The 13 best places to visit in Israel

 

In the centre of the country to the west of Jerusalem is the Beit Guvrin Maresha National Park. It encompasses the Roman era town of Beit Guvrin and the ruins of Maresha, an important town of Judah during the time of the first temple. As well as the unearthed site of a Roman Byzantine ampitheatre, a Byzantine church, public baths and many mosaics the site is famous for it's set of nearly 800 bell shaped caves that were dug out during the early Arab period. The entire area of historical importance has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

13. Beit Guvrin Maresha National Park

 

In the Negev Desert in the south of the country are the ruins of the ancient Nabataean city of Avdat, named after the Nabataean King Obodas the 1st who was revered as a deity and buried at the site. Dating back to around the 3rd century BC, the acropolis of the city of Avdat has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12. Avdat

 

In the northern centre of the country is the city of Nazareth, the largest city and the capital of the northern district. Mentioned numerous times in the New Testament as the home of Jesus Christ it has become a major pilgrimage location for Christians with many shrines and monuments commemorating Biblical events. 

Pictured is the Basilica Of The Annunciation.

11. Nazareth

 

Built in 1891 in the city of Haifa in the north of Israel on the Mediterranean coast is the Shrine Of The Bab, where it is said to hold the remains of Bab, founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Nineteen garden terraces stretch 1 kilometre from the base of Mount Carmel to the large domed shrine that sits atop it, especially beautiful at night when the entire complex is illuminated. The Shrine Of The Bab is considered the second holiest place for people of the Bahá'í Faith and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10. Shrine Of The Báb

 

North west of Jerusalem on the Mediterranean Coast is the city of Tel Aviv, the most westernised city and party capital of the Middle East. A short walk down the beach from the new town gets visitors to the well preserved old city of Jaffa with it's ancient port that has been in use for thousands of years. Another major point of interest is what is known as the 'White City', the largest collection of Bauhaus or International style 1930's architecture anywhere in the world, proclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

9. Tel Aviv

 

In the far north west of the country on the Mediterranean Coast is the ancient city of Acre, one of the very rare natural harbours along the coast of Israel has helped it to be one of the oldest cities in the world, continuously inhabited since the Bronze Age some 4,000 years ago. This archaeological city influenced by ancient Greek, Roman, Judaean and Ottoman empires is awash with historical landmarks, the most notable of which are the city walls, the Al Jazzar Mosque and the Citadel of Acre. The entire Old City has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured is the Khan Al Umdan.

8. Acre

 

In the extreme south of the country on the thin strip of land between Jordan and Egypt is the Timna Valley Park, an area of arid desert notable for it's unusual sandstone formations that have been created over thousands of years of water and wind erosion.

7. Timna Valley

 

In the extreme north of country straddling the borders between Israel, Lebanon and Syria is a highly volatile area known as the Golan Heights, an ancient volcanic plateau with an average altitude of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level. Notable landmarks in the area include the Kursi ruins of a Byzantine Christian monastery, the Gamla Nature Reserve with the archaeological remains of the ancient Jewish city of the same name and the Nimrod Fortress, though nothing beats the natural landscape with it's steep mountains and deep valleys.

6. Golan Heights

 

In the north of the country at the southern end of the Golan Heights is the Sea Of Galilee, sitting 212 metres (695 ft) below sea level it is the lowest freshwater lake on the planet and the second lowest lake in the world after the Dead Sea. Primarily this large body of water is an attraction for Christian Pilgrims, as according to the New Testament the Sea Of Galilee is the location where Jesus walked on water and fed the 5,000.

5. Sea Of Galilee

 

In the east of the country in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea situated on top of an isolated rocky plateau are the remains of Mesada, an ancient fortress dating back to the 1st century BC. This open air archaeological site offers incredible views over the surrounding landscape, and with the remains of Herod The Great's palace fortification is has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Masada

 

In the Negev Desert in the south of the country is the 40 kilometre (25 mile) long, 2 - 10 kilometre (1.2 - 6.2 mile) wide 500 metre deep Makhtesh Ramon Crater, created by a receding ocean millions of years ago. This fantastic landscape of arid yellow and red rock makes for a most incredible sight, especially at it's edges with it's steep canyon walls seemingly disappearing as far as the eye can see.

3. Makhtesh Ramon

 

Lying within the Jordan Rift Valley, bordering Jordan to the east and Israel & Palestine to the west, sitting 430 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level the Dead Sea has the lowest land elevation on Earth and is the saltiest body of water in the world. Attracting visitors from across the globe, the Dead Sea is revered for it's therapeutic qualities and by those who simply wish to feel the unusual sensation of floating on it's surface.

2. Dead Sea

 

On the border of Israel and Palestine, claimed by both the Israeli's and the Palestinian's, one of the oldest cities in the world, sometimes referred to as the Eternal City, the City Of David or the Holy City, it is simply better known as Jerusalem. Destroyed at least twice, attacked, besieged, captured and recaptured over the centuries, the city has been a place of volatility for millennia. Traditionally split into Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim quarters, the old walled city of Jerusalem is a hot bed of religious history, religious symbolism and historical monuments at every turn. The entire old city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in danger.

With so much to do and see in this most historical shared world capital, check out the Must See Locations In Jerusalem...

1. Jerusalem

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