geology of the A.D. 749 earthquake, Dead Sea transform". Geology. 31: 665–668. doi:10.1130/g19516.1.
  11. ^ G. Schumacher (1888). The Jaulan. London: Richard Bentley and Son. p. 194.
  12. ^ Yigal Kipnis (2013). The Golan Heights. London and New York: Routledge. p. 243.
  13. ^ a b The Golan Heights come down to Earth, Haaretz
  14. ^ United Nations. Security Council Resolutions, 1981.
  15. ^ Council on Foreign Relations. UN Security Council Resolution 497.
  16. ^ BBC News. Regions and territories: The Golan Heights.
  17. ^ In Golan Heights, Doubts Plus a Bit of Confidence, New York Times
  18. ^ a b c Katzrin community guide
  19. ^ Moskowitz prize
  20. ^ Israel opens largest solar plant with Chinese help Archived 2008-12-17 at the Wayback Machine, December 10, 2008.
  21. ^ Chinese PV pioneer helps build Israel's biggest solar power station, Xinhua, December 9, 2008.
  22. ^ Settlers aim to increase Israeli population in Gaza in bid to thwart pullout, Lebanon Daily Star
  23. ^ "Afek Oil & Gas". Official Website. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  24. ^ Kelley, Michael (February 22, 2013). "Israel Grants First Golan Heights Oil Drilling License To Dick Cheney-Linked Company". Business Insider. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  25. ^ "Israel approves drilling for oil in Golan Heights". The Jerusalem Post. 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  26. ^ http://genie.com/investors/quarterly-earnings/, Genie Energy Earnings Release, May 7, 2014. "Genie Energy Reports First Quarter 2014 Results"
  27. ^ Graeber, Daniel J (7 October 2015). "Israel upbeat on Golan oil potential: Israeli company estimates reserve column 10 times larger than global average". UPI. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  28. ^ Globes correspondent (7 October 2015). "Huge oil discovery on Golan Heights: Estimates are that the amount of oil found will make Israel self sufficient for very many years to come". Globes. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  29. ^ Graeber, Daniel J (9 October 2015). "Major reserve discovery confirmed in the southern Golan Heights: Leadership of company behind the find seen as close to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu". UPI. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  30. ^ Udasin, Sharon (7 October 2015). "Still too soon to determine production potential of Golan Heights oil: Afek Oil and Gas say findings have so far revealed a 'very robust oil-bearing strata'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  31. ^ Udasin, Sharon (8 August 2015). "Drilling begins at third Golan Heights oil exploration site: "We are very pleased with the progress of the work and the findings, which have thus far matched our expectations," said Afek Oil chief geologist Dr. Yuval Bartov". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  32. ^ Ohalo College in Katzrin
  33. ^ College of Katzrin opens department of sustainable development and renewable energy
  34. ^ Go Israel: Katzrin
  35. ^ KKL-JNF Completing Work on Mikulov Park in Katzrin
  36. ^ "Mionica", Wikipedia, 2019-09-26, retrieved 2020-01-24

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