Taninim Stream Nature Reserve
This reserve is explored via a very pleasant, circular hike along the Tananim Stream and its dammed-up lake. This Dam Trail is clearly marked. Taninim means crocodiles in Hebrew and there were crocodiles in this stream and its wetlands until the beginning of the 20th century. They were remnants of this areas’ once tropical environment. The two main aspects of interest in the reserve are the stream itself and dams built during the Roman-Byzantine period to create a large 6,000 dunam lake in the valley. Its aim was to raise the level of the water in the Tananim Stream to supply the large port city of Caesarea with additional water. The park is a refuge for endangered wetland plants. You will also pass a Roman stone quarry. There is no English brochure but aspects of the park are well described via signs in Hebrew and English. These are also the sources of the information described here.
In actuality, the dam did not produce enough of an elevation in the water level for water to flow by gravity to Caesarea and construction of the lower aqueduct was aborted. Although the aqueduct extends only 280 meters, kids can still play in its shallow water. Its maximum depth is 40 cm. (Note that it can also be slippery). The dam enabled the construction of 6 flour mills in the Byzantine period and 7 mills in the Ottoman period.
The wetlands were drained by Baron Edmond de Rothschild between 1922 to 1932. He intended developing this land for settlement. He also established a clay pipe factory here, although this was unsuccessful. The area he drained remains part of the reserve.
There is also a much longer Stream Trail which separates from the Dam Trail. This approaches the Arab village of Jist az-Zarqa and may be closed on occasion for security reasons.
A walk on the Dam Trail:
Time: About ¾ hour.
Distance: About 1¾ Km.
Type of walk: Circular
Difficulty: This is an easy walk, but it is not suitable for a stroller or wheelchair.
Directions: Enter “Taninim Stream Nature Reserve” into Waze.
Admission: There is an admission charge. The park is open in the summer Sunday to Thursday and Saturday from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 pm and Friday and holiday eves 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. In the winter the park closes an hour earlier. Admission is up to 1 hour before closing. There are shaded picnic tables. Their phone number is 04 626 5151. This is their website
Public transport: Enter “Taninim Stream Nature Reserve.” The nearest bus stop is a 1.4-Km/17-minute walk from the reserve.
There were crocodiles in this stream and wetlands until recently. They were a left-over for when this was a tropical area.
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The dam was built during the Roman-Byzantine period to raise the water level so it could supply Caesarea with water via gravity.
A reconstructed flour mill from the Byzantine period.
This lower aqueduct to Caesarea was were completed as the engineers got their calculations wrong. However, kids can play in the water.