What is history? One of the best ways to learn about the history of a country is to actually go and see the country for yourself. Feel the air, experience the sights and touch the very same rock that people in ancient years have touched too.
Although you will definitely find historical sites in other European countries that may seem similar to those of Israel, there are none as monumental as the rich history that the land of Israel holds.
Travelling to the top Historical Sites in Israel you will feel yourself transported to way back when, to a time long bygone. A time when the world was a living, breathing Bible in the making.
It is also a nice idea for a vacation or anytime that you just want a therapeutic break- to plan a trip to an old place of history.
In fact, recently a new study has found that visiting historical sites, historic towns and archaeological remains, is actually good for your happiness and well being.
Tourists have described an extraordinary increase in self-esteem, as well as a stronger sense of belonging in their communities after visiting heritage.
So, without further ado we present you with the Top 10 Jewish Historical Sites in Israel.
1. Cave of the Patriarchs (Me’arat Hamachpelah)
Located in the old city of Hebron, the Cave of the Patriachs is one of the oldest buildings in the world. It is in this very cave that the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried.
It is also believed that this Cave is the gateway to the Garden of Eden, and so millions travel from all over the world to come pray at this holy site.
To get to the Cave you can take a bullet-proof bus from any major city in Israel.
Read more about the cave of the Patriarchs here.
Ancient palaces is what you’ll find up the long, narrow journey to Masada. Herod the Great built a large fortress for himself on the top of a mountain as a hiding place. And a great hiding place it was, as we know later when 960 Jewish people hid up there from the Roman enemy.
Recently, in the food storage rooms Herod built, archaeologists discovered a palm seed over 2,000 years old. They planted it, and it grew, giving off delicious dates that give us an exact replica of the dates they ate all the way back then.
The bus line 486 runs 5 times a day from Jerusalem to Masada Junction. Click here for their Website.
3. The Kotel
The Kotel is also known as the Wailing Wall which is easy to imagine as over 1 million hand written notes, containing written prayers or wishes, are placed in between the cracks of the sacred Wall. The notes are usually accompanied by prayer and crying (read: wailing) and beseeching God for anything that you need. It is said in the Talmud that the very Gate of Heaven is situated right there and it is open to hear prayer.
The Wall is the remains of the Second Temple. It is the only wall that the Romans were unable to destroy.
To visit the Kotel, and for more info click here.
4. Ein Gedi
Ein Gedi is an oasis and nature reserve. A calming forest where you can hike and see ancient trees, greenery and amazingly beautiful waterfalls.
We know Ein Gedi to be one of the places that King David was fleeing from King Saul, who ended up finding him there. It is an amazing experience to be in the exact place that King David was hiding, and it is fascinating to see the story from the Navi come to life.
To visit Ein Gedi and for more info click here.
5. City of David/ Hezkiah’s Tunnel
The City of David is where King David reigned and build his palace. Today when visiting you will see the fascinating archaeological park, the remains of the buildings that were once there.
Hezkiahs Tunnel is an ancient tunnel underneath the City of David in Jerusalem. The tunnel is filled with water as high as waist deep. It was built and prepared as a water source in the event of a siege by the Assyrians.
Today you can visit and take a three hour tour of the Tunnel. Be sure to wear water shoes and bring a flashlight. Yes, it gets quite dark down below.
For more info or to book a tour click here.
6. The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, or Yam Hamelech, is a salt lake. With the water being 9 times saltier than the ocean, at the Dead Sea you actually float instead of swim.
It is called the ‘Dead’ Sea because there is no aquatic life there, being that the salinity creates an unbefitting environment for plants and animals.
For more info on the Dead Sea click here.
7. Hasmonean Synagogue of Modiin
The Hasmonean Synongue is the oldest synongue in Israel, located between Modiin and Latrun. It has three ancient rooms and a nearby Mikva.
Modi’in is also the famous town, the Mishna tells us, that the Maccabees of Hanukkah lived.
To visit the Hasmonean Synogogue or for more info, click here.
8. The Siloam Pool
In 2004 they discovered the Siloam Pool, a small pool built in the time of the Second Temple. Located in Jerusalem’s old city, the Pool is a nice place to visit surrounded by old cobblestone steps.
For more info or to visit click here.
9. Tomb of Abshalom
Also known as Yad Avshalom, the famous archaic pillar is the tomb of Abshalom.
We know it to be Absalom’s shrine based on what it says in the Book of Samuel, “Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king’s dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the Monument after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom’s Monument.”
It is located in Kidron Valley, Jerusalem.
10. Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel)
Unlike the other Matriachs, Rachel wasn’t buried in Me’arat Hamachpelah, but instead she was buried on the roadside. This was because Jacob foresaw that in future times Jewish people would be travelling and he wanted them to stop and pray by her tomb.
And that was the case. In fact, until today people flock to her burial place to pray and the holiness felt there is palpable.
Rachel’s Tomb is located in Bethlehem. It is a short ride from Jerusalem on a bullet-proof bus.
For more info or to visit Rachel’s Tomb click here.
You ready to visit? Book Israels very own airline El Al, and make your way over to the Holy Land.