Caesarea and Zichron Ya'akov
King Herod had many faults (and we'll examine them on the tour!) but lack of ambition certainly was not one of them. The mighty city of Caesarea was truly a triumph of man over the elements and a testament to Herod's vision. The city is also an ideal place to explore Roman culture and its impact on the holy land - as well as giving us a better understanding of both Jewish and Christian history and theology.
Zichron Ya'akov is on the surface a charming town. Its picturesque main street is home to numerous restaurants and coffee shops as well as boutique and artisan shops - it is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. Yet Zichron Ya'akov also has a hidden side - one that gives an intriguing glimpse into the evolution of the land of Israel from a sleepy backwater of the Ottoman Empire into a thriving project of the Jewish people, a scene of conflict between Jews and Zionists and ultimate the birth of the modern State.
From spy intrigue to hard toil and a malaria plague, from the rebirth of the ancient craft of wine-making to the ideological drive of the early Zionists - to explore Zichron is to understand the story of the birth of modern Israel - all that with great food and great wine!
A typical tour day will include:
a tour of the Caesarea National Park and the site of King Herod's ancient port city.
a visit to the ancient Roman aqueduct and the Caesarea shore.
Entry to the Ralli museum of Spanish and Latin American Art - a must for those that appreicate art and sculpture - particularly lovers of Salvador Dali.
A tour of Zichron Ya'akov including visits to the founders cemetery, the 'Hameyasdim' pedestrian thoroughfare and the Ohel Ya'akov Synagogue
A visit to one of the local wineries
It is possible to add to the itinerary visits to Mei Kedem - and walk underground through part of the ancient underground Roman aqueduct, visit the Nahal Taninim nature reserve as well as see wild turtles at the 'turtle bridge'. Also recommended are visits to Ramat Hanadiv as well as the nearby Arab town of Jizr Az-Zarqa where one can visit the mosque and even go fishing and eat the catch for dinner!