Highway 1, the main road connecting Tel Aviv to the Jordan Valley, has been trodden for thousands of years. Highway 1 that we know today was built upon an ancient Roman cobblestone road that connected Jaffa to Jerusalem. Over the centuries, the road was modified multiple times; especially during the times of the Crusaders.
The Crusaders built a fort along the road to protect travelers from highway robbers, some of which we can still see today, such as Castel National Park. The Ottoman Empire also added to the road by way of guard posts and hostels. It wasn’t until the establishment of Tel Aviv that the road truly began to flourish. Not only were goods transported along this road, but pilgrims and travelers used it as the primary way to cross the land. Under British rule, the road was transformed yet again to suit its military needs, but it wasn’t until decades later after Israel claimed independence, did the road become what we know and love today!
Highway 1 Is A Highway Since Antiquity
By taking a road trip along Highway 1; you will follow the path of many before you. Millions of people have walked; ridden animals; or driven cars along this road before you; and many more will come after. In reality, it would take less than two hours to drive the length of this road; but with so much to see along the way, it makes for an excellent one- or two-day road trip. The route begins north of Kibbutz Galuyot, which leaves behind Ayalon Highway. You will pass by Ariel Sharon Park, one of the biggest environmental rehabilitation projects in the world! If you would like to take a quick detour, you can take Route 3 to visit the Yad LaShiryon, the Armored Corps Memorial and Museum that commemorates the fallen soldiers of the Israeli wars.
Returning to Highway 1, you will cross Israel’s longest bridge before beginning your ascent from the lowlands into the Judean Hills; past the Castel National Park; and on to Jerusalem. Within Jerusalem, the road will split at Har HaMenuchot, the largest cemetery in Jerusalem; before continuing to the Valley of Cedars. You will pass by multiple famous neighborhoods before turning east towards the Jordan Valley. Highway 1 will intersect with Allon Road and the famous Khan Al-Ahmar, but before you continue into the Jordan Valley; there is a scenic overlook where you must stop to take photos before descending below sea level. The top highlights in the last stretch of road include Nabi Musa, where Moses is thought to be buried, and Beit HaArava. Highway 1 will end at a junction with Highway 90, another superb road for road trips!