FROM NORTH TO SOUTH
Mount Hermon – The highest point in Israel, a ski resort in winter and a hiker's paradise the other three seasons. Drive across the flat land and, in the distance, Mount Herman rises up unexpectedly. The chair lifts run all year long but even in summer you'll need a sweater in the evenings - a rarity in Israel. The mountain offers beautiful views of Lebanon, Galilee, and the Golan.
Historical site on the slopes of Mt. Hermon. This beautiful fortress, which dates from the Crusader and Mameluke periods, commands a magnificent view of the northern Hula Valley and the pass south of the Hermon into Syria. It once served as a highway stronghold defending the road to Damascus, but following the fall of the second Crusader kingdom in 1291, it lost its importance and was abandoned. The site contains several towers and walls and a lookout point. Tel. 050-813227
Recreation site in the northern Hula Valley. The waters of the Dan River flow through this park of old oaks, lush green lawns, and rivulets that join to form magnificently cascading falls and a lake suitable for swimming. The park contains a fisherman’s pond, snack bar, camping facilities and cabins. Tel. 06-6942360, 6942440
Historical site in the Upper Galilee. The ancient Bar’am synagogue, one of the best preserved in the country, dates from the second or third century C.E. The area served as a center of Jewish life after the destruction of Jerusalem (70 C.E.) and during the period of the suppression of the Bar Kochva revolt (135 C.E.). Tel. 06-6989301
Historical site in the Hula Valley. This large, important tel, site of the biblical Hazor – "the head of all those kingdoms" (Joshua 11:10) - is located at the side of the Rosh-Pina - Metulla Road, opposite Kibbutz Ayelet Hashahar. Excavations at the site have unearthed remains of fortified cities with walls and temples from the Canaanite and Israelite periods. The water system, hewn by Ahab, king of Israel in the 9th century B.C.E., is extremely impressive. Near the tel, at the entrance to the kibbutz, is a museum with finds from the area. Tel. 06-6937290, Museum Tel. 06-6934855
Recreation area and historical site on the Mediterranean. The park contains remains of ancient settlements from the Canaanite, Mishnaic, Talmudic, and Crusader periods. The ruins of the Crusader fortress, Lambert Castle, are outstanding. Achziv has lawns, picnic areas, two storm-protected pools located in the sea, dressing rooms and a restaurant. Tel. 04-9823263
Historical site in Eastern Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee. The ruins of this ancient Jewish city, famous for its wheat and mentioned in the Talmud and the New Testament, are spread over 25 acres partitioned into five sectors. At the center, there is a basalt synagogue decorated with carvings of flora and fauna. A basalt chair, a "Chair of Moses," with an inscription, was also found at the site. Most of the remains are from the Talmudic period (3rd to 4th centuries CE.). The excavations and reconstruction were carried out between 1960 and 1983. There is a footpath at the site, as well as sanitary facilities and a parking area. Tel. 06-6934982
Historical site in Western Galilee. The restored Crusader fortress is scenically situated within a garden on the grounds of Kibbutz Yehiam. Built in the 12th century by the Knights of the Order of the Templars, it was conquered and destroyed in 1265 by the Mameluke Sultan, Baybars and reconstructed in the 18th century by the Bedouin ruler Dahar al-Omar. During Israel’s War of Independence the fortress served to protect the kibbutz. Tel. 04-9856004
Historical site in Lower Galilee, (Between the Movil Junction and Nazareth). Remains of early settlements, mainly from the Roman and Byzantine periods, were discovered here. Among them are public and residential buildings, a theater, a colonnaded street, a Crusader castle and a church. A reconstructed Roman villa protects a magnificent mosaic floor. Other mosaics have been uncovered as well, in extensive ongoing excavation works at the site. Sepphoris is mentioned in various sources such as Josephus’ writings and in Talmudic literature, it was devastated by an earthquake in 363, but was rebuilt. The city was an important site for Jews and Christians alike. Tel. 06-6568272
Historical site in eastern Lower Galilee. Six kilometers west of the Beit She’an-Gesher highway, perched on a promontory overlooking the Jordan Valley, is a Crusader fortress built in the 12th century by the knights of the Order of the Hospitallers. They called it Belvoir for its beautiful view. In Hebrew it is called Kochav Hayarden, "Star of Jordan," since it was built with stones taken from the neighboring ancient Jewish settlement, Kochav. The fortress was conquered after a lengthy siege following the defeat of the Crusaders in the battle of the Horns of Hittin (1187). Restored and landscaped, it commands a breathtaking view of the Jordan Valley and the Gilad Mountains. There are sanitary facilities and a snack bar at the site. Tel. 06-6581766.
Historical site in Beit She’an Valley. Beit She ‘an, spread over 325 acres, is one of the most important ancient sites in the country. It contains the remains of twenty layers of civilization, including some from as early as the 4th millennium B.C.E., ruins of a Hellenistic city, and ruins of a luxurious Roman-Byzantine city (Scythopolis), whose streets, public buildings, and temples have been unearthed. An impressive, partially restored 6,000-seat Roman Theater and a large amphitheater may also be seen at the site. A footpath leads visitors through the city, which is still undergoing excavation, preservation, and restoration. Tel. 06-6581501, 6587189.
Recreation site in the Beit She‘an Valley at the foot of Mount Gilboa. Set between Kibbutz Nir David and Kibbutz Beit Alpha, this is a magnificently landscaped park - shade trees, grassy lawns, and a natural-water swimming pool divided by gentle falls and nourished by warm spring waters that keep it a steady 28c even in winter. Also at the site are an indoor he ated pool, an archaeological museum of the Mediterranean, a restaurant, a snack bar, and dressing rooms. Tel. 06-6586219.
Historical site in the Jezreel valley. This sixth-century synagogue, part of ancient Beit Alpha, was unearthed at Kibbutz Heftziba in 1928. The synagogue’s colorful mosaic floor is one of the largest and best preserved in the country. Its Aramaic inscription says it was executed during the reign of the Emperor Justin I. The mosaic is covered by a roof and is well-lit. There is a park and snack bar at the site. Tel. 06-6532004
Recreation site in the Harod Valley at the base of Mount Gilboa. This spring, located on the foothills of Mt. Gilboa, is the site where the Biblical judge, Gideon, in an effort to select the fittest of his men to fight the Midianites, tested them in the famous "trial by the water." Nearby is Kibbutz Ein Harod, established in 1920. Above the spring are the graves of Yehoshua Henkin, called ‘Redeemer of the Land," and his wife. At the site are wooded areas, a parking lot, camping facilities, and a restaurant. Tel. 06-6532211
Historical site on the Mediterranean coast. Located on the shore between Hadera and Atlit, this port city was built by Herod the Great on the ruins of an ancient anchorage known as Strato’s Tower. He named it Caesarea in honor of his Roman patron, Augustus Caesar. When the city was the capital of the country during Roman rule the Jews of Caesarea raised the standard of revolt in 66 CE, setting off the Jewish War. After the fall of Jerusalem, the city was the site of the Roman victory celebration. It was here that the Romans executed Rabbi Akiva and his disciples, after the Bar Kochva Revolt was quelled. Caesarea became an important Christian center that was alternately conquered by Muslims and Crusaders until it was destroyed at the end of the 13th century. Among the magnificent archaeological finds at the site are restored Crusader fortifications, a Byzantine street, and a Roman theater. There are restaurants, galleries and a bathing beach at the site. Tel. 06-6361358, 06-6361010.
Public beach and recreation site near Yannai Interchange. Nahal Alexander, "the Alexander River," is named for the Hasmonean king Alexander Yannai. Located at the center of the park of the same name, it is formed from the runoff of the eastern Samaria mountains and creates a breach in the limestone cliffs that run the length of the shore. Natural flora and forested areas, a shore combining craggy cliffs and sand dunes, and a newly opened beach make the park an ideal vacation spot. During the first stage of development, parking lots and shade huts were installed. During the next stage soon to be implemented, the river waters will be purified and recreational facilities constructed on its banks. Tel. 09-8666230
Recreation and historical site near Petah Tikva. This park, located alongside the sources of the Yarkon River, incorporates the ancient city of Afek-Antipatris. Excavations at the site have uncovered remains of the settlement and fortifications dating from the Bronze Age to the relatively recent Ottoman period. The site has a landscaped garden with lawns, trees and sports facilities.
Recreation area and historical site west of Jerusalem. Located in the riverbed just off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway opposite Kiryat Anavim, this group of springs was called ‘Aqua Bella" (Beautiful Waters) by the Crusaders. At the sight are ruins of a fortified agricultural farm from the Crusader period. The site has been landscaped with trees and lawns. Tel. 02-5342741
National memorial at the entrance to Jerusalem. This hill and its surroundings were the site of many important battles during the War of Independence, especially the March-April 1948 battle to break the Arab siege of Jerusalem. A model of the battles is on view. Explanatory signs have been posted, approach roads paved, a visitors’ area installed, and trees planted. The destroyed Arab village at the top of the hill is about 2.5 km. south of Kiryat Anavim and overlooks the Jerusalem road. Tel. 02-5330476
Historical site at the edge of the Judean Desert. Herod the Great built this fortified mountain palace and named it for himself. It was most probably his final resting place. The palace played a significant role during the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70 C.E.) and during the Bar Kochva Revolt against the Romans (132-135 C.E.). In the lower part of Herodion, a luxurious palace was constructed at the center of a large garden that contained impressive buildings, a bathhouse and pools. On the mountaintop, there is an observation post that commands an impressive view of the Judean Desert. Tel. 050-505007
Historical site and recreation area in the Judean Plains. The Beit Govrin Park, which encompasses the ancient city of Beit Govrin, contains antiquities and unique caves, including those of Tel Maresha. The city of Beit Govrin was founded in the Israelite period and has been continuously inhabited since that time. Among the remains are walls, public buildings, churches, and man-made caves that were used as living quarters, as water cisterns, for storing and preserving crops, for the production of agricultural products (olive oil and wine), as stables, and as burial caves. The bell caves were formed as a result of the quarrying of limestone. The park has footpaths, informative signs, a parking lot, sanitary facilities, and a snackbar. Tel. 07-6811020
Recreation area and historical site on the Mediterranean Coast. Ashkelon is one of the oldest cities in the world. In the 12th century B.C.E., it was conquered by the Philistines and became one of their five major cities. Since that time, the city has changed hands many times. Herod the Great, who was probably born in Ashkelon, beautified it, Muslims and Crusaders fought over it. The shoreside park, with its lush lawns, forms a splendid setting for the ancient fortifications, buildings, statues, columns, and inscriptions which are on view to the Public.
National memorial on the southern coastal plain. The site of a major battle against invading Egyptian forces during the War of Independence (May 19 - 24, 1948), Yad Mordechai is a memorial to courage and determination. There are models and reconstruction of the battle at the site, as well as a museum dedicated to Jewish heroism in the Holocaust and the War of Independence and an impressive statue of Mordechai Anilewitz, the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Museum Tel. 07-6720528/9
Recreation site in the northwestern Negev. The park is spread over an area of 1,000 acres on the banks of the Besor River, whose bubbling springs served as a water source for ancient cities. Within the park are ruins dating from the Canaanite period to the Byzantine. Near the springs are a man-made lake, spacious lawns, recreation and sports facilities, a large swimming pool and footpaths. Tel. 07-9985110/20
Historical site in the northeastern Negev, near Arad. This ancient mound contains the ruins of a 5,000-year-old Canaanite city that was uncovered and reconstructed -complete with walls, towers, gates, streets, temples, water systems and houses. In the northeastern corner of the mound, a 10th-century B.C.E. Israelite fortress was uncovered.
Historical site in the eastern Negev Mountains. Situated in the Negev some 7km. east of Dimona are the ruins of the ancient Nabatean city of Mampsis or Mamshit, called Kurnub in Arabic. The city was conquered by the Romans and prospered during the Byzantine period. In the year 636 it fell to the Muslims, was destroyed, and abandoned. During the
Mandate period, the British established a desert police station at the site. Excavations have unearthed residential areas, public buildings, churches and bathhouses, some of which were decorated with mosaic floors and frescoes. An inn and a cemetery were found outside the city walls. Tel. 07-6556478
Historical site in the western Negev Mountains. Located at the side of the road leading to Nitzana, this partially reconstructed ancient Negev city was established by the Nabateans and flourished well into the Byzantine period. It was abandoned in approximately 900 C.E., some 200 years after the Muslim conquest. The remains from the Roman and Byzantine periods - houses and churches, tiled streets, and water and drainage systems - are well preserved. Adjacent to the site is a reconstructed ancient agricultural farm.
National memorial in central Negev Mountains. Located near the Sde-Boker Negev Institute, this national park is the final resting place of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, and his wife Paula. Through the use of local stone, luscious greenery & flora, the park stands in sharp contrast to the barren desert surrounding it. The slabs of stone used at the tomb form steps that serve the visitors. The view from the site is breathtaking. Tel. 07-6555684
Recreation site in the central Negev mountains. This canyon in the central Negev is located just north of Avdat. Its spring waters flow in natural pools to the base of the deep ravine of Wadi Zin, which stretches from Avdat to Sde Boker. Approach roads and paths lead from the base of the canyon to the top. At the site there are river flora, poplars, and flocks of ibex, Tel. 07-6555684
Historical site in the central Negev Mountains. Situated on the Beer Sheva -Yerucham - Mitzpe Ramon highway, this extensively excavated and reconstructed ancient Negev city was built by the Nabateans as a caravan station on the road from Petra and Eilat to the Mediterranean coast. In the year 106 C.E., it became the seat of the Roman government in the Negev. It prospered throughout the Byzantine period but was abandoned when it fell to the Muslims in 634. Tel. 07-6550954
Historical site in the Negev, near Beer Sheva. Remains of ancient settlements at this site date back to the 4th millenium B.C.E. Excavations revealed several levels, all dated and classified. The site serves as a prototype for the study of a planned, fortified Israelite city. Reconstruction, signposts and Biblical quotations at the well, the city gate and city square, the drainage channel, governor’s residence, storehouse and dwellings, add up to an enriching experience. Tel. 07-6467286. Open every day,
·Apr. to Sept. 8 am - 5pm
·Oct. to Mar.8am-4pm on Fridays and the eves of holidays, sites close one hour earlier. On the eves of Rosh-Hashana, Passover, and Yom Kippur, sites close two hours earlier. On Yom Kippur all sites are closed. Explanatory brochures are provided and booklets may be purchased at the sites.
·For further information: National Parks Authority. Tel. 03-5766888
(From North to South)
At the base of Nimrod’s Fortress in the northern Galilee. Plentiful water, lush vegetation and a wealth of antiquities make the Nahal Hermon Reserve a special place. Flowing through the reserve is Nahal Hermon (nahal means stream in Hebrew), one of the three main tributaries that come together to form the Jordan River. Entrance fee. Open winter 8 am - 5pm, summer 8 am - 6pm. Entrance is permitted up to one hour before closing time. Tel. 06-6950272
Approximately one km. north of Kibbutz Dan. Thanks to the plentiful water and warm climate of this reserve, a veritable jungle of trees and climbing plants developed, forming many shady nooks – very rare in Israel. Towering over the reserve is Tel Dan, where the remains of the Canaanite City Laish were found. This city was conquered by the Dan tribe during the times of the Judges. Entrance fee. Open winter 8 am - 5pm, Fri. 8 am - 4 pm, summer 8am - 6pm, Fri. 8am - 5pm. Entrance to the reserve is permitted up to one hour before closing time. Tel. 06-6951579
Approximately 5.5 km. south of Katzrin. There are four perennial streams running through the Yehudiya Reserve. the Meshushim, the Zavitan, the Yehudiya and the Daliyot. Among the special sites in the reserve: the Meshushim Pool, Ein Nataf situated on the Zavitan, and the Gamla Falls, the highest waterfall in Israel, on Nahal Gamla - the northernmost tributary of Nahal Daliyot. Cars must pay an entrance fee to the parking lot. Open winter 8 am - 4pm, summer 8 am - 5pm. Tel. 06-6962817, Fax 06-6961166
Part of the Yehudiya Reserve in the Golan, northeast of the Sea of Galilee. The Gamla waterfall is located in the Gamla Reserve. At a height of 51m it is the highest perennial waterfall in Israel. Eagles nest in the cliffs above Nahal Gamla and may be seen all year round. Built during the Hellenistic period, the ancient city of Gamla is also located within the boundaries of the reserve. The remains of the city tell the heroic story of its inhabitants who, in the year 66 C.E., joined the rebellion against Rome. Entrance fee. Open Sun. - Thurs. & Sat. winter 8 am - 4pm, summer 8 am - 5 pm, summer & winter Fri. closing time is one hour earlier. Entrance to the reserve is permitted up to an hour before closing time. Note: Due to the training of IDF forces in the area, it is advisable to notify us of your plan to visit the site in advance. Tel. 06-6963721
East of Metulla, Nahal Ayoun courses in four waterfalls from Lebanon down into the Hula Valley. These waterfalls form the heart of the reserve. They are called the Ayoun waterfall (9.20 m high), the Tahanah (mill) waterfall, so called because of the flour mill located next to the fall powered by the force of the water (21 m high), the two Eshed falls, the upper of which is 5m. high and the lower approximately 9.5m high, the Tanur Falls, the highest on the reserve, falling from a height of 30m. Entrance fee. Open 8am - 4.30 pm. Entrance to the reserve is permitted up to one hour before closing. Tel. 06-6951519
Approximately one km. north of Yesod Hamaale. The reserve serves as a rare meeting place for African flora and fauna as it is the northernmost border between them and European flora and fauna. Water buffaloes wallow in the pools, but the birds are the jewels in the crown of the reserves animal life. Entrance fee. Open 8 am - 4 pm. Fri. & holiday eves 8 am - 3 pm. Entrance to the reserve is permitted up to one hour before closing. Tel:06-6937067.
Approximately one km, west of Kibbutz Afek. The sources of the Na’aman stream are located in Em Afek Nature Reserve. The swamp there attracts many birds during migration as well as nesting periods. Entrance fee. Open all year round 8 am - 4 pm, Fri. & holiday eves: 8 am - 3 pm, Sat. & holidays: 9 am - 5pm. Entrance to the reserve is permitted up to one hour before closing. Tel. 04-8779992
On the western slopes of the Judean Hills, south of Nahal Sorek about 2 km. east of Beit Shemesh. According to scientists, this cave was formed between 8 and 25 million years ago due to the dissolution of limestone by rainwater mixed with carbon dioxide. After the cave was formed, the opposite process began: the rainwater which had penetrated the cave melted the limestone in its way, but as it dripped onto the surface, it left a deposit of that same substance on the ground and the ceiling of the cave. Over the generations, the stalactites and stalagmites gradually grew into their present formations, which amaze all who see them today. Entrance fee. Open year round 8.30 am - 3.45 pm, Fri. & holiday eves 8.30 am - 12.45 pm. Tel. 02-9911117
On the outskirts of Mitzpe Ramon. The Ramon Crater is an extraordinary natural desert reserve and is the largest of its kind in the world. The reserve is rich with the remains of ancient civilizations. There are three centers in the Ramon Park: The Visitors Center - with a sound and light show, exhibitions and a three - dimensional model of the crater. There is an entrance fee to the Visitors’ Center. Open year round 9 am -5 pm, Fri. & holiday eves 9 am - 4pm. Hai Ramon - a museum devoted to desert animal life. Open Sun. - Thurs. 8.30 am -3 pin, Fri. 8.30 am - 1 pm, Sat. 9 am - 4 pm. Tel. 07-6588755/4. YetsiRamon -Yetsira means creation in Hebrew; you can engage here in creative activities using the natural materials found in the Ramon Crater and get to know the characteristics and colors of the rocks and sands found in the area. Guided tours and night-time visits must be arranged in advance. Tel. 07-6588691/8, Tel/Fax 07-6588620