Hippos / Susita
The ancient city of Hippos, also called Susita, (both names mean “horse”) is a city on a hill on the East side of the Sea of Galilee. It was part of the Decapolis, or “ten cities”, a group of ten cities which had closer ties to Greco-Roman culture than to the Near East culture which surrounded them. It was settled in the third century BC by the Ptolemies, probably as a border fortress in their battle with the Seleucids. The city itself was probably founded by the Seleucids, since the full name, Antiochia Hippos, reflects a common name of Seleucid rulers. It had many of the buildings a Greek polis would have had, although it’s population was limited by the scarcity of water. It retained a degree of self-rule under the Romans, although it was a rival of the Jewish city of Tiberias on the other side of the sea. There are no close Biblical ties, although the city did exist at the time of Christ.
We didn’t visit Hippos, but we did travel along the Golan heights where Hippos is. It is called Bashan in biblical times and is the region of the Decapolis. Jesus cast demons (they called themselves Legion) out of a man there. The pictures are from our drive around that side of the lake and from a stop along the way where we could see the entire Sea of Galilee.
There are also pictures of a military bunker used by the Syrians when they occupied the Golan heights, and pictures of Mt. Hermon. Mt. Hermon is covered with snow right now and is a beautiful sight. If you look for the deep ravine at the beginning of the pictures, that is the Yarmuk river that flows into the Jordan just south of the Sea of Galilee. In the ravine there is an old railroad bridge leftover from the Ottoman empire. The railroad once went to Damascus.