Massada is situated on the top of a mountain with steep sides and a flat top like a parapet overlooking the desert panorama to the west and the Dead Sea to the east. The thrilling story of the site reveals the courage of the defenders of Massada and their battle against the conquering Romans.
The fortress of Massada was built in the year 30 BCE by King Herod, whose architectural feats have left their mark throughout the country. The site was conquered by a group of Jewish zealots, at the beginning of the great revolt against Rome in the year 68 BCE, and Massada became their last stronghold. In the year 72 the Romans besieged Massada and succeeded in reaching the steep fortress after constructing a huge earthen ramp on its western side. In the year 73, the 960 Jewish zealots living at the top of Massada chose to commit suicide rather than to fall into the hands of the Romans alive. Their deeds left behind a saga of courage, heroism, and martyrdom.Dead Sea Area, Israel
Nahariya’s proximity to the sea is beneficial to residents and visitors alike. The beautiful, long beach boasts a wonderful promenade lined with restaurants and coffee houses. An open bathing beach runs along the promenade, and nearby are lawns and playground equipment. A large sports and recreation compound was built at the southern end for those who enjoy roller skating, basketball and mini-soccer. The municipal bathing beach is located north of the promenade in the country club complex which offers sports and recreation facilities.
The promenade extends southward till the edge of Acre, and is good for walks, and for bicycling. Diving fans will be interested in the popular spot with the remnants of the Kidon missile boat at the bottom of the sea.
Nature lovers and others will enjoy the sites and beautiful nature reserves in the surrounding area, including Akhziv, The Bahai Gardens, Betset Beach and Rosh Ha-Nikra.
For many Israelis, Nahariya means rest and recreation, a place where one can enjoy an active vacation amidst an atmosphere of serenity. Something about Nahariya catches one’s eye from the first instant. With the city’s center always bustling, its caf?s never empty, its beaches full of activities, Nahariya captivates you with its lingering charm.
Nahariya is Israel’s northernmost coastal city and a pioneer among the newer settlements of the Western Galilee. In 1934, German immigrants introduced industry and tourism to the city. Since then, these branches have grown significantly, and today, Nahariya is a major tourist city whose innovative approach is evident year-round.
Nahariya’s main thoroughfare, Sderot HaGa’aton, crosses the city from east to west. Flowing through the center of the boulevard is the Ga’aton River and during the rainy winter it is a pleasure to observe its waters rushing towards the sea. Along the length of this lively street are dozens of coffee houses, restaurants and shops. Lined up on the street during the summer and holiday seasons are beautiful horse-drawn carriages which have become the Nahariya’s symbol. Their pleasant drivers will be happy to take you on a tour of the city and the coast.Nahariya, Israel
The charming village of Abu Ghosh, with its important Christian connections, welcomes visitors and is just a few minutes’ drive west of Jerusalem.
Beginning in the twelfth century, Christians began to identify Abu Ghosh as Emmaus, where Jesus appeared after the Resurrection (Luke 24:12-31). They imagined an old caravansary they found by the village spring as the destination of the disciples as the walked along the road “about seven miles from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:13).
The village’s impressive Crusader church, in a tranquil garden setting, is built over that spring. Its walls are adorned with paintings of New Testament figures – some of the oldest medieval frescos in the world.
Abu Ghosh has also been identified as Kiriath Jearim, where the Ark of the Covenant was brought after Philistine captivity (1 Sam. 6:21); a church on the hill with a panoramic view marks that spot. A vocal music festival is held in the village churches during Passover week and Pentecost, attracting music lovers from throughout Israel and abroad.Jerusalem, Israel
The Latrun Monastery is located on a rise with a fabulous view of the Ayalon Valley where God made the moon stand still (Josh. 10:12). Just across the Jerusalem highway from Emmaus (Luke 24:13), a stop here makes for a peaceful interlude for Christian travelers on their way to or from the Holy City.
The walkways of the monastery, built in the early twentieth century by French Trappist monks, charmingly frame vineyards from which they make grape juice and wine, and their church is an interesting mixture of Byzantine and Gothic styles.
The monks keep a vow of silence, except for those who sell wine and olive oil to visitors. The name “Latrun” comes from a twelfth-century castle on this spot called La Tour de Chevaliers (“the knights’ tower”). Later travelers believed the name was connected to the Latin word latro (thief) and saw this site as the home of the “good thief” crucified next to Jesus (Luke 23:40-43).Jerusalem, Israel
There are some places where time seems to have stopped still. Such is Peki’in, an intriguing picturesque village in the Upper Galilee where modern development has not changed much of the old homes and alleys.
Peki’in is a story of harmony, a village where Christian Arabs, Druze and one ancient Jewish family have lived peacefully together for centuries. Peki’in was a farming village since the time of the Second Temple 2,000 years ago. Since that time only one Jewish family has stayed in place. Arab settlement in Peki’in started in the 11th century CE with Arab Christians who were joined a century later by Crusaders. In the 18th century Druze families moved into the village and another 10 Jewish families have moved there during the past few years.
The heart of the village is a warren of narrow alleys that lead to the old center of Peki’in, the village spring. In the center there is a synagogue built in 1873 which has in its walls two stones reputedly taken from the walls of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The synagogue is locked but can be visited with prior coordination.
To the south of the village one can find the Rabbi Simon Bar Yohai cave, where Bar Yohai, according to Jewish legend, hid from the Romans with his son Elazar. A carob tree grows at the entrance to the cave, which also has a spring. Legend has it that Bar Yohai and his son ate the carobs and drank the spring water during the 12 years in which they hid in the cave. A later tradition says that it was here that Bar Yohai wrote the Zohar, the foundation of Kabala, the Jewish mystic discipline.
The village is also home the second largest Greek Orthodox church in Israel, which was built in 1894 on the ruins of an older church and is open in Sundays and Christian holidays.Galilee Area, Israel
The Druze village of Isfiya is located on the top of the Carmel Mountain commanding a panoramic view of the surrounding green hills. The village has a rich tradition of openness, hospitality, and warmth that is characteristic of the Druze community. Its special location and rich ethnic tradition and culture have proved especially attractive for travelers and tourists.
Isfiya was first established during the 17th and 18th century by Druze from the mountains of Lebanon. They were later joined by several Egyptian families, and in 2003 the village was merged with the neighboring Druze village of Daliat El Carmel. The two unified villages are known today as Ir Carmel.
The village has opened itself to tourists, while at the same time preserving its traditional Druze life style. The Druze are well-known for their warm hospitality and receive guests with smiling enthusiasm. The Isfiya residents are no exception, and welcome visitors into their homes, where they can get a close glimpse of Druze religious customs and traditions.Galilee Area, Israel
Gamla is the site of a Jewish city founded in the second-century CE Hasmonean times, located on a craggy basalt outcropping in the western Golan Heights. Gamla has it all: a dramatic saga, rugged landscape and magnificent vistas to match, and a wonderful foray into nature, including a waterfall and great raptors soaring overhead.
One look at the hump-like shape of the hill is enough to understand why it was called Gamla, which comes from the Hebrew word for camel. Two thousand years ago, the Jewish historian Josephus described the siege of the walled city of Gamla by the Roman general Vespasian, who marched across the Galilee to subdue the Golan in 67 CE at the beginning of the Great Revolt.
Seven months later, the Romans overcame the walls and streamed into the city. Josephus says the 9,000 remaining inhabitants fought their way to the edge of their town and threw themselves to their deaths into the gorge below when they realized they could not avoid capture. This element of the story has led to the site’s nickname, “the Masada of the north.”
Even a view of Gamla from the observation platform at the top of the trail is thrilling. You can clearly see the walls, the actual tower Josephus says the Romans undermined by pulling out the bottom stones, and the synagogue, one of the oldest ever found. Archaeologists discovered not only these architectural remains, but many other artifacts: the picks the Romans used to climb the walls, thousands of missile stones and arrowheads, as well as coins minted by the rebels stamped “For the salvation of Holy Jerusalem.”
Herzliya (pronounced Hertselia) is named after the visionary of the Jewish state and founder of the World Zionist Federation - Theodore Herzl. Herzliya has three main features. Its beachfront is one of the most popular among both Israelis and foreign tourists, thanks to the many hotels, abundance of restaurants, beaches with swimming areas and organized marinas.
The city’s industrial zone has a concentration of high-tech companies that provide work for a large percentage of the city’s residents. The city also has many fine stores and restaurants and becomes a vibrant entertainment center at night. The attractive malls and shopping centers serve the local population as well as residents of surrounding urban and rural communities, making Herzliya a city alive with energy and excitement.
Herzliya was founded in 1924 as a moshava: semi-cooperative farming community with a mixed population of Israelis and new immigrants. After Israel’s establishment in 1948, the city grew as immigrants flooded the young country. In 1960 Herzliya was declared a city and had a population of 25,000, less than one third of its population today.
The museum of Herzliya’s history, in one of the city’s original houses on Ha-Nadiv Street, documents the city’s growth. Near this museum is Herzliya Museum of Art, housed in the Yad le-Banim military memorial building on Wolfson St.
West of the city is a Muslim holy site called Sidna Ali, which contains the tomb of Ali ibn Alil, a mosque and a number of buildings. To the northwest is the Tel Arsaf (Arsuf) archeological site, where the Apollonia National Park was established a few years ago. This site, which was inhabited from the Persian period (2500 years ago) until the Crusader period (1,000 years ago), has many impressive architectural remains of the Crusader town of Arsur, its fortress, surrounding wall and encompassing moat. Throughout the year, cultural events are held in the park, with music from around the world and festivals in the spirit of the Crusaders including period costumes.Herzliya, Israel
Netanya is a lively seacoast town situated on the Sharon coastal plain, and a center for tourism that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The lovely beaches that extend along its entire length, its numerous vacation facilities, and hotels have made it a popular tourist resort. Exploring Netanya, one can hear a variety of languages spoken in the streets by tourists from all over the world.
Netanya was originally a moshava – a small agricultural village with citrus groves and a flourishing tourist trade. Since the 1930s it has also become a center for the diamond cutting industry, which provide work for many of its residents. The finest feature of Netanya is its beautiful beaches that extend for 12 kilometers along the city's seacoast. The bathing beaches have sports and vacation facilities for the entire family, and they are filled with bathers and vacationers throughout the summer. Above the beach is a ridge of rugged cliffs - the only ones of their kind in Israel - with a long promenade overlooking the sea. The promenade constitutes part of the "Israel Road" - a marked walking path that extends the entire length of the country from Kibbutz Dan in the north to Eilat in the south. Netanya is a bustling resort city. It has dozens of hotels and guesthouses, charming coffee shops, restaurants offering a variety of tastes and styles, fashion boutiques, shopping centers, galleries, and entertainment spots. Festivals and other events are held in Netanya throughout the year, making the city become a lively gathering place.Netanya, Israel
Ein Hod is a charming, picturesque artists’ village set in the heart of the Carmel Forest.
Established in 1949 by new immigrants, it became an artists’ village in 1953 at the initiative of Marcel Janco, a renowned Dada artist who organized an unusually diverse group of artists and craftspeople to settle among the ancient stone houses.Ein Hod’s location at the foot of Mount Carmel, in close proximity of various tourist sites and nature reserves, provides many sightseeing opportunities. Among the recommended places to visit are: the Druze town of Daliyat el-Carmel; historic Zikhron Ya’akov; the Khof Dor - Ha-Bonim Reserve; the ancient Etsba Cave; Nakhal Me'arot Reserve; and Nakhal Kelakh.Galilee Area, Israel