HaElot Atlantic Pistacia Reserve

HaElot Atlantic Pistacia Reserve

This nature reserve is at the foot of the curve in the access road to the community of Har Brakha, below the Givat Ronen outpost.

In recent years the nearby Amsha Spring, which also has a ritual bath (for men), has become a recreation site for the neighboring central mountain ridge communities. You can park beside the spring and follow the path to the reserve, or in the parking area at the entrance to Givat Ronen (on the summit of Jabl Abu Ismail). A brown signpost points to the path to the reserve.

The reserve has dozens of terebinth (Atlantic Pistacia) trees and a few olive trees, surrounding a maqam Muslim prayer site dedicated to Nabi Ismail (Ishmael, Abraham’s son).

The maqam has two rooms with prayer niches facing Mecca, and a water cistern in the courtyard. There is also a carob tree (most of whose branches are dried out) at the edge of the courtyard, and a lone cypress tree. The building has two decorated columns incorporated into its structure, and another small column at the top of the domed roof. Adjacent to the northern wall of building is another ancient structure.

The grove is relatively open and between the trees there are many grassy plants, particularly Hordeum spontaneum (wild barley) and Hordeum bulbosum (bulbous barley). The most common flower here is yellow asphodel, which is also common on Mt. Grizim, beyond the boundaries of the reserve. The pistacia grove here is one of the largest and most beautiful in Shomron, and is apparently a remnant of the ancient forests in this region.

The remains of an ancient village – A-nebi Ruins – can be seen near the trees. In 1985 a burial ground from the Middle Bronze Era (1550-2000 BCE) was discovered among the ruins.

The tombs were completely destroyed and plundered by grave robbers. After a search, two bronze rings set with scarabs, were recovered from the robbers.

Amsha Spring is about 200 meters north of the reserve. The source of the spring is currently sealed, but wading pools have been built beside it.

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