Israel is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, renowned for its ancient religious sites, endless spans of beaches and stellar cuisine. The country blends the old with the new and offers visitors a glimpse into a new world of cultural wonders. From urban landscapes to natural wonders, there are countless spots that you can visit. However, if you identify more with being an explorer rather than a tourist, there’s no shortage of activities to try and landmarks to see. You might have to do a bit more digging around to discover them and immerse yourself in the culture in a whole new way, but many experiences are waiting for you.
Related Read: Israel Packing List
No, this isn’t about discovering obscure restaurants and bars but rather about the tunnels underneath Jerusalem, remnants of the ancient Jewish city dating back thousands of years ago. Jerusalem is a place boasting historical richness, and its landmarks are second-to-none. From the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Via Dolorosa Street, the Temple Mount and the Bethesda, there’s always something more you can visit. In fact, you’ll definitely feel the need to take several trips to Jerusalem to uncover as many of its mysteries as you can.
But away from the scorching sun lies what remains of the age-old city. The Western Wall Tunnels are one of the most significant parts of the old town, dating back to the days of the Second Temple, roughly 2,000 years ago. Visiting this incredible landmark provides you with a unique opportunity to discover the complete history of the Western Wall and uncover one of the cornerstones of the foundation of the Jewish nation. And don’t worry about having nothing to see except a tunnel stretching on indefinitely. There are plenty of exquisite archaeological findings, including an aqueduct, stone arches and water pits, and countless unique Western Wall stones.
Zedekiah’s Cave, also known as Solomon’s Quarry, is another sight to behold beneath the streets of Jerusalem. This five-acre limestone cave covers the approximate length of five city blocks underneath the Muslim Quarter. The entrance is located between Herod’s Gate and Damascus Gate. Archaeological examinations in the era uncovered fragments and potsherds dating back to the Roman and Byzantine periods, suggesting that the caves have been used for an extended time.
Reaching out to Israel Connection before you set out on your journey will help you discover the best spots to visit customized to meet your needs as a customer. The company is committed to learning and continuous improvement and is always ready to work directly with you, the customer, to ensure you benefit from the best possible experiences.
If you prefer smaller towns over large cities, you must go to Lakiya. A Bedouin town located in Israel’s Southern District, it has a population of a little over 15,000. The city is well-known for the importance of embroidery and weaving as both a social outlet and a creative endeavor. In 1991, an initiative was founded that aims to continue the passing down of the traditional Bedouin heritage from mother to daughter through the preservation of the traditional weaving skills native to the ethnic group. The women are involved in all stages of production, from the wool treatment to weaving and then selling the finished product. The aim is to create a thriving cooperative business which can see traditionally-woven products appear on the shelves of all major Israeli retailers. The interest in traditional Bedouin ground looms has also increased nationwide.
Bell Ofri Tourist Farm
Located in Golan Heights, in the village of Kidmat Tzvi, the Bell Ofri Tourist Farm offers a warm welcome for all visitors stopping by to have a look. The farm uses ancient agricultural methods, including threshing with traditional tools, using ancient-style oil and wine presses, and cooking all foods in a clay oven using wood as fuel. Injured animals are brought in for rehabilitation, so if you’re an animal lover, you can enjoy their company.
Visiting the farm is, of course, an exclusive culinary experience. A fine example of traditional dishes using fresh, locally-grown and organic ingredients, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a wide array of jams, including mango, tomato, rose petal, grape, apple and plum preserves. Garlic confit, dried tomatoes and pesto can also be part of a simple yet nutritious meal. There’s nothing quite like laying out a generous portion of lemon spread on a slice of home-baked bread spiced with basil leaves. Add a glass of wine, such as Shiraz, Merlot or Syrah, to give it an extra kick.
Since the town has a population of only 537, you’ll get to interact with the locals much more than you would in a big city. For this reason, it can be helpful to learn some Hebrew from scratch and discover some of the most commonly used words or phrases that can help you blend in with the community of Kidmat Tzvi. The local people will be glad to see you’re making an effort to communicate in their native language, and the simple study of it is an enriching cultural activity owing to the unquestionable impact of Hebrew throughout the centuries from a cultural and religious standpoint.
Tel Gezer is an archaeological site and Israeli National Park located close to the Judaean Mountains. During the 2nd millennium BCE, it became a fortified Canaanite city-state. Later, however, it was destroyed in a fire and had to be rebuilt. The location of the ancient city made it a place of strategic importance, as it was located at the crossroads of an ancient trade route linking Mesopotamia, Jerusalem, Anatolia, Syria and Jericho.
There are over twenty-five layers of settlements in the area. However, the place isn’t well-known, so few tourists visit it. If you’re a lover of history and want to take your time to explore everything thoroughly, this is the place for you. The trail leading to Tel Gezer has recently undergone renovation, making the site even easier to explore.
To conclude, visiting Israel offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of exploring ancient wonders while maintaining all the comfort of the modern world. No matter where you go, there’s something to see and do, and you’ll leave Israel with your heart and mind full of the beauty of its culture and history.