Israel is a Middle Eastern country situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The land of Israel is endowed with astounding geographic and cultural diversity. The holy land, a melting pot of culture and religion, has become an epicenter of new tourism. Over three million tourists visited Israel last year with over forty thousand from India alone. Here are some reasons why Israel is on top of our travel bucket list.
Revered City of Jerusalem
With 7000 years of history, Jerusalem is revered as sacred to three prominent religions of the world Judaism, Christianity and Islam for more than thousands of years. The charm and spirit of the holy city can be experienced in labyrinthine alleys and historical attractions of Jerusalem Old City.
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The Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site where pilgrims visit to pray and tuck small pieces of paper with prayers into the cracks.
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Trace the last steps of Jesus Christ as he was led to his crucifixion through the route that marks 14 events on Christ’s last walk.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is believed to be the Hill of Calvary where according to the New Testament; Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
David’s Citadel built in the second century BC is today home to a fascinating museum providing insight into the history of Jerusalem. The ramparts offer an impressive panorama of the city of Jerusalem.
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Down south explore the rigid barren terrain of Negev Desert. In winter, the terrain turns haven for vibrant hues of red anemone, the national flower of Israel. The luminous landscape cradles some of the incredible natural wonders of Makhtesh Ramon and the Dead Sea.
Experience an incredible geographical phenomenon at Makhtesh Ramon. The crater is created by erosion and not by any meteor or volcanic impact. The golden landscape is home to a variety of age-old rock formations, clay hills, fossils, and wildlife.
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The fascinating and the intriguing Dead Sea entice enthusiasts to experience the weightless feeling which makes floating on sea effortless. One of the Seven Wonders of the World is also considered as the world’s first health resorts from times of Herod the Great. The immense wealth of minerals of water and soil of the Dead Sea combined with the enriched atmosphere helps relieve ailments. It is interesting to know that the asphalt from the sea is used in Egyptian mummification.
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There is no dearth of accommodation, restaurants, and myriad recreational activities around the Dead Sea.
Vibrant Nightlife of Tel Aviv and Little port town of Jaffa
Once you have soaked up yourself in the history and nature of the wonderful country, head to Tel Aviv. Israel’s commercial center is often called “the city that never sleeps” is vibrant with entertainment, festivals, and an active nightlife.
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The golden sandy Mediterranean beaches of Tel Aviv are ideal for lazing and taking in the warm sunshine. There are also an array of sports activities for adventurists. Stroll through the city and explore architectural masterpieces, museums galleries and lovely boutiques. This vibrant city of Tel Aviv is renowned for its cuisine and restaurants from authentic street food to fine dining experiences.
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The lively little port town of Jaffa bathed in honey is in contrast with its buzzing Tel Aviv neighborhood. The town with calm and laid back narrow lanes winding through the ancient buildings will walk you back in time.
Nazareth nestled in the beautiful valleys of the lower Galilee is a 2000-year-old city. The rich historical and spiritual significance beckons pilgrims wishing to see the place where Jesus Christ spent the first 30 years of his life. The Church of the Annunciation was built in 1969 on the remains of the churches from Byzantine and Crusader era. The church houses a grotto, which is believed to the traditional site where Joseph and Mary’s lived.
Around 40 km from Nazareth is the bustling port town of Haifa. The popular attraction is the Baha’i Gardens with imposing golden dome of the Baha’i Shrine and well-manicured gardens.
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The Mount Carmel is one of Israel’s largest national parks with over 10,000 hectares available for hiking and other outdoor activities.
The Galilee in the north is brimming with an abundance of lush green hills and the shimmering stretch of sandy coast.
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Israel’s largest freshwater lake Sea of Galilee has its shores dotted with many sites of biblical interest, prominent is the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount”. A 40-mile hiking trail for pilgrims called the “Jesus Trail” is a network of paths linking sites of religious importance to Christians.
The culinary delight in Israel will spoil you for the choices of a varied range of restaurants and street food making it a foodie’s paradise. Israel offers traditional as well as the cuisines adopted from more than 100 countries owing to the presence of multi-culture.
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Falafels the spiced up balls of chickpeas and/or fava beans are considered as the king of Israeli food. The Hummus, a dip made from crushed chickpeas flavored with different sauces and oils is high in nutrition. And Pita the “national bread” of Israel to go with the above delicacies. While desserts include an assortment of Pastries, puddings, and crepes.
Do you agree these reasons are enough to entice anyone to make a visit to the fascinating land of Israel? Is there something interesting which we are missing? Do let us know in comments.
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