Also at the Hermon Spring (Banias) Nature Reserve are the ruins of the Sanctuary of Pan, who was the Greek god of the wild. (If you read my last post about the Reserve, the archeological site is located on the Springs side.) Jonathan and I were both pleasantly surprised to come across these ruins; neither of us were aware that they were there.
But first: the Officers’ Pool. This pool was built by the Syrians at the point where the Ein Hilu Spring emerges; its water is allegedly warmer than the Banias Spring (which it connects to). According to our map, Syrian soldiers used this pool until the Six Day War in 1967. Now, it mostly has fish in it.
From here, we walked up to the Banias Springs. Just above the springs, against the face of the cliff, were the ruins.
(Full disclosure: I was really excited to see these ruins because I’ve recently read the Percy Jackson series. If you’ve read them, you know that Pan plays a pretty significant role in that series…)
The way this site integrated sacred architecture into the natural scenery is unique. It is the only example of such in the Middle East and might be the only example found throughout the entire Greco-Roman world.
The name of this site, Banias, is the Arabic pronunciation of the original Greek name “Panyas.” Herod’s son, Philippus, tried to rename the area Ceasarea Philippi when he established the seat of his rule here; as you can see, that was a futile attempt.