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Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 17 : 47 PM [IST]

Israel Waiting to be Explored

The 6th Israel Where Else convention which took place in December 2016 saw good participation from leading tour operators from across the world, with many first-time visitors. The Convention gave an opportunity to showcase Israel as a unique destination. Besides its Biblical history, Israel has many beautiful ancient port cities, and offers breathtaking panoramic views. Israel is a blend of new and the old. Everywhere in Israel, one is greeted with ‘shalom’ which means peace.
Sunil Dcosta

Haifa Port City
Haifa is located in the North of Israel and is the main port city of Israel and is within easy access from Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv, and its unique charm attracts tourists and locals across all ages. It is definitely a smart choice for a day trip.

The magnificent Bahai Gardens and the German Colony established in the early 1900s is a part of Haifa. This area also has many shops and stylish coffee houses to explore and enjoy.

If it’s not a night and still time for dinner, take a romantic walk on the amazing beach of Haifa and watch the sun set on the glittering waters or let the kids have some fun building sand castles and breathe that healthy sea air.

Akko City
A visit to Akko is an exciting journey into the glorious past and a unique experience. In 2001, Akko City was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many nations and religious movements have left their mark on Akko: Canannites, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine Empire, Crusaders, Turks and British. Only in the City of Akko you will discover a perfectly preserved Crusader city. The walls of the city, its castles and fortifications, churches and mosques, temples and other buildings recite the stories of its many rulers, warriors, builders and glorifiers.

Beneath the present day city a complete crusader city was uncovered – a city that was buried more than 450 years – the underground city. For years, the old city had served as a crossroads for the pilgrims and trade. Right here the Great general Napolean Bonaparte failed to conquer the old city. Akko city had a strategic military value.

Today, the Akko is only conquered by the tourists who come to enjoy and indulge in its beauty of the bay and the sea breeze. The upper City has a vibrant marina and promenade offering wide various restaurants. From here less than an hour you can visit another historical site – Cassera and also visit sea of Galilee, Nazerath, rosh hanikra and Safed.

Timna Park
The Park combines stunning scenery, a fascinating historical story and enjoyable activities for the whole family. Copper mining began in Timna more than 6,000 years ago. Here, one will find the world’s oldest copper mine, which dates to the period when people first learned how to produce copper.

This is one of Israel’s very special sites where you’ll find a complete, precise and authentic model of the tabernacle that accompanied the children of Israel in the wilderness. There is also Timna Lake, built to create a permanent entering spot for animals and as an oasis where people can visit and relax.

Eilat is an oasis on the shores of the Red Sea, a crossroads between 4 countries and 3 continents. The city also boasts worldwide recognition as a venue for major conference and festivals.

Eilat offers spectacular natural landscapes, tropical crystal clear sea waters with thousands of species of fish and corals. Under water marine observatory hosts over 800 species including sharks, sea turtles, stingray and thousands of Marine fish. The highlight of the complex is the transparent, 15 meter tunnel.

Truly, Eilat is considered as Israel’s Vacation capital. Eilat has everything leisure, pleasure, sea, sand, diving, snorkling, fun, fashion, bird watching, night life, shopping (VAT free), cuisine, music and best of all - relaxing.

Dead Sea
Dead Sea is the lowest place in the world, located 400m below the sea level. It is unique tourism destination in the world with the largest natural health resort. Here, due to the world highest concentration of minerals, warm and dense water one can simply lie back and float. The world famous black mud is widely used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

The Dead Sea area is a perfect venue for conferences, seminars and corporate meetings. Luxury hotels located in the area includes more than 3,300 guest rooms. The Dead Sea is the ideal location for incentive tours - offers a unique combination of historical site, natural wonders, unique flora and fauna, rejuvenating spa treatments, a trip to Massada - which tells the story of the ancient times, Qumran and much more.

Massada is situated on the top of a mountain with steep sides overlooking the Dead Sea to the east and desert to the west. The fortress of Massada was built in the year 30 BCE by King Herod. Thereafter Occupied in the year 68 BCE by Jewish zealots . The 960 Jewish Zealots living at the top of Massada choose to commit suicide rather than to fall into the hands of the Romans alive.

The most impressive structure on Massada is King Herod’s northern palace, built on three rock terraces overlooking the gorge below. Near the palace is a large Roman style bath house with a colorful mosaic floor and walls decorated with murals. As soon as you descend from the gate of magnificient fortress Massada - one cannot help thinking the story of preseverance, power and a tragic end where battles were waged with rocks and flaming arrows as well as battles of the Human spirit.

Massada is extremely high, and can be ascended on foot by the winding “snake path” or by a cable car that runs from the tourist center at the feet of Massada to the top.

Caesarea is graced with magnificent modern homes, ancient Caesarea offers tourists the ruins of unique, wonders of the past. Caesarea was a port city and also once the capital of Israel. Herod one of the greatest builders of the ancient world, built a massive port there along side entertainment facilities, bathhouses , temples and a theater with a seating capacity of 3,500. Along side all the ruins are modern cafes, romantic corners and a sandy beach, and not far away is the ancient aqueduct that brought water to the ancient city of Caesarea.

Tel Aviv
Israel is also considered as the “startup-up nation” and is recognised as a major player in the fields of innovation, R&D and entrepreneurship.

At Tel Aviv, you can visit Innovation Centre built by taglit-Birthright in partnership with The Tel-Aviv stock exchange. Here you get to learn about new advancements Israeli start-ups are making in different fields, such as science, medicine, security, space and more. What was more interesting is knowing about production of water from Air.

The white city of Tel Aviv is the world’s largest collection of International or Bauhaus style buildings. It is designated one of the first modern UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world in 2003. Within the White City lies Rothschild Boulevard, one of the city’s first streets designed as a public space with a central garden with benches, a pathway, and kiosks.

While in Tel Aviv do not forget to see the vibrant night life. You can visit good restaurants , shopping and important , the Pubs are open till the wee hours in the morning.

The Sarona Market is all about ‘Culinary excellence’ and is considered as Tel Aviv latest culinary centre. It hosts around 40 eateries.

Qumran Cave
Qumran has multi-level structures, reservoirs, pottery kilns and houses have been excavated in this era. The Essenes Jewish sect settled here. The sect is thought to have eaten communal meals, studied sacred scriptures for most of the night, taken a daily ritual bath, practice celibacy and they had their own calendar. It is thought that around 200 people lived once here.

In 1947 local Bedouins discovered a clay jar containing 7 scrolls in a cave about 1.5km from Qumran. In all there were 12 caves where scrolls and fragments of parchment were found. The scrolls describe the tenants of the sect and their particular slant on Judaism.

When visiting you can see the first caves, aqueducts, cisterns, reservoirs. Tower, scriptorium, Kitchen, assembly hall, pantry, pottery workshop, Kiln and cattle pen.

Jaffa - World’s Oldest port
The history of Jaffa is a long one. Its situated on the coastline of Mediterranean sea. According to the biblical story, Jaffa is thought to have been the port from which Jonah left in the story of the Whale! The port continued to be important through history and served as the main entry point to the land of Israel through until the late 19th century when, jews from around the world began to return to Israel. It was through Jaffa that they entered the country and in Jaffa that many initially settled.

The Flea Market is a key site . There is a street which make up this city is lined with artists galleries and studios, as well as boutique and craft shops. The views from here across to modern Tel Aviv, especially at sunset are incredible. Meanwhile, the gardens next to sea are picturesque and it also holds interesting, the - “Wishing Bridge”, it is said that if you make a wish from your heart by placing your hand on the Zodiac sign, it comes true. In your visit to Israel , please visit this place and who knows, Your wish may just come true.

Jerusalem is the only city in the world where you can literally step into a time machine by just crossing a street, the hometown of prophets and kings and holy site to three religions whose believers make half of the world. You can see these holy sites revered by the Christians, Jews and Muslims in the morning and get back to the 21st century by evening to enjoy dining at gourmet restaurant

The Capital of Israel is also a largest city and home of the best museums, cultural institutions and restaurants.

When you are in Jerusalem , you must visit - The Israel Museum, which is ranked among the world leading art and technology museum. Besides collection of far - ranging 500,000 objects at the Museum, you will find some impressive collections such as the Castle of the Pyrenees, The Great Isiah Scroll, Egyptian Mummies, Amazing work in stainless steel titled - Turning the world upside down created especially for the museum by Anish Kapoor and also an Indian Synagogue built in Cochin in the year 1539-44 which was transferred to Israel and rebuilt inside the Museum.

While in Jeruslem, do not forget to visit Mahane Yehuda market - A great place to see the vibrant colours of fresh fruits, vegetables and bring home some spices, dates and many more delicacies.

A Short walk from Mehane Yehuda market is a must visit at Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall and the Tram...just like Europe. Ben Yehuda street is the beating heart of centre - city life like shopping , sidewalk coffee, etc.

Makhtesh Ramon (Crater)
Makhtesh Ramon was formed from retrieving Ocean and is a geologist paradise with fossils, rock formations and volcanic and magnetic phenomenon dating back as much as 220 million years. It is possible to get a spectacular panoramic view of the crater.

Today, Mitspie Ramon is an important part of Desert Tourism. The southern part of the Town has plenty of hotels, hostels and campsites. It is the starting point of jeep , camel and bicycle tours.

There is so much more to discover about Israel but till now, I would like to say le’hitraot Israel, ani akhzor (Goodbye Israel , I will return).

India Trade Feedback
Jnanesh Upponi, CEO, FountainHead Journeys
Israel is one of the best destinations I have been to. The country has a lot to offer for every tourist, be it leisure or MICE. The people are extremely hospitable and our stay was very comfortable. Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv with its buzzing nightlife are options. Israel as a destination is worth visiting again to soak in the glorious history.

Pradeep Kumar Mukherjee, Director, Club7 Holidays
Israel has been an amazing experience. A destination not only for the religious minded, but also for people interested in nature, landscapes, history, sports, family activities, scientific developments with the best of infrastructure. It is a completely safe destination for tourism.

Neeshu Rajput, Assistant Manager – Leisure, Zenith Holidays
The trip to Israel was memorable. Israel has many exciting places to offer. It’s a perfect blend of the new and the old. After visiting Israel, one is sure to visit it again. Right from ancient cities to the modern Tel Aviv, every experience was thrilling.

Pallavi Bhat, Senior Manager - Trade Relations, SOTC
Israel is truly a beautiful country, steeped in history, modernism and culture with a European feel to it. Customers are increasingly opting for new destinations and experience-led holidays – and that is exactly what Israel stands to offer. Israel has diversity in store for every kind of holiday.

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