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Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City
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Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City

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The Hurva Synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City. The synagogue was built in the 18th century, and has gone through many upheavals: It was destroyed by Muslims, rebuilt in the 19th century, destroyed again, and in 1948 – after the Old City was occupied – it was renovated yet again, and it was reopened in March 2010.

A sound and light show is screened on the structure’s eastern wall, surveying the synagogue’s 800-year history (the show is presented free of charge in the evening hours).

The Hurva Synagogue is named after Rabbi Yehuda he-Hasid, who headed Poland’s Jewish community in the 18th century. Rabbi Yehuda he-Hasid immigrated to the land of Israel, with his students, some 300 years ago, to advance the Messianic Era. The rabbi and his students bought an abandoned plot on which to build a synagogue, financed by loans which they used to pay the landowners. Rabbi Yehuda he-Hasid died just days after an acquisition agreement was reached; his students remained a flock without a shepherd, but were able to raise funds from the Diaspora and take out loans from local Arab residents in order to continue the plan to construct a splendid synagogue. After some twenty years, Muslims set the synagogue and the Torah scrolls in it ablaze, claiming that they were not paid what they had been owed, and that the place had become The Ruin of Yehuda he-Hasid. Because of the debt, the Ashkenazi Jews were expelled from Jerusalem and those who wanted to enter the city had to disguise themselves as Sephardic Jews – in dress and style – so as not to be identified.

After 140 years, during Turkish rule, the decree against Ashkenazi Jews was reversed and construction of the synagogue was renewed, funded by Moses Montefiore and Baron Alphonse, a brother of Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild. The structure of the splendid synagogue was planned in the neo-Byzantine style, which characterized many houses of worship throughout the Ottoman Empire and included four square towers with four 16-meters arches between them. Over the arches rose a large, spectacular dome. The synagogue became a spiritual center in Jerusalem’s Old City, until the 1948 War of Independence. During the war, the synagogue was bombed, the structure collapsed and was destroyed, and only two pillars remained standing. After the 1967 Six Day War, as part of renovation activities in the Jewish Quarter, wide-spread construction work commenced, alongside archaeological digs in which artifacts from different eras were discovered, including: Mikvehs (ritual baths) from the time of the Second Temple and a street from the Byzantine Period, which are displayed in the synagogue basement. The synagogue was inaugurated and reopened on March 15, 2010.

Nimrod Fortress: A Historic Castle with Stunning Views in the Golan Heights

Nimrod Fortress: A Historic Castle with Stunning Views in the Golan Heights

Nimrod Fortress, also known as Nimrod Castle, is a castle built by the Ayyubids and expanded by the Mamluks to guard a major access route to Damascus against armies from the west. It is located on the southern slopes of Mount Hermon, overlooking the Golan Heights. The fortress was first built in the Hellenistic or Byzantine period and was rebuilt around 1228 by Al-Aziz Uthman. It was further expanded by Sultan Baibars and given to his second-in-command, Bilik. After the Muslim conquest of Acre, the fortress lost its strategic value and fell into disrepair. The Ottoman Turks later used it as a luxury prison for Ottoman nobles. The fortress is currently managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and is open to the public. Visitors can explore the excavated and restored portions of the fortress, including secret corridors, loopholes, and the remains of a keep surrounded by large rectangular towers. One day tour idea for the region could be visiting Nimrod Fortress and exploring the surrounding area. The tour could start with a visit to the fortress, where visitors can learn about its history and architecture and enjoy panoramic views of the Golan Heights. After exploring the fortress, the tour could continue to nearby Banias Nature Reserve, which offers hiking trails, waterfalls, and natural pools. Visitors can hike along the river, explore the ancient ruins of Banias, and enjoy a picnic lunch in the beautiful surroundings. The tour could also include a visit to the nearby Druze village of Majdal Shams, where visitors can learn about Druze culture and enjoy traditional Druze cuisine. Overall, this day tour offers a combination of history, nature, and culture, making it a great way to experience the region.

Kharbat Karta Nature Reserve - Discover the Wonders of Horvat Karta Nature Reserve: A Family-Friendly Adventure in Israel's North

Kharbat Karta Nature Reserve - Discover the Wonders of Horvat Karta Nature Reserve: A Family-Friendly Adventure in Israel's North

Trip Duration: 1-2 hours Trip Type: Observation, flower trail, and historical sites Difficulty Level: Easy, suitable for all family members Accessibility: Not stroller-friendly Cost: Free of charge Location: Northern Israel - Atlit At the entrance to Atlit, you will find a short and easy trail that leads up the Kurkar ridge, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area, carved stables, and, during the blooming season, a variety of beautiful blossoming flowers. After the rains, anemones and hollyhocks bloom, while in the fall, hollyhocks create a stunning sea view. There are two starting points for the trail: Limor parking lot: This starting point features numerous picnic tables and a small ninja track-style playground for children. The trail is marked with blue and white, leading from the parking lot to the Karta ruins. You can choose to complete the full circular route, approximately 1 kilometer long, or park another vehicle at the second entry point. The trail markings will then change from blue to black for a 600-meter stretch. End of road 7110 in Afar Square: Continue straight at the square (with the climbing museum to your right) and follow the road as it curves left. After crossing the Nahal Oren estuary bridge, the trailhead will be on your left. This starting point offers a large dirt square and prominent signage from the Nature and Parks Authority. The trail is marked with black and later turns blue. You can park here and finish at the Limor parking lot, or vice versa if you have two vehicles. Kharbat Karta was declared a nature reserve in 1996 and spans 137 dunams. The reserve contains typical habitats and an archaeological site, the Detroa Fort, which is a Crusader fortress built by the Templars. The fort's strategic location connected northern coastal cities, like Acre, with southern cities, such as Caesarea. The fortress, which measured 21 x 18 meters, was surrounded by walls and featured a lower section carved out of the kurkar rock, with mines reaching up to four meters. Inside the reserve, you will find: Panoramic views from the water pool: A large concrete structure houses a former water pool, and an impressive view of the entire area can be seen from atop the structure's stairs. The view includes the Carmel Ridge and the city of Haifa to the north, the Yaakov memorial and surrounding settlements to the south, and the coastline, Atlit fortress, salt ponds, and Jessar al-Zarqa area to the south. La Detroit Fortress: This archaeological site is located within the Karta Ruins Nature Reserve and can be accessed via a short climb using pegs. Rock-engraved letters: On the ridge's eastern side, you will find the letters A and U in Phoenician script. Some believe these letters represent the first letters of the city's name, "Atlit," although this cannot be confirmed. Carved stables: On the southern side of the Kurkar ridge, you can view the stable rooms resembling large tunnels or sheds. Blooming season: From January to March, visitors can enjoy a wide array of colorful blossoms along the short trail, including cyclamen, anemones, and poppies. In autumn, the sedge blooms are especially impressive. Salt pools and flamingo observation: While in the area, don't miss the Atlit salt pools, where flamingos come to rest. To reach the reserve, use Waze app or other navigation apps: For the Limor Parking Lot, enter "Horvat Karta - Horesh Limor, Atlit." For the second entry point at the end of Road 7110, enter "Horvat Karta Nature Reserve - Atlit, North District." From Road 2, exit at the Atlit interchange and turn left or continue straight at the first square, depending on your chosen starting point.

Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City

Mount of Olives Observation Point: A Must-Visit Destination in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the holy city, is known for its rich cultural and historical heritage. It is home to several historical sites, religious monuments, and ancient structures that have stood the test of time. One of the most prominent attractions of Jerusalem is the Mount of Olives Observation Point, which offers breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings. This article will provide you with a brief overview of this iconic destination and why it is a must-visit for travelers. Location and Access The Mount of Olives Observation Point is situated in the east of Jerusalem, adjacent to the Mount of Olives Cemetery. It is easily accessible via public transportation, taxis, or private cars. Visitors can also take a walking tour to the observation point, which is a great way to explore the city's historical sites and landmarks. Historical Significance The Mount of Olives has significant religious and historical importance, which makes it a significant destination for people of all faiths. According to the Bible, Jesus spent time on the Mount of Olives, and it is also believed to be the location where he ascended to heaven. It is also the site of several important events in the Old and New Testaments, such as King David's flight from Jerusalem and Jesus' prophecy of the Second Coming. Observation Point The Mount of Olives Observation Point offers panoramic views of Jerusalem's Old City, including the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Visitors can take in the stunning views of the city and its surroundings while enjoying the serene atmosphere of the observation point. It is also an excellent spot for photographers, who can capture the city's beauty from a unique perspective. Tips for Visitors Visitors should wear comfortable shoes, as there is a considerable amount of walking involved in reaching the observation point. It is also recommended to bring water and sunscreen, as the area can get hot and dry during the summer months. Additionally, visitors should respect the religious and cultural significance of the site and dress appropriately. Conclusion The Mount of Olives Observation Point is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Jerusalem. Its historical and religious significance, combined with its breathtaking views of the city, make it a unique and memorable experience. Whether you're a photographer, a history buff, or simply looking to take in the city's beauty, the Mount of Olives Observation Point is an unforgettable destination. Plan your visit today and discover the wonders of Jerusalem from a whole new perspective.

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