• קַצְרִין
  • كتسرين
Hebrew transcription(s)
  ISO 259 Qaçrin
  Also spelled Qazrin (official)
Katzrin, Katsrin (unofficial)

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
District Northern
Founded 1977
  Type Local council
  Head of Municipality Sammy Bar-Lev[1]
  Total 12,214 dunams (12.214 km2 or 4.716 sq mi)
Population (2015)[2]
  Total 6,913

Katzrin (Hebrew: קַצְרִין; also Qatzrin) is an Israeli settlement organized as a local council in the Golan Heights[3] Known as the "capital of the Golan,"[4] it is the second-largest locality there after Majdal Shams, and the largest Jewish locality.[3][5] In 2015 it had a population of 6,913. 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.[6]


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.[7][8]



The site was occupied from the Middle Bronze Age, continuing into the Iron, Hellenistic and Roman (when it was destroyed) periods.[9] 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.[9]

Arab and Mamluk periods

The 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.[10][11] As a result of the earthquake the location was most probably abandoned by the declining Jewish community.

During the Mamluk period (13th–14th centuries), it was a Muslim village and a mosque was built on the ruins of the synagogue.[9][10]

Ottoman, French and Syrian rule

In the 1880s, Kisrin, as it was known then, was described as "a small Bedawin winter village, with a group of beautiful oak trees and old ruins".[12] From the late 19th century to 1967, the village was occupied by Bedouin and a settled population.[9] Since 1920 and until the independence of Syria in 1944, the area was under the jurdisdiction of the French Mandate.

Israeli occupation

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 on a plateau east of Lake Kinneret.[13] In 1981, under the Golan Heights Law, Israel applied Israeli civil law in the Golan Heights (including Katzrin) but this law was internationally condemned and determined null and void by the UN 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 free 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 five neighborhoods: Gamla, Naveh, Kedma, Afek and Batra.[18]

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


See also: Golan Brewery
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.[4]

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, including the Golan Heights region, discovered significant oil and natural gas reserves.[23][24][25][26][lower-alpha 1][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

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.[9] Investigation by Israeli archaeologists commence in 1972.[9] Katzrin ancient village and synagogue was reconstructed and opened to the public as a "Talmudic village" set in a national park.[9] 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

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]


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


  1. Sammy Bar Lev, Mayor of Katzrin
  2. "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. 1 2 Aronson, Geoffrey (1998). "Settlement Monitor". Journal of Palestine Studies. University of California Press. 27 (4): 138. doi:10.2307/2538145.
  4. 1 2 Golan olive attractions
  5. Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (2011), populations of localities numbering above 2,000 residents
  6. "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  7. The Golan Heights attracting young Israelis
  8. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/golan_heights_rel89.jpg
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Ann E. Killebrew (2004). "Reflections on a reconstruction of the ancient Qasrin synagogue and village". In John H. Jameson. The Reconstructed Past: Reconstructions in the Public Interpretation of Archaeology and History. Altamira Press. pp. 127–129.
  10. 1 2 Claudine Dauphin (1998). La Palestine byzantine, Peuplement et Populations, Vol. III : Catalogue. BAR International Series 726. Oxford: Archeopress. pp. 653–654.
  11. 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.
  12. G. Schumacher (1888). The Jaulan. London: Richard Bentley and Son. p. 194.
  13. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 Katzrin community guide
  19. Moskowitz prize
  20. Israel opens largest solar plant with Chinese help, 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
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Katzrin.
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