Exploring the grace of the holy places

The city and port of Ashdod, which translates into a fortress, have served as a crossroad between Egypt and Israel throughout its long history. Nowadays, the sandy beaches and enchanting dunes capture the travelers’ interest before leading them to Jaffa, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the capital, Tel Aviv.

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Ashdod is one of the most beautifully designed cities of Israel and fifth in population and has always been considered a strategic site. The sandy coastline is overlooked by Yona’s Hill and jeweled by a beautifully preserved citadel, Metzuda. A few ruins remain from this ancient city but because it was covered over with sand for centuries it remains beautifully preserved. Another interesting spot to visit is the Museum of Philistine Culture. It opened its doors 20 years ago and it displays several important artifacts from the history of the Philistines, the first residents of the area. 

 


Jaffa was once called the “Bride of the Sea”, a 4,000-year-old city that its beauty and history surpasses the imagination. The old port has been renovated and now is a hub of boutiques, bistros, and down-to-earth charm with traditional fishermen still tending to their nets. The newly developed seaside promenade walk includes a sandy beach, picnic areas, and outdoor workout equipment. To experience the real vibe of Jaffa you need to visit the Shuk Ha’Pishpishim, the old flea market where you can find Persian carpets, Israeli antiques, second-hand clothes, Italian and Israeli restaurants. This market is located in the old city of Jaffa through narrow streets and arches. Here it’s a great time to taste hummus since Jaffa claims to offer the best in the world!
 

On our way to Tel Aviv, we need to pay a visit to Jerusalem, the area where the most famous holy sites of Christianity are located. One of the most sacred places in Jerusalem is the garden of Gethsemane. The olive trees there are hundreds of years old and are believed to be the trees that accompanied Jesus the day he was arrested. Following the  Via Dolorosa, a street within the Old City of Jerusalem believed to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion, we are lead to the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony, as a reference to Jesus' night of Passion there. The site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is identified as the place both of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. The church has long been a major pilgrimage center for Christians all around the world. Today, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of Jerusalem’s main landmarks and continues to draw many pilgrims and visitors. The path leads us to the Western Wall or Wailing Wall, a surviving remnant of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Thousands of people journey to the wall every year to visit and recite prayers. The town of Bethlehem, linked in our mind forever with Christmas, attracts vast numbers of tourists each year as the birthplace of Jesus, whom Christians believe to be the Messiah and Son of God. The Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest churches in the world, is the focus of Christian pilgrimage within the city.
 

Arriving in Tel Aviv you’ll be swept by the city’s vibe. The combination of modernity and deep-rooted tradition have melted to create a city unique in every aspect.

 

 

Strolling down the tree-lined Rothschild Boulevard will fill your eyes with great Bauhaus architecture and charming cafes in the morning that turn into bars at night. Another spot that locals love in Tel Aviv Hayarkon Park. Runners, cyclists, locals, and travelers alike enjoy this green patch in the heart of the city and mark the city’s unique personality. The Carmel Market is Tel Aviv’s largest and busiest market. This is not just another flea market; the Carmel Market is the heartbeat of Tel Aviv. You don’t have to come to shop. Instead, jostle past the colorful stalls and take in the smells and sights. With dozens of stalls selling fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and the likes, you can take in all the sights, sounds and smells the Carmel Market has to offer while hunting for the cheapest bargain.