Sites to visit out of Jerusalem

If you’re in Israel and are keen to do a bit of exploring, here’s some interesting sites to visit.

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is is the lowest point on earth, at 431 m below sea level. Evaporation has meant there’s less water and a higher concentration of minerals, in particular 34% salt as well as magnesium and iodine. The Dead Sea has 10 times that of the ocean. This means it can heal any cuts and scrapes too!You can visit the Dead Sea as part of tours usually. Make sure you take a towel, flip flops, swimming costume and water bottle. We went to the Dead Sea at Kaila Beach. Plenty of overpriced shops, lockers and showers. Head down to the sea and hop in for a float. You can also lather yourself in the nutrient rich mud. Tips – don’t wear jewellery or shave your legs 3 days prior!

Masada

Masada is an ancient site that became a fortress for the Jews where they sought refuge from the Romans. Here, in 73 BC they committed suicide, rather than submitting to the Romans. There’s remains of the snake path, siege ramp, fortress and King Herod’s palace. The site is picturesque and overlooks the desert and the Dead Sea in the distance. You’ll need a tour to go here and can do a steep walk up or catch a cable car. Don’t book on a raining day because the road often gets closed for flash floods.

En Gedi

An oasis in the desert rich in flora and fauna, it is a national park and nature reserve with many species. Streams, waterfalls and hiking trails.

Bet She’an

This site is of the ancient city of Bet She’an Scythoplois and the Tel Bet She’an in Northern Israel. It has been excavated since the 1920’s and you will see some amazing archaeological remains covering a huge history. These settlements have revealed occupation since the Chalcolithic period / 5th millenium BCE, then Egyptian rule in the Late Canaanite period. It was later taken by King David and destroyed by Assyrians in 732 BCE.

The site has been mentioned in the Bible where Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls.

The site later saw Hellenistic influence and also conquest was made by Rome in 63 BCE where the city flourished. Hence the site has significant history and therefore a range of cultural influences can be seen.

As a tourist, there’s plenty to see including remains of a theatre, bathhouses, latrines, a forum, temples and more from Roman times and also an elevated mound with Canaanite and Egyptian remains.

The site has a gift shop and bathrooms as well as plenty of parking. It is recommended to be there on a tour so you can get good explanations. It is a really well preserved site and super interesting to see.

Megiddo

Megiddo is an archaeological site (and UNESCO listed) to visit and there’s impressive remains (26 layers of occupation) to be seen, such as water shafts, stables and remains of palaces and fortifications.

An amazing amount of remains to be seen of a site that was occupied in the Bronze and Iron Age.

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On site there’s bathrooms and a small gift shop, as well as plenty of parking. We’d recommend a tour here and it takes approximately 2 hours with a 27 shekel entrance fee + guide

 Jericho

The place where Joshua’s trumpets brought down the walls, Jesus was tempted by the devil and baptised by John the Baptist

Qumran

Another place you’d probably only visit on a tour, given its location. It is known for it is the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in some caves in the Judean Desert. You can visit the archaeological site here.

Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity is here. Be sure to look at travel sites to determine whether it is safe to visit.

Hope you enjoy your travels in Israel

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