By Bassam Almohor
When the total annual rainfall exceeds 600 mm, the fertile Marj Sanur becomes a magnificent mud-colored seasonal lake that spreads over 20 square kilometers (16,000 dunams). Marj Sanur yields rich crops all year long, as farmers cultivate vegetables, grains, and tobacco in open fields, and tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and more in its plentiful greenhouses. Walking the fertile plain’s soft terra rosa relaxes the feet, while the peppermint aroma in the air gives rise to nostalgia and makes you crave a steaming cup of tea! (32.365479°N, 35.274466°E).
The closed basin of Marj Sanur has no drainage outlet. During the rainy season, when the plain turns into a lake, farmers in other areas are pleased to have a rich season. But not the farmers of the plain. Here, the water can stay much longer than elsewhere – until May in some parts of the plain – leading to large uncompensated losses and delays during the farming season.
Marj Sanur lies 16 kilometers south of Jenin at an elevation of 350 meters. The Marj is surrounded by eight villages, starting with Sanur, which is famous not only for its Marj but also for Jarrar Castle, once home to one of the most powerful governors during Ottoman rule. The other seven villages are Maithaloon and Siris in the south, Al-Judeida and Sir in the east, Misilya in the north, and Jarba and Zawiya west of the plain.
Hiking, trekking, and cycling trails are plentiful in this area. Masar Ibrahim Trail crosses Sanur before it continues southward, crossing first Mount Hureish – the area’s highest summit, named after the holy maqam of Hureish that crowns it at an elevation of 764 meters – and then Mount Bayzeed farther south.
An easy trail across the plain starts from Sanur, leading to the west and circling the plain. It touches the surrounding villages, covering a circular distance of 20 kilometers. The maximum length of the Marj from west to east is 7.5 kilometers, while its maximum width is 3.5 kilometers. Another potential hiking trail starts in Jarba, leading eastwards, and continues along the Marj’s northern border until it reaches Sir, then moves on to the lush and fertile valley of Kfair and later to Raba woods in the east.
A cycling trail through the valley can be very enjoyable and managed with ease. Very rewarding during spring, it first crosses the Marj from west to east, then continues across Kfair plain until it reaches Zababdeh in the north, and finally leads to the eastern plains of Jenin. A trail of some 30 kilometers, it crosses several plains and their farms that belong to generous farmers.
For more information and guidance, contact Bassam Almohor at firstname.lastname@example.org, +972-59-753-4681, or Facebook @toursmore.