The city of Hippos (Sussita) was the central city of the Golan during the Hellenistic and Roman/Byzantine periods. It is located on a diamond (or horse) shaped mountain which rises 350m above the Sea of Galilee. Recent excavations revealed the impressive plan and structures of the city. Map.
During the Byzantine period there were eight churches, indicating its importance for Christians. The city was devastated by a massive earthquake in 749 AD which left it in ruins since then. The ruins of Hippos are located on the east shore of the Sea Of Galilee, on a steep mountain, east of Kibbutz Ein-Gev.
It is on the same latitude of the Roman Tiberias, which is on the other side of the lake and departed by 10 km. A damaged asphalt road leads up from Ein-Gev, or down from Afik in the Golan heights, reaching a parking place on its east side. The road is actually closed for driving except for use by farmers, although many cars use it as access to the Golan.
The road remains the main problem of developing the site, and we hope that in the near future this road will be repaired. The city is located on a high flat rock, shaped like a diamond or a horse’s back (hence its name). The ancient city, 650m by 170m at its maximum sides, is surrounded by a wall which stretches along the rim of the rock.
It has two gates – an eastern gate and a western gate. The major road, Decumanus Maximus (Roman east-west main street), traverses the city from east to west. The highest side is on the east (altitude of 144m, or 350m above the lake of Sea of Galilee which is at -210m). The rock slopes towards the western side (altitude 70 meters, or 280 meters above the lake). Several Bronze and Iron age sites were excavated around Ein-Gev, at the foothills of Hippos-Sussita. According to the findings, Early man lived in this area for at least the past 17,000 years.
According to the 4th century Talmud Yerushalmi (Shvi’it 6), Sussita was the land Tov (“good”) where the judge Yiphtach lived at the 12th century BC (Judges 11 3): “Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him”.
A Biblical city was located on the shores of present Ein-Gev, below the mountain of Hippos, in a 30 Dunam (3 Hectares) hill called Tell Ein-Gev. It was established in the 10C BC as a fortified Israelite city, had a fishing port, and protected the mountain passage which used the narrow valley north of Hippos as one of the trade roads up to the Golan.