ABOUT THE NAHARAYIM EXPERIENCE IN GESHER
The tourist site of Kibbutz Gesher invites you to visit one of the most impressive and diverse sites in the Jordan Valley. Tourism here is based on the values of its natural landscape and its historical heritage - a wonderful way to enjoy a valuable experience.
Old Gesher - the Naharayim Experience - the Jordan River boardwalk - the Mamluk Inn; an experience for all ages that crosses timelines and eras.
The Naharayim Experience
The Naharayim power plant was built on the eastern side of the Jordan River and began functioning in 1932. It was, however, destroyed at the outset of Israel's Independence War, on May 14, 1948 and ceased to function. In order to demonstrate how this power plant once produced electricity, a special model was created with the cooperation of Kibbutz Gesher and the Israel Electric Company. The light and sound show presentation gives the visitor the feeling of an authentic reproduction of the power plant that once was. The visitor's walkway takes one through a system of dams and bridges complete with a water tower and a turbine room, all the while hearing the sound of running water accompanied with flashes of light and color.
Viewing platform of the Jordan River and the border
Looking eastward towards Jordan, we can view the Jordan River, three historical bridges, and an ancient wayside Inn from the 14th century. Opposite is the hydroelectric power plant, built by Pinchas Rotenberg, dubbed "the Old Man from Naharayim".
Museum of Battles from Israel's Independence War of 1948
The original underground shelter used by fighters from Kibbutz Gesher that was once the "heart of the village" - the village's central command room during the battles of the War of Independence - has been turned into an underground museum. Rooms include the medical clinic, the communication room, the kitchen and recovery rooms for injured fighters.
Light and Sound Show
The Syrian African Rift created the best known bird migratory pathway on Earth, a route that leads towards warmer lands full of springs and abundant wildlife... An ancient crossing route, once used by armies and trade caravans on their way to battles or markets.... First Jewish settlements on the banks of the Jordan River, defending the borders of their newly established country - documenting the stories of early members of Kibbutz Gesher in the battles of the War of Independence, the struggle for their homes, the destruction and the rebuilding....
Take a 15-minute journey through time, with this exciting and touching Light and Sound show.
The story of a village on the banks of the Jordan
The large courtyard of old Kibbutz Gesher tells the story of the area's first Jewish settlements, from the early 1900's to the battles of the War of Independence. In April 1948, this was the first village that withstood the onslaught of the Jordanian Arab Legion and with Israel's declaration of independence in May, the focal point for Iraqi invasion forces as well.
Kibbutz Gesher was under siege and was almost completely destroyed. After evacuating children, injured and non-fighters, what was left of the village was then guarded by its members. The fighters held out until the end of the Independence war, guarding their home.
From of the rubble and destruction of many years, there emerged reconstruction and conservation activities, turning the Gesher courtyard into an educational tourism site for school children, groups and families.
The story of the Israel Electric Company is inseparable from the vision of the creation of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.
Pinchas Rotenberg, founder and first director of the Electric Company, was born in Ukraine in 1879. Even as a child, Pinchas Rotenberg's talents in the field of applied sciences stood out, and upon completing his high school studies, he was sent to the Polytechnic Institute in St. Petersburg to study engineering.
Rotenberg finished his studies with honors, and began working as an engineer in the large steel factory in Potilov. Work in the factory drew him away from the fate of his people and led him closer to an intellectual circle of people that supported the proletariat revolution, where finally, he became an active member of the social revolutionary movement.
After stormy years as a Russian revolutionist, and too full with adventures, disappointments and far from his people, Pinchas Rotenberg turned into an enthusiastic Zionist, a man of vision and actions, later becoming a leader in settling the Land of Israel.
In the summer of 1919, Rotenberg moved to Israel, bringing with him a mandate from the Zionist movement in Paris, to submit a program to the governing body for developing an irrigation and electricity system using the water resources in the country.
Immediately upon his arrival, Rotenberg began to survey the water sources in the area, from Beirut, Damascus, the Golan Heights, Jordan and down to Aqaba.
In 1920, Rotenberg submitted his survey to the governing mandate with the suggestion to develop 13 hydroelectric power plants, from Lake Karon in the North, to the Dead Sea in the South. The recommendations included promises of large profits, promotion of a large Zionist industry and 1000's of job opportunities.
The power plant known by its official name as Plant Jordan A', was built near the junction of the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers. Building a series of dams and canals, Rotenberg planned to harness the waters from both rivers in order to activate the plant. 'Naharayim' (meaning 2 rivers) was actually the realization of Pinchas Rotenberg's dream, where he proved that it is possible to produce electricity with water in the Land of Israel as had never been done before.
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