Attractions between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
The area between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is an area which a lot of events happened during the history of Israel.
Starting with the battle between Joshua and the Amorites, the story of Samson the judge, and continue the battle between King David and Goliath.
In this area Jesus appeared to the two apostilles after his Resurrection. In this area The Ark of the Covenant had been returned by the Philistines to the Hebrews, Samuel the prophet was born, lived and act, The Jews fought against the Assyrians, the Greeks and the Romans, and more and more stories from the history.
This is the reason why I dedicated a special page to this area.
1. Mini Israel- Where else can you see the whole country in one day?
The site contains hundreds of amazingly exact models of the most important architectural, historic, archeological, religious and social sites of Israel, including 25,000 7cm high miniature residents within the models themselves!
Mini Israel is an exciting attraction that features over 385 beautifully crafted exact replica models of Israel's most important historical, religious, archeological and modern sites, at a scale of 1:25.
The models are situated among rich greenery, Bonsai trees and thousands of miniature figures of all types Israelis.
During your visit, you'll Enjoy our 3D Mini/Max aerial movie of Israeli sites.
It's a nice experience to the ones which came with their family to Israel, and want to summarize the visit, before departing from Israel.
Link to Mini Israel website is: https://www.minisrael.co.il/english-info-mini-israel/
2. Yad Lashiryon Museum- Yad Lashiryon Museum is a museum which focus in Two stories:
2.1. The 75 years old history of the Israeli's Armored Corps. The Park is a 20-acre area in the northeastern part of the site, covered with a pine forest planted by the JNF following the Six-Day War, and includes a hill containing 52 separate memorials. Near the former British Police building, there is an exhibition of all the armored Vehicles, starting in the Independence war in 1948, till today. Very impressive.
2.2. The story of the former British Police building. One of the brutal and difficult battles took place there, in our Independence war (and we lost in this battle). We succeeded to to conquer it, only in 1967. The story of these battles, with the Heritage Center inside the building, is very interesting. Link to this Museum website is: https://yadlashiryon.com/eng/
3. Emmaus Nicopolis- During the Byzantine period, Christians built a church where they believed the city of Emmaus was. The remains of the church are on the site.
The park itself has many remains scattered to indicate that the place was still inhabited from the Chalcolithic period and maybe even earlier. During the Greek period, there was a Greek settlement in the area called Emmaus. Emmaus was a Greek-Roman city that got its name from the Hebrew name Hamat (means in Hebrew "the hot spring").
In history, the town of Emmaus is famous for the Maccabean revolt (167 BC) and the place where Jesus met his two apostilles at the house of Cleopos, after his Resurrection.
There are Jewish Burial caves in the compound of the site. Near them you can find also Roman burial caves.
During the Hasmonean period (167-63 BC) Emmaus became a dominant settlement in the Ayalon Valley area and acquired the status of a regional administrative. During the late Roman and Byzantine periods Emmaus’s status grew to that of a city ("polis") and it was named Nicopolis ("city of victory" in Greek).
With the Arab occupation of the country, the place is held by the Arabs. But a terrible plague that has plunged many spaces has left the area. During the Crusader reign the destroyed Christian church was restored and most of the remains seen today are from this period. During the Mamelukes period, the settlement was renewed again under the Arab name of Amaus.
today you can find in the site a beautiful Church with a very nice movie which explain you the history of the place. Outside the Church you will meet the remains of the Byzantine Church, and the crusaders Church with its special Mosaic. In addition to that, there is a remains of a Roman villa, and the burial caves, which I mentioned earlier.
Really a site worth to visit. Link to Emmaus' website is: http://www.emmaus-nicopolis.org/English
4. Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve- The Reserve encompasses an extensive natural woodland area and the largest and most beautiful stalactites-stalagmites cave in Israel.
The cave was discovered at random by Alex Schoenberg and Aaron Fenigel in 1968 after it was uncovered following explosions in a quarry on Mount Good that provided gravel for construction. Following inventions of a relatively small amount of gravel after one of the blasts, Schoenberg discovered under a pile a hole about 60 cm by 60 cm. Schoenberg crawled into the hole and discovered a large stalactite cave. He later described the feeling as "a sense of Genesis, a place where a human foot has never walked." At Schoenberg's recommendation for quarry management, it was decided to preserve the cave and notify the authorities of the discovery.
His discovery was kept secret for some time, fearing that waves of visitors coming to the cave would cause its destruction, but the secret was leaked quickly and crowds came to visit the cave. The cave was guarded and after being trained to visit, it opened to the public in 1977.
at the front of the cave there is an observation area providing an overall view of the vast cavern. The raised platform gives a panoramic view of the variety of shapes of the stalagmites and stalactites and the special artificial lighting illuminating parts of the cave in lively colors. the cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites, which accompany the visitors all along the route.
Link to the Stalactite Cave website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/stalactite-cave-nature-reserve/
5. The Scroll of Fire- The Scroll of Fire is one of the most beautiful monument in Israel.
The monument is located in the middle of the forest, which is surround Jerusalem. It looks like a scroll made of two connected rolls and it is reminiscent of the scroll of the Torah scroll when it is open and read. On the rolls there are descriptions, of the Jewish history during the Holocaust until the liberation of Jerusalem, from the Holocaust to the rebirth of the Jewish state.
The story of the first roll, dedicated to the Holocaust period, begins with the procession motif for extermination, the description of Korczak and the ghetto children, the description of the extermination camps through the description of the uprising of the Jews in the Ghettos and in the extermination camps, and ends with a description of Holocaust survivors arriving to Israel. The second roll is dedicated to rebirth of the Jewish people in Israel, and begins with the description of the battle in Kibbutz Negba during the War of Independence and ends with the description of IDF soldiers praying at the Western Wall, upon the liberation of Jerusalem.
In the front roll the inscription is in the Hebrew language and in the back roll, the same is written in the English language: Thus says the Lord God. Here I opened your graves and raised you from your graves with me and brought you to the land of Israel; And I gave my spirit to you and your life. And I put you on your land. Ezekiel, 16: 12-12.
If you have the time- Don't miss it!
6. Ein Hemed National Park- Ein Hemed is really a pearl of nature in the center of the country. it's a national park reservation, in the mountains of Jerusalem, which combine historical site, and nature.
After entering to the site, immediately you'll see the Recycled flow of stream water – a closed system collects the spring water flowing through the streambed of Kesalon Stream and brings it back to the starting point. This system is intended to prevent the stream from drying up during rainless winters and drought years.
After a short walking along the stream, you'll reach to Crusader fortress and remains of an agricultural farm.
in the southern part of the park is a fortified building from the Crusader period, which appears to have served a farm. The ancient remains have been taken care of and preserved, adding a mysterious and magical historical aspect to the park. The site is pretty crowded on weekends. my recommendation is to come between Sunday-Thursday.
Link to Ein Hemed website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/en-hemed-national-park/
7. Church of Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant- The Church of Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant, is located on the summit of a mountain in Abu Gosh Village, and is best known for its statue on the roof, of the Madonna and Child standing on the Ark of the Covenant.
The site was identified in the Byzantine period with the Old City of Kiryat, to which the Ark of the Covenant, from Beit Shemesh, was brought after the captivity of the Philistines was released as it written in the bible 1 Samuel 6:21: "Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your town.”.
This story sanctified the place for Christians, and in the Byzantine period a church was established on the mound, but it was destroyed when the land was conquered by the Persians in 614. In the middle of the 7th century, the church was rebuilt, but small and modest than its predecessor, it was finally destroyed in the early 11th century and its existence was forgotten.
In 1141, the area on which Abu Ghosh village is now, occupied by the Hospitaller (One of the Crusaders Orders). They erected another church, about 400 meters east of Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant. This church, now known as the Crusader Church in the Benedictine Abbey in Abu Ghosh.
The modern church currently standing on the mound was founded by Sister Josephine Rumb, in 1903, a member of the Order of Sisters of St. Joseph of Revelation. On 17 May 1911 consecrated the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the cornerstone of the monastery, and the construction of the monastery and the recovery began. The convent was completed within a year, but the sanatorium was completed only in 1935 due to funding difficulties.
8. The Benedictine Monastery in Abu Gosh- The Benedictine Monastery in Abu Gosh is best known for "St. Mary of the Resurrection". It was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century. The church was erected above a spring that springs up to date in its crypt, and later a monastery was established there, which operated until the end of the 15th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Benedictine settlement was rebuilt, the church renovated and the convent erected.
In 1141, the area passed to the Hospitallers, who established the Crusader church in the monastery. They used it until their defeat to Saladin in 1187. It is customary that in or after 1392 the Christian settlement was renewed on the site, and the Franciscans established a monastery around the church. The Christian presence at the site ceased in the late 15th century.
For centuries, the church has been described by European travelers as a solid, though neglected, monumental structure, sometimes desecrated and used as a stove or salt store. Following the efforts of Count Charles de Vogue, ambassador of France in Istanbul, gave Sultan Abdul-Aziz the church to the French government on 19 February 1873. Five acres of land were transferred to the French, which bought additional land from the villagers, who joined 22.5 acres in total.
In the late 19th century, French priest Adolphe Moreau arrived in the country, and after his return to France began to work for the church to grant the Benedictine Pierre qui Vire monastery in his hometown.
Today, Father Olivier, is hosting visitors from all over the world.
Father Olivier, he is one of the most charming person I ever met. In the attached link. you can see part of the time he hosted several of my tourists: https://youtu.be/3NcHXuXeehE
Link to the Monastery website is: https://abbaye-abugosh.info/en/home
9. A monument to the victims of the Twin Towers disaster- The monument to the victims of the Twin Towers disaster is a monument located on a hill in Cedar Valley near the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem. The monument was created by the Eliezer Wieshof sculpture.
The monument was erected by the Israel Existing Fund with an investment of NIS 10 million. Inside a large circle stands a large sculpture of metal. The lower part of the monument looks like a course wall and has 50 stars as a number of US states and the top one in the shape of the United States flag waving El Al. The monument is 9 meters high and at its base is a metal block taken from the skeleton of the Twin Towers ruins and transferred to Israel by the New York City Municipality for incorporation into the statue. On the edges of the circle are metal plates bearing the names of the 2,980 victims, including five Israelis.
The memorial ceremony was inaugurated on November 12, 2009 at a ceremony attended by Ehud Olmert, who was among the initiators of the memorial, as mayor of Jerusalem, United States Ambassador James Cunningham, Chairman of the JNF Board of Directors, Effie Stenzler, representatives of bereaved families and others.
10. Nebi Samuel Park- Nebi Samuel Park is a fascinating combination of antiquities, agricultural terraced landscapes, mountain spring, and orchards. At the heart of the site is a large building from the Crusader period, containing the tomb of the prophet Samuel.
The main question that should be asked is: Is it the real location of the Grave (The building today is a Mark of the grave, and was built by the Muslims)?
To tell you frankly? there is no definitive answer. why?
During excavation that had been done there, we found several remains which support the assumption that this is the place:
10.1. A burial cave from the 1st Temple Time, was found near by- a proof that this area was used as a Cemetery.
10.2. Hannah’s spring: The route of an ancient road goes down to an orchard of strawberry, olive and fig trees. The orchard is alongside a small spring, rising from a cave. In the rocks above the cave, the entrances to First Temple period burial caves were found.
and why to doubt?
10.3. We know that Samuel was Buried in Rama- the town he was born. The problem is that he was from Ephraim tribe, but, this place located in Benjamin tribe's territory.
More about it (Yes or No) we will learn while visit there.
Anyhow it a lovely site, with one of the most beautiful observations in Jerusalem area. I love to read there, from the bible, and to show you all the places which are describe in the Bible.
In the site, there is an altar that historians think that this is the “high place of Gibeon”. The Bible tells that King Solomon went to the high place of Gibeon to make an offering: “And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place” (I Kings 3:3).
Very Special Place! Link to Nebi Samuel Park website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/nebi-samuel-park/
11. Beit Jamal- Beit Jamal is a Catholic village and convent of the Italian Silesian Congregation. Today there is only a monastery there. In the monastery you can find there only three buildings: a monastery for women, St. Stephen's Church and a monastery for men.
The name means in Arabic is "a beauty" and is attributable to view the beautiful views from the site. According to Christian tradition, the place was formerly called the village of Gamla (village of Gamliel), after the old rabbi Gamliel who was the president of the Sanhedrin, secretly converted to Christianity, and was buried there, and a local address from the fifth century AD, records his burial. According to Jewish tradition, Rabban Gamliel 's estate was in Gamla, but he was buried in Yavne (Coastal Plain).
In the fifth century, a priest named Lucianus dreamed that the bones of St. Stephen were in the house of Jamal. Miraculously, bones were indeed found in the area, so a Byzantine church was built there. The ancient church was destroyed in the Persian conquest of Palestine in 614. Stephen was the first Christian martyr was stoned to death on the walls of Jerusalem because of his faith. Christians believe that Elder Gamliel supported Stephen during his trial that he believed in his path and that allowed Stephen's burial in this inheritance.
In 1917, the remains of a fifth-century Byzantine church were discovered in the courtyard of a house in Beit Jamal. Among the finds were church foundations, mosaic remains and Greek inscription. Also in the excavations, which lasted until 1922, a small semi- oval cave was discovered with three tombs: a tomb attributed to Rabban Gamliel, a tomb attributed to his son Avivus (Habib) and another tomb attributed to St. Stephen. According to the cross that appears in the mosaic on the uncovered church floor, it is very likely that the mosaic was created before 427, the year in which the Emperor banned the drawing of crosses on the floor or where it was trampled.
In the name of Stefanos, a new church was built in the monastery yard, on the Byzantine remains, in 1932. The mosaic remains found on the church site were moved to a wall outside the church of Stefanos and the remains of the Greek inscription were left in place on the church floor.
The Monastery of Women is the main building of the monastery. It was founded in 1873 by Italian Pastor Father Antonio Belloni, a member of the Latin Patriarchate. The land was already purchased in 1869 with funding from British Catholic Marquis Lord de Bot and other European donors. In 1878, the building began to serve as an agricultural school and poor orphaned boarding school. In 1891, Father Antonio Baloney joined the Celestial Order and transferred ownership of the monastery to that order. In 1969 - 1981 the building served as an elementary school and junior high school students-disabled.
12. Tel Azekah- Tel (mound) Azekah was an ancient city at the heart of the Judean lowlands. The upper mound is located 347 m above sea level, 117 m above the Nahal Creek channel, and covers an area of 45 dunams. Azekah controls the strategic intersection of the road leading from the Philistine winepress, through the Ela Valley to the Judean Mountains to the east with the road linking Beit Shemesh in the north to Lachish in the south. Excavations at the site revealed mainly remains of the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age 2, fort, towers, seals for the king, And other findings. In addition, hiding caves from the Bar-Kochba revolt were discovered on the site.
Azekah appears five times in the bible: Joshua 10:10, 1 Samuel 17:1, 2 Chronicles 11:9, Jeremiah 34:7, Nehemiah 11:30. I believe that this is enough to convince you, how important this place was in the biblical period.
From that place, there is a beautiful observation on Ela Valley, where the battle between David and Goliath took place. You actually see where King Saul forces gathered from one side of the valley, and where the Philistines gathered on the other side of the valley, as it describes in the bible: "Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them." (1 Samuel 17:1-3). Really a site worth to visit!
Link to Azekah website: https://azekah.org/
13. Beit Guvrin and Maresha National Park- Beit Guvrin and Maresha National Park, is at the very heart of the “Land of a Thousand Caves”.
This site was declared as World Heritage Site by the Heritage Committee and World of UNESCO, thanks to the special importance to the common heritage of humanity.
The site actually is divided to three parts:
13.1. The Limestone caves of Beit Guvrin- The settlement of Beit Guvrin is located near Marsha, and its history is evidenced by both historical documents and archaeological finds. Over the years, the area was ruled by the Romans and Byzantines, Jews, Muslims and Crusaders- who built a fortress. Each of these periods left her remains. During the Mishnah and Talmud period there was a large Jewish community, which brought out many conditions and emoras. The most known sites in Beit Guvrin are the Bell caves. these are centuries-old artificial quarries discovered in the Judean lowlands, and resembling a bell figure. So far, about 800 bell caves, concentrated in groups, are known, the largest group of which, has about 200 caves.
13.2. Maresha- Maresha is mentioned in the list of the cities of Judah in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 15: 4). After the Babylonian exile many peoples sat in Marsha - Edomite's, Sidonia's, and in the Hellenistic period even Greek speakers sat there. Johanan Hyrcanus conquered the city in 112 BC, its inhabitants converted to Judaism, and traditionally is the origin of King Herod's family before convert to Judaism. The Maresha Caves, are part of the ancient city. Among them the impressive cisterns, olive presses, columbarium caves, and burial caves of the Phoenicians who lived in the city, in which rare wall paintings have been restored.
12.3. The northern city complex, with significant remains from the Roman period (an impressive amphitheater, bath house, walls), and the remains of a Crusader fortress with a church, dining room, workshops, and underground vaults. This Theatre remains nearly exactly as it was in Roman period, and active for artist's performances even in this days.
Link to Beit Guvrin and Maresha National Park website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/bet-guvrin-national-park/