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There’s no denying that Israel has been in the mainstream media for its political situation, but far from the criticisms, this ancient land offers travelers a real gem for epic discoveries. One doesn’t have to be religious to visit its ancient sites. It just takes an explorer mindset to stroll along the quaint streets to marvel at the very ancient sites that carry history and cultural importance. Of course, there are many attractions to visit and things to do in Israel. There is no shortage of iconic landmarks in this country, but we have sifted the best places, which have the power to reel one back in time. Read on to find more.

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Embark On A Historical Trip By Visiting The Old City Of Jerusalem

When strolling on the winding streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, one will feel like living in ancient times. There is a special kind of energy that percolates in its atmosphere. Of course, the 3000 years old city has so much to offer. In the 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the 2.5 miles wall which encompassed the old city and its inhabitants. In 1981, the Jerusalem walls and the Old City were listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visitors will be able to spot the 34 watchtowers and the seven main gates which are open for traffic, and the additional two gates were reopened by archeologists. This city is known worldwide for being an epicenter for the Abrahamic religions notably Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Some religious and historical places to visit are the Western Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and of course, the iconic Dome of the Rock. Additionally, one can learn about its diverse culture by visiting several of the quarters, which include the Jewish Quarter, Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, and Armenian Quarter.

Related: Tour Ancient Historical Sites Restored By the Israel Nature & Heritage Foundation Of America

Take A Laid-Back Tour At The Jaffa Port In Israel

For a laid-back ambiance, the Jaffa Port is undoubtedly a place to enjoy delicious local coffee and relish Levantine cuisine at one of its many restaurants and cafés. The quaint-looking Jaffa Port is thought to be founded by Noah’s Son, and it has been the main Mediterranean port leading towards the Middle East. If one wants to escape the bustling Tel Aviv City, Jaffa can be a wonderful alternative. Here, one will be able to walk in the meandering cobblestone alleys, which lead to art galleries, craft, and antique shops. Do visit the Port Market which was opened in 2012. Find a range of food stalls composed of seafood, vegetables, hummus, sausages, and gourmet bakeries. There are also the Shamouti oranges which were first cultivated by the Ottoman farmers back in the 19th century.

  • Jaffa Port Market: Farmers Market from 9:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m (every Friday)

Enjoy The Sweeping Views Of Jerusalem From Mount Zion

One of the most significant landmarks for Jews is Mount Zion, which is referred to as the Temple Mount in Bible. This iconic hill elevates about 2509 feet and is tucked just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. To reach Mount Zion, one should exit the Old City through the Zion Gate and then lead towards the hillside. There are several sacred and historical sites when reaching here. Take a tour of the burial site of the ancient Israeli Kind David located on the ground floor room of a 5th-century synagogue, where Jesus is believed to have his Last Supper. Visitors will also be able to bask in the sweeping views of the Old City from here.

  • Elevation: 2509 feet

Related: These Are The Most Beautiful Places In Israel

Take A Tour At The ‘Town Of Jesus’ - The Unspoiled Capernaum

About two hours drive away from Tel Aviv City lies the unspoiled Capernaum also touted ‘Town of Jesus’. This little town is situated on the north-western side of Lake Galilee overlooking the rolling mountains. It is a place where visitors can enjoy a serene setting with a blissful landscape view. Capernaum is a special place as it is believed that Jesus spent his time here, where he performed some miracles. He is thought to heal the servant of a Roman centurion who asked for his help. Once a fishing village, this charming town has several archeological sites including the House of Peter and the 4th-century White Synagogue. There is also the picturesque Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles nestled near the shore of Galilee.

  • Distance From Tel Aviv to Capernaum: 95 miles (1 hr 40-min drive away) via Yitzhak Rabin Hwy/Route 6

Visit The City Of Caesarea - Israel

Tucked between Tel Aviv and Haifa, visit the city of Caesarea built by Herod the Great around 25 to 13 BCE. The city used to be an important port and thanks to archeological excavations, we now know that the city was once prosperous. There are various ancient sites to visit notably the well-preserved Roman amphitheater, the caves in Rosh Hanikra, and of course, the famed Hanging Gardens of Haifa designed by the Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba.