The problem is that many of the sites are not impressive in themselves.
The Wailing Wall is just a wall, and in Europe there are a thousand churches that are more impressive than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Without understanding what you’re looking at, you will get a lot less out of your trip.
If you want to enjoy Israel you need to know its history.
As a professional Israeli tour guide who has been to these places hundreds of times, I keep on testing new routes, trying out different sites and improving my guiding, based on the feedback of travelers.
I have written about three of the most popular day trips you can take in Israel:
# Tel Aviv
# The Judaean Desert (Masada and the Dead Sea).
Each booklet will lead you step by step through the most interesting sites with in-depth explanations, maps, photos and graphics, which will allow you to understand and enjoy the stories Israel has to offer.
So whether you’re an independent traveler planning a trip to Israel or just someone who wants to know more about the historical sites of Israel, then my booklets are perfect for you.
More in-depth information:
In the Jerusalem booklet, the motto is less is more.
Instead of writing a small amount about the dozens of churches and synagogues (there are more than fifty in the Old City alone), I decided to only write about the most interesting and important sites on the Mount of Olives and in the Old City:
- The Chapel of Ascension – the holiest site for Christians on the Mount of Olives.
- Dominus Flevit – where Jesus saw the temple, predicted its destruction and cried over it.
- Gethsemane – where Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion.
- The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives – one of the most important and ancient Jewish cemeteries in the world.
- Via Dolorosa – the route that Jesus took from where he was judged by Pontius Pilate to where he was crucified.
- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
- The Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount.
I’ve also included information about less well-known sites, such as a 2,000-year-old underground pool and the Syriac Chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Tel Aviv – Jaffa booklet
Tel Aviv doesn’t boast sites having world significance like Jerusalem does (no other city does) but Tel Aviv has its own fascinating history to offer.
The booklet will lead you through the following sites:
- Summit Garden in Jaffa – a site that overlooks Tel Aviv, a city that emerged out of the sand a hundred years ago to become a major city.
- St. Peter’s Church – although Jaffa doesn’t have the importance of Jerusalem or Nazareth, its church commemorates the beginning of the separation of Christianity from Judaism.
- The port of Jaffa – although not particularly impressive, the port was the gateway to Israel. For generations of pilgrims and pioneers, it was their first glimpse of the country, and the point at which their dreams of the Holy Land met reality.
- The police building (now a boutique hotel) – Adolf Eichmann was held here after being brought to Israel for a trial that shook Israeli society.
- The American colony – three narrow streets that tell the story of the groups of Americans who attempted to settle in Jaffa. All of them failed miserably, but three of America’s most prominent writers – Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Mark Twain and John Steinbeck – had some connection to these settlements.
- Neve Tzedek – the first Jewish neighborhood to lie outside the old city walls of Jaffa.
- Rabin Square – the main city square.
- Sarona – the newly renovated German colony.
Judaean Desert booklet
The Judaean Desert booklet takes you to the three most-visited sites in the Judaean Desert: Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea.
Masada is the scene of two dramatic stories: that of King Herod, a persecuted persecutor king who built himself a palace in the middle of the desert, and that of the rebels, who 70 years later used the palace as their last fortress.
Another story that my booklet reveals has nothing to do with ancient history, but rather with the story we tell ourselves. Masada is not just an archeological site; it was also built as a national symbol that has its own story.
For competent hikers, I’ve included a description of an unknown trail that surrounds Masada. It can be combined, in its entirety or not, with a visit to the top of Masada.
Ein Gedi offers a variety of walking routes, and you can visit the main sites included in the booklet: the ancient synagogue with its mosaic floor, on which it is written that cursed will be the man who tells the town secret; the Chalcolithic Temple, and the flora and fauna of Ein Gedi.
I really want to change and improve the way travelers experience Israel, to build something I myself would appreciate if I were to come to Israel as a foreign traveler.
I think it’s starting to happen, but there is still a long way to go. There is so much more information I want to share about the sites, history and culture of Israel. By purchasing my booklets, you will be allowing me to do just that.