What are Israel’s Top Sites everyone should visit? So as a private tour guide in Israel for the last decade or so I think I can answer that question! I guess it goes without saying that the number one destination that all tourists go to is Jerusalem; this is especially true if it’s their very first time to Israel.
Israel’s Top Sites: Old City Jerusalem
I guess it’s pretty obvious why Jerusalem is rated among Israel’s top sites to visit. But let me elaborate just in case your not entirely convinced. So Jerusalem is the holy for the three monotheistic religions: Judasim, Christianity, and Islam. The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981.
Israel’s Top Sites: Masada National Park
Another top site that you must visit in case you come to tour Israel and that’s of course Masada National Park! From all the national parks in Israel, Masada is the one I enjoy coming back to again and again! Built as a winter palace by Herod the Great it is located on the fringes of the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. Moreover, this is the place where the Jews fought against the Roman Tenth Legion during the Great Revolt.
The Dead Sea:
The Dead Sea is also one of Israel’s Top Sites. Officially it is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water ten times saltier than the ocean! The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great); and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products; from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. The salt concentration of the Dead Sea fluctuates around 31.5%. This is unusually high and results in that anyone can easily float in the Dead Sea because of natural buoyancy. In this respect, the Dead Sea is similar to the Great Salt Lake in Utah in the United States.
An unusual feature of the Dead Sea is its discharge of asphalt. From deep seeps, the Dead Sea constantly spits up small pebbles and blocks of the black substance. Asphalt-coated figurines and bitumen-coated Neolithic skulls from archaeological sites have been found. Egyptian mummification processes used asphalt imported from the Dead Sea region.
Furthermore, the Dead Sea area has become a location for health research and potential treatment for several reasons. The mineral content of the water; the low content of pollens and other allergens in the atmosphere; the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation, and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth each may have specific health effects. For example, persons experiencing reduced respiratory function from diseases such as cystic fibrosis seem to benefit from the increased atmospheric pressure.
Sea of Galilee
No doubt this region is Israel’s top sites. In the wintertime and during springtime the region looks like Europe! In the New Testament, much of the ministry of Jesus occurs on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. In fact, in those days; there was a continuous ribbon development of settlements and villages around the lake and plenty of trade and ferrying by boat. The Synoptic Gospels describe how Jesus recruited four of his apostles from the shores of the Kinneret: the fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew and the brothers’ John and James.
Also, one of Jesus’ famous teaching episodes; the Sermon on the Mount; is supposed to have been given on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water; calming the storm; the disciples and the miraculous catch of fish, and his feeding five thousand people (in Tabgha). In John’s Gospel, the sea provides the setting for Jesus’ third post-resurrection appearance to his disciples (John 21).