Dwarfed by the majority of almost all other countries on earth, Israel has overcome the impossible time and again to become what she is today. Packed within her borders are some of the most spectacular stories and breathtaking scenery.
And while many of these are well known, some stories are still waiting to be told, places waiting to be shown. Here are ten such stories and places.
1. Abu Gosh, The Jerusalem Mountains
The Western Wall, Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre hold their respective places in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. But time it right, and outside of the walls of the Israel's capital you can experience magical scenes, like the snowy rooftops of Abu Gosh's neighborhoods. Unfortunately, from the sky you cannot taste just how good the hummus is, and that is definitely worth the visit.
2. The Latrun Monastery, Latrun
Hidden between the trees on the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem live a commune of Trappist monks, sworn to silence. The building has stood in this spot since 1890, and has seen this land fought over by empires and nationalists, with many of the battles happening literally on their doorstep. Today they enjoy full religious freedom, and produce and sell wine from grapes grown next to the Abbey.
3. Mount Arbel, The Sea of Galilee
Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee is a tranquil experience in itself. Climb up Mount Arbel for sunrise, as long as the sky is mostly clear, you are promised an epic view of one of Israel's most iconic areas. And believe it or not, the Kinneret has its own infinity pool... well, sort of.
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4. Jaffa Port, Jaffa
A true antique in a modern world, Jaffa port is home to the stories of the Bible, tales of the Greek gods, and one unlucky fishing boat, hidden at the entrance to the Port. Today a relatively small fishing community lives and works alongside chef restaurants and museums, a true meeting point of the old and the new.
Explore the Jaffa Port from above.
5. The Jezreel Valley
The Valley was once the channel that connected the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. Today its rich soil the reason that a large part of Israel's agriculture thrives in this majestical and historical location. Get up for sunrise with your camera gear, drive into the valley to find any spot, and you will not be dissapointed.
Experience the sunrise in the Jezreel Valley.
6. Hadera Park, Hadera
Sharks. Yes, sharks. Hadera's Orot Rabin power plant is the winter spa for hundreds of Duskys who bask in the warm waters alongside curious swimmers. The real question is, would you dare get in the water with them?
Read more about the sharks in Hadera
7. The Ramon Crater
Israel's land of stars is the one of the only places where you can clearly see the milky way and the night sky in all its glory. The middle of the night in the middle of the Negev is the perfect time and place to lose your cell phone coverage, make a cup of strong black coffee, and just be 'there' with your camera, and other photography enthusiasts who love to chase stars.
Learn more about chasing stars in the Negev.
8. Sidna Ali Beach, Herzliya
A mosque on a beach is a unique site indeed, especially when it's in the center of a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. Dating back to 1481, today the mosque is an active place of worship and education after a period of being closed due to the friction between Jews and Arabs. It's also a reminder that, for the most part, Israel's civilian population lives in peace and tolerance.
9. The Yarkon Park, Tel Aviv
Secret? Ok, not really. The Yarkon Park is a bustling highway of traffic, with hundreds of thousands of citizens using its roads, walkways and waterways to commute everyday. The secret is to find the way to discover the park from a new perspective. Let's face it, when you're kayaking with the Tel Aviv skyline on your horizon, your day is off to a pretty good start.
Read the story of the kayakers in Tel Aviv.
10. Arsuf Kedem Beach
While many tourists and locals frequent the Tel Aviv Promenade, just 15 minutes north lies the pristine and quiet beach of Arsuf Kedem. And yes, here too lies a little known shipwreck, the Saar, with its own story to tell.
Discover the story of the Sa'ar shipwreck and Arsuf Kedem beach.
11. Habonim Beach
OK, its over 10, but this beach is a bonus location that cannot be missed. Along the coast, just north of Caesarea, lie the remains of the Netz, a small fishing boat caught off guard by a storm, and lost to the tide in 1970. What the fishermen lost, every visitor to the beach gained. Where else can you climb and explore the hill of a lost boat?
Discover how the Netz landed up on Habonim Beach.
These ten places are just the tip of the iceberg of what Israel has to offer, and more stories and photos are available on www.pointofview.blog to discover, read and even print for the walls of your home. Check back for more, and subscribe for updates that will be sent to your inbox (no spam, I promise!).
And if you have a location with a story, be in touch tell me about it!