Who would’ve believed that in this small country there would be real marble? The story began during a geological tour during the British mandate near the quarry for stone and lime at the foot of Mt. Gilboa.
How do you get there? Driving on route 71 east, turn right at Beit Hashita junction to route 669 and turn according to the sign for Kibbutz Hefziba. Next to the gate entrance to the Kibbutz, turn right and pass the cowshed and the new neighborhood expansion. Continue west, approximately 300 meters until the turn to the white unpaved road turning south of the mountain with a sign to the quarry. There is a short uphill and you arrive to the parking lot. You can walk and see the concrete building of the quarry.
Discovering marble in this area was insignificant, although when WWII broke out, importing marble from Italy immediately stopped and someone remembered the marble in this location. In 1942 they began to quarry marble on the slope of Mt. Gilboa and the quarry was active until 1952.
In order to cut marble which comes from rock transformation, they used a steel cable 4 millimeters thick. They would cool the cable with wet sand that was poured from barrels so that it wouldn’t rip from the heat of the friction with the rock. They also would drill for water that was used in the quarry.
About 10 years ago, the Foundation for Rehabilitating Quarries together with KKL and the Southern Jordan Drainage Authority began to restore the quarry. They reconstructed the cable which is anchored in the cliff and you can see the railcarts.
Near where they used to drill, there are benches and a pergola, and you can observe the beautiful Harod valley and see the fish ponds and seabirds from close.
From this point you can return to the Kibbutz. Those that wish to continue on the white unpaved road for another kilometer until a small hill of old Tel Yosef. This is where working pioneers established the Kibbutz in 1921. Only later in 1928 they moved to the current location of the Kibuutz. On the small hill there is a touching monument created by David Izhar, a bereaved father of 1973 commemorating pioneers and Kibbutz member that were killed during the wars in Israel.
*There is a beautiful Japanese garden in Kibbutz Hefziba that can be toured and guided by Na’ama Amit (entrance must be coordinated and paid for) 054-6634348.