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Things to do in Eilat

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Dolphin Reef
The Dolphin Reef in Eilat, on the shores of the Red Sea offers a magical and unique opportunity to observe and swim alongside some of nature’s most magnificent sea creatures. The Reef is home to a colorful array of tropical fish, beautiful coral and, most significantly, a school of bottle-nosed dolphins including babies born on the site. It was established over twenty years ago with the vision of bringing humans closer to animals in a sensitive and respectful way. The dolphins are not kept captive. They live in their natural habitat and have free access to the open sea should they choose to leave. Human intervention in their lifestyle is minimized solely to the prevention of endangerment to their existence. The Reef’s floating piers and observation points allow visitors to watch the dolphins as they maintain their daily routine – play, hunt for food, mate and care for their younger ones. Alternatively, for a more intimate encounter with these friendly and playful creatures, there is the option of guided scuba diving and snorkelling. Scuba diving is available to any confident swimmer aged between 8 – 88 years old. Previous experience is not required. A session lasts for one hour: Half of this time is devoted to fitting the scuba diving gear, signing the medical statement, and listening to a briefing; the other half is spent in the water with a personal instructor whereby divers will descend to a maximum depth of 6 meters.
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Red Canyon
The Red Canyon in the Eilat Mountains is one of Israel’s most beautiful yet accessible hiking trails. Twenty minutes north of Eilat, the Red Canyon offers an undisturbed hike through the natural canyons. The Red Canyon gets its name from the phenomenon which occurs when sunlight hits the reddish rock that lines the canyon, giving it an intense reddish color. The rock is varied in color and in patches is shades of white and yellow. The green trail at the Red Canyon is considered to be family friendly, well marked, and relatively short. The descent leads down into the river bed and there is then a short fun trail leading to the second creek. The black trail is a more challenging descent down into the second creek. Walking through the second creek, you will reach a large rock which projects from the river bed. From atop this rock there is one of the most perfect photo spots in the area. As you continue to walk along the second creek, the sides of the canyon will narrow into what is known as the ‘Red Canyon’. The trail takes around 75 minutes to complete.
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Timna Park
Timna Park is located about 25 km (about 17 miles) north of Eilat in Israel’s Negev Desert. One of the largest attractions in the south of Israel, the park, set in a beautifully majestic desert setting, has amazing history and geology, and a number of unexpected activities including those on the lake (yes, a lake in the desert!). Timna Park covers about 15,000 acres in a horseshoe-shaped valley surrounded by steep cliffs, with Mount Timna, the world’s first ever copper mine, standing tall in the center. Daily tours to Timna Park are available from Eilat. Solomon’s Pillars are towering sandstone columns. Perfectly formed, in fact, so perfectly formed that you might not believe that they are the work of nature. But they, as with the rest of the amazing geology and landscape of Timna Park, are the work of nature alone, the result of strips of volcanic magma frozen into the cliffs. This scenery truly is the thing dreams are made of. Snaking across Timna Park are hiking trails short and long, for all levels of experience. From these, visitors can witness the amazing works of nature, and ancient man in the mines, as well as the amazing wildlife, plants and trees, which makes the desert their home, surviving in the harsh arid conditions. Within the park, rather uniquely for the desert, is a small lake, and pedal boats are included in the ticket price. For kids, there are also activities such as sand bottling (the region has a unique colored sand), and other craft activities.
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Underwater Observatory Marine Park
Experience sea life underwater without getting wet at the Underwater Observatory Marine Park in Eilat. With the vast coral reef that runs along the Red Sea in Eilat, it is no wonder this is such a popular site. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the park every year, excited to observe and learn about the marine life just below the surface. Students and researchers also use this park as an informational center and a location to conduct research. There are a variety of different displays within the Underwater Observatory Marine Park to explore during your visit. Watch turtles and stingrays glide by in their pools or stop by the Rare Fish Aquarium to see an interesting collection of fish and corals. There is also a photography station there called Photo Aquarium. For an additional fee, visitors can ride Coral 2000, a glass-bottomed boat that sails out of the park and back over the coral reef.
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Eilat Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in Eilat is a gem of serenity and peace in Southern Israel. Located at the northern border of Eilat, the garden was created on the site of a former military outpost and built on stone terraces in Israel’s first organic farm. Inside there are plants from all over the world, streams and waterfalls, bird sanctuaries, and even a rain forest. It is difficult to believe this is located in a desert, a place that barely gets any rain. There are more than 1,000 different types of trees, bushes and plants in Eilat’s Botanical Garden. This oasis is maintained by a man-made watering system. As visitors walk through the garden, they can check out the three viewpoints where they can peer out over the Red Sea and the surrounding mountains. Choose to wander the pathways with a map or schedule a private or group guided tour. The garden is very family-friendly.
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Naama Bay
The place to go on your Egypt holidays, Naama Bay is the finest seafront in the Sinai peninsula, offering great snorkelling and diving opportunities amongst thousands of sea creatures, exploring underwater reefs. But Naama holidays aren't just a diver's paradise
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Ras Mohammad National Park
A lot of people, and me among them, believe that Ras Mohamed does not belong to this world with its extraordinary environment and its unique location. The air here is cleaner and even smells different than any other place of Egypt.
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Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem, Israel’s largest Holocaust memorial is set on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance on the edge of Jerusalem. The new Yad Vashem Museum opened in 2005 and its nine chilling galleries of interactive historical displays present the Holocaust using a range of multimedia including photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos. Yad Vashem is a place which is not fun to visit, but is definitely somewhere that we recommend all visitors to Israel experience. The museum leads into the Hall of Names, an eerie space containing over three million names of Holocaust victims that were submitted by their families and relatives. Names can still be submitted by visitors to the memorial and added to the computerized archive, whilst visitors are able to search through the records. In addition to the Holocaust History Museum, the Yad Vashem campus has a number of other chilling memorials which you can visit. These include the Hall of Remembrance, where the ashes of the dead are buried and an eternal flame burns in commemoration; Yad Layeled, the children’s memorial, which commemorates the one and a half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust; and The Memorial to the Deportees, a railroad car hanging over the cliff on the road winding down from the mountain commerorating those who were deported.
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The Israel Museum
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem is Israel’s largest cultural institution and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archeology museums. Founded in 1965, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem was extensively extended and refurbished reopening in 2010. The focus of the museum is on the art, Judaica and ancient artifacts of the Land of Israel and beyond, featuring the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world. The museum has a collection of nearly 500,000 objects, representing a full scope of world material culture. While there is loads to see at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, there are a number of stand-out highlights. The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls which are some of the oldest Biblical scrolls ever found. Adjacent to this is an amazing model of Second Temple Era Jerusalem which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE.
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Tower of David Museum
The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem is located in the restored ancient Citadel of the Old City near the Jaffa Gate, the historic main entrance to the city. The museum tells the long and fascinating history of Jerusalem starting from the second millennium BCE and ending with the modern city you see today. The museum’s facade, The Citadel is itself, a fascinating archaeological site, and provides some of the best 360-degree views across the Old City and Modern City available, and comes to life at night with the Tower of David Night Spectacular. As well as its fascinating permanent displays, the museum regularly hosts changing exhibitions as well as lectures, special cultural events and educational programs. The Tower of David Night Spectacular is an incredible sound and light show, the only one of its kind in the world, in which the walls of The Citadel and Old City are brought to life using amazing audio-visual technologies to provide the story of Jerusalem in a unique experience.
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Ramparts Walk
The Ramparts Walk in the Old City of Jerusalem is a gem hidden from locals and tourists alike. Hard to find, the Ramparts Walk is one of the most rewarding activities in terms of history, beauty and a greater sense of the Old City as a whole. Reasonably priced, the Ramparts Walk makes a great trip combined with the other activities and sites found in and around the Old City. The Ramparts Walk is divided into two separate walks, totally just under two miles: the north side walk and the south side walk. Both are included in the admission ticket and both have their differences. The north side walk is the longer of the two and covers a far greater area, from the Jaffa Gate (on the west side of the Old City) to the Lions Gate (on the east side, approaching the Dome of the Rock). The south side walk is shorter but ends at a more convenient location, the Western Wall (or Kotel as it is known in Hebrew). The south side walk begins at the Tower of David (on the west side of the Old City, beside the Jaffa Gate) and continues around to the south side of the city, ending off between the Zion and Dung Gates.
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Western Wall
The Western Wall, or “Wailing Wall”, is the most religious site in the world for the Jewish people. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, it is the western support wall of the Temple Mount. Thousands of people journey to the wall every year to visit and recite prayers. These prayers are either spoken or written down and placed in the cracks of the wall. The wall is divided into two sections, one area for males and the other for females. It is one of the major highlights in any tour of the Old City. The site is open to all people and is the location of various ceremonies, such as military inductions and bar mitzvahs. The Western Wall is free and is open all day, year-round. Women and men should be dressed modestly in the Western Wall Plaza. To pray at the wall, women should have their legs and shoulders covered. Men should cover their head.
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Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, a massive masonry platform occupying the south-east corner of Jerusalem’s Old City, has hallowed connections for Jews, Christians and Muslims. All three of these Abrahamic faiths regard it as the location of Mount Moriah, where Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac (or Ishmael in the Muslim tradition) to God. For Jews, it is where their Temple once stood, housing the Ark of the Covenant. Now, for fear of stepping on the site of the Holy of Holies, orthodox Jews do not ascend to the Temple Mount. Instead, they worship at its Western Wall while they hope for a rebuilt Temple to rise with the coming of their long-awaited Messiah. For Christians, the Temple featured prominently in the life of Jesus. Here he was presented as a baby. Here as a 12-year-old he was found among the teachers after the annual Passover pilgrimage. For Muslims, the Temple Mount is al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It is Islam’s third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina, and the whole area is regarded as a mosque.
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Musrara
Musrara is a unique neighborhood in Jerusalem, a fascinating microcosm of the city’s history and its various population groups. Walking through the streets, you’ll notice that every house is built differently, and houses have been joined, expanded, cut up and renewed throughout the years of its turbulent history. The municipality has tried to change the name of the neighborhood to Morasha, and you’ll see this name on official maps, but Jerusalem residents proudly continue to use its old name. In recent years, a number of artists have moved to the neighborhood, and three art schools have opened up: a religious film school called Maaleh; Musrara, an edgy photography, animation and sound school; and the School for Oriental Music, which occasionally has open concerts in the evenings, and is lovely to walk past as the musicians practice during the day. These last two are both on Ayin Het street, and there is another gallery next to them. An artists’ collective called Muslala has sprung up, and they engage in artwork in the public domain, involving longtime local residents and social activists from East and West Jerusalem.
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The Machane Yehuda Market
The Machane Yehuda Market, or shuk, is the largest market in Jerusalem with over 250 vendors selling everything from fruit and vegetables to specialty foods, and clothing to Judaica.The market is the main traditional marketplace of Jerusalem and is an experience that must be part of any visit to Jerusalem, filled with fascinating sounds, sights, and smells. The Machane Yehuda Market is set between Aggripas and Jaffa Streets, with two main aisles and then many further small walkways once inside. It is a maze and myriad of sights, sounds, and smells, an intense sensory experience and memorable life experience! Just a ten-minute walk from the center of Jerusalem, the market is a fascinating place to stroll whether you are interested just in observing the magnificent sculpted displays of spices, mouthwatering array of foods, and stunning energy of the place, or if you want to get involved in real-market buying, negotiating and tasting!
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Ramat Gan Safari
The Zoological Center Tel Aviv – Ramat Gan Safari is a 1000 dunam oasis in the middle of greater Tel Aviv’s highly populated urban metropolis. The Zoological Center Tel Aviv – Ramat Gan Safari contains over 1,600 different animal species, in various habitats created to mimic their natural environments and provide animal education to guests of all ages. The Zoological Center Tel Aviv – Ramat Gan Safari provides professionally guided educational tours to take families, kindergarten classes, individuals and other groups through the various wildlife departments. Following a walking tour through the zoo area to see reptiles, mammals and birds, take your car through the safari where giraffes, lions and many other wildlife spend their days and nights. Among the guided tours offered at the Zoological Center Tel Aviv – Ramat Gan Safari are a varied menu of unique, specialized tours. These range from the Morning Tour, in which guests accompany Safari employees as they feed the animals and enter the desert like safari area on a tractor, or the adults only Midnight Tour which gives a firsthand view of the “late night activities” of hippos, lions and bears.
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Neve Tzedek
Neve Tzedek may well be one of Tel Aviv’s oldest districts, but it’s still young at heart! Newe Tzedek or Neve Tsedek, as it is also known is another district of Tel Aviv which has become increasingly fashionable in recent years, as restoration works have taken place to restore it to its former glory. Built in 1887, Neve Tzedek was the first Jewish neighbourhood outside of the old port city of Jaffa, built as a suburb. Its Oriental architectural style, combined with quaint, narrow streets with boutiques, make Neve Tzedek, which means Oasis of Justice, quite literally an oasis in the modern city. Neve Tzedek is today a real oasis in the bustling city of Tel Aviv. The magnificent buildings are all individual, and a relaxing stroll through the neighbourhood is a great way to spend some time. Shabazi Street is the main street through Neve Tzedek and, like many of the smaller side passages is lined with boutiques, galleries, and craft shops. The Suzanne Dellal Center is Tel Aviv’s dance centre with a superb piazza and interesting gardens, whilst popular cafe Suzanna shouldn’t be missed.
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Diving in Hurghada
Scuba diving in the Red Sea started in the 1950s when Greek and Italian workers began spear fishing while residing in Egypt. Explored by the Austrian zoologist Dr. Hans Hass, a well-known underwater movie maker, and the famous French diver Jacques Cousteau, the Red Sea has amazing coral reefs that are a magnet for thousands of species. Diving has matured since then, today you'll find fully equipped facilities, liveaboard diving, a myriad of programs and internationally certified instructors. The Red Sea resorts of Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh, Marsa Alam, El Gouna and Taba are wonderful destination that offer diving holidays packages and facilities all year round because of their moderate temperature. It doesn't matter if you have never dived before, if you're a beginner or a veteran, you'll find the right program for you and you'll surely be coming back for more.
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Rubin Museum
The Rubin Museum in Tel Aviv is located in the center of the city, in what once served as home and studio of world-renowned painter, Reuven Rubin. Reuven Rubin was the first Israeli painter to receive international acknowledgement and appreciation. Born in Romania, Rubin moved to Israel in 1912 to study painting at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art. He continued his studies in Paris before setting up his studio and officially immigrating to Israel in 1923. Over the course of his career, Rubin was named Chairman of the Association of Painters and Sculptors of Palestine, received the Dizengoff Prize and, in 1973 was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement in art. Rubin died in 1974, leaving his home and studio to his beloved city of Tel Aviv. On display at the museum are close to fifty of Rubin’s paintings created throughout his career in Israel. The museum features multimedia presentations about the artist’s life and work. The Rubin Museum in Tel Aviv also features paintings by contemporary Israeli artists, a shop with reproductions of the artist’s work, and a tour of Rubin’s studio.
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Habima Theater
The Habima Theater has been Israel’s National Theater since 1935. It was originally the conception of organizers Hannah Rubina and Aaron Baskin, who brought with them from Moscow to Tel Aviv the idea of promoting a unique Hebrew-language theatre and local actors. In keeping with its original purpose, the Habima Theater hosts live theatre, unique events and seminars. Plays chosen at the Habima Theater most often deal with issues important to the State of Israel and its diverse mixture of population. Recurring themes include tensions between Arab and Jewish Israelis, religious and secular Jews, new immigrants and native-born Israelis, and Holocaust memoirs, government corruption or the issue of foreign workers. In order to reach out to all audiences, the Habima Theater also features classic international plays and organizes acting workshops and activities for Israeli youth. Simultaneous translation is available for most live performances. Additionally, the Habima Theater is a member of the Union of the Theatres of Europe and is often invited to join in world tours as a result of this prestigious membership. The original Habima Theater building, which is located at the end of Rothschild Boulevard, has been renovated and was recently inaugurated in the art complex next to the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art and the Mann Auditorium, home of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra.
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Azrieli Center
Azrieli Center is a complex comprised of three distinct skyscrapers one circlular, one triangular and one square in the center of Tel Aviv. Named after the founder, Architect David Azrieli. T he Circular Tower is the second tallest building in Israel. It was completed in 1999 and has 49 floors. The building’s top floor boasts a restaurant, as well as an observation deck with a clear view of the entire city. The Triangular Tower was finished in 1999 and has 46 floors. With 42 floors, including the thirteen-floor Crowne Plaza City Center Hotel, the Square Tower was the last to be completed in 2007. Many of Israel’s most prominent companies are based in or around the Azrieli Center. At the base of the three office buildings lies one of Israel’s largest shopping malls. The Azrieli Center Mall boasts over 30 fast food and high-quality restaurants and cafes. The shopping opportunities include branches all of Israel’s finest stores, as well as flagship international brand names like H&M, Gap and Mango. The Azrieli Center Mall also houses a fitness center, grocery store, educational learning centers and a rooftop Gymboree. The Azrieli Center is located on the corner of Begin and Hashalom Streets. It is just a minute from the Hashalom entrance to Ayalon Highway. It is connected by bridge to the Tel Aviv Hashalom Train Station. A bridge in the opposite direction also connects the mall to Hakirya, the Tel Aviv branch of the IDF military intelligence unit.
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Tel-Aviv Museum of Art
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art houses one of the world’s largest collections of Israeli art. The collection represents the work of some of the leading Jewish artists of the first half of the 20th century and many of the major movements of modern art of this time. The modern and contemporary art museum is a part of the Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center complex, also featuring the Israeli Opera and Cameri Theater. The permanent and temporary exhibitions shown at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art display work by Israeli artists, as well as many infamous international painters. The museum is also home to an art library and archive serving art students and professionals throughout Israel. The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Art Education Center provides classes in a variety of fields to adults and children. The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art offers a space to showcase young Israeli talent. The Herta and Paul Amir Building houses an Israeli Architecture Archive and a new section of photography and visual arts. Over 500,000 guests visit the Tel Aviv Museum of Art each year, to enjoy its wide variety of painting, photography, video, sculpture, as well as to participate in the many events held within the museum building. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is open daily from 10 am. The museum closes at 4 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, 8 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and 2 pm on Friday. The museum is closed on Sunday. Museum admission is 42 shekels for adult visitors and free for children up to age 18.
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Tayelet Of Tel Aviv
Tayelet is the Hebrew word for promenade. In Tel Aviv, this refers to the pedestrian promenade running the length of the city’s beaches from the Tel Aviv Port in the North through to Jaffa in the South. Beyond the city’s borders, the promenade also reaches North to Herzliya and to Jaffa’s southern neighbor of Bat Yam. The Tel Aviv Tayelet is bordered on one side by the Mediterranean Coast. In many areas, sandy beaches filled with sunbathers, volleyball nets, paddle ball games (matkot) and cafes accompany the sparkling blue waters. The Jaffa section is comprised of Charles Kalore Park, featuring grass, playgrounds and rocky breakers for breathtaking views. The Tel Aviv Port offers boardwalks, restaurants and a variety of entertainment options and special events. The main stretch of the Tel Aviv Tayelet is surrounded by large hotels and activities suited to a beach-filled afternoon. Everything from top-quality fish restaurants and steakhouses to McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken can be found along the Tayelet. At night, there is a bar option suited to every taste; beach-side venues filled with couches for relaxation, dance bars, live music and rooftop lounges are open every night of the week. The Tayelet is also home to Tel Aviv’s Tourist Information Center, many health and beauty spas, ice cream shops, and schools for surfing and sailing. It is also a popular place for jogging and biking.
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Gordon Beach
Centrally located at the corner of Gordon Street and HaYarkon Street, the Gordon Beach is one of the busiest and most popular of Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean-side beaches. Gordon Beach is within walking distance from many of Tel Aviv’s most exclusive hotels, including the Renaissance Hotel, Carlton Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Sheraton Hotel and Crowne Plaza Hotel and is directly accessible from many of these hotels. On Gordon Beach, visitors will find soft sands, sparkling blue waters and a mix of tourists and locals. The beach features volleyball courts which are constantly filled with enthusiasts and local leagues. Paddleball players focused on 'matkot', Israel’s popular version of the beach sport, play up and down the Mediterranean shore. A variety of coffee shops, ice cream stores, restaurants and bars are situated on the beach, adjacent pedestrian promenade and nearby Atarim Square. The Tel Aviv Marina, offering water sports and professional instruction, is next to Gordon Beach, as is the newly-renovated, saltwater-filled Gordon Swimming Pool. On Friday and Saturday afternoons, locals flock to Gordon Beach to participate in traditional Israeli folk dancing taught on the promenade. A lifeguard station is on duty during the summer season from the morning until 7pm. Yoga and pilates classes are taught on Gordon Beach during the summer; class hours are on display at the beach. Parking, public showers and changing rooms are all available nearby.
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Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot
Beit Hatfutsot' - The Museum of the Jewish People (The Disapora House), the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, is located on the campus of Tel Aviv University. The Museum of the Jewish People tells the story of the Jewish People from its expulsion from the holy land 2,600 years ago to the present day. The Museum of the Jewish People exhibits the diverse histories of the many Jewish communities around the world. It connects visitors with their roots, offers reproductions of beautifully designed synagogues, pictures depicting the differing religious customs and cultural traditions of various communities, and describes the complex and ongoing journey of the Jewish people “Among the Nations.”
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Hurghada Grand Aquarium
The 10 million liter Grand Aquarium Hurghada tank, is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world. It is home to thousands of aquatic animals, including 400 sharks and rays. It also boasts the largest collection of sand tiger sharks in the world.
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Sand City Hurghada
One and only Open air and Sand Sculptures Museum in Africa and Middle East, Sand City Hurghada, made of 42 sculptures and 17 relief by artist from different countries who left a peace of hart and soul in their work.
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Mini Egypt Park
A miniature park is an open space that displays miniature buildings and models. Mini Egypt Park offers a totally different experience compared to a traditional museum.
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Landious Travel
Landious Travel is a tour operator based in Egypt. The tourist company “Landious Travel” presents you with a long list of Services & Tours in Egypt. You can book transfers, Nile cruises, tours, and excursions in Egypt in this online shop. Such services are available in all the Egyptian cities e.g. Hurghada, Safaga, Sharm El-Sheikh, El-Quseir, Marsa Alam, Luxor and Cairo. Mainly, we make bookings on several touristic services e.g. excursions, trips, Egypt tours, Nile Cruises and transportation.
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Atlit Detainee Camp
The Atlit Detainee Camp Museum is located in Atlit, a small town located on the northern coast about 20 kilometers south of Haifa. In the 1930s and 40s, this site served as a detention center for illegal Jewish immigrants seeking refuge in Palestine (which is now the State of Israel). The land was under British Mandate and officials let very few Jewish people into the country legally. Tens of thousands of Jewish people were interned here during this time period. Although first-time visitors may not be familiar with this museum, it is very significant site in the history of Israel. Illegal immigrants are known as “ma’apilim”. Before and during World War II, thousands of Jewish people were fleeing their homes trying to escape persecution and concentration camps. Many coming from Europe and northern Africa chose to seek refuge in Palestine, which was under British Mandate. More than 122,000 people came to Israel despite the blockade.
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St.Samaan Church
It’s become something of a cliché – a sad one at that – but we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s much more to Egypt than Ancient Egyptian antiquities. Granted, the Zabaleen area of Mokattam receives its fare share of attention for its sheer uniqueness, but one particular feature often goes unnoticed – St. Samaan Church. The church is named after Samaan Al Kharaz (Simon the Ranner), who, according to the tradition, performed a miracle in moving the mountain to help Abraam – Pope of the Egyptian Church – prove his faith to a Jewish grand vizier. The areas of the mountain around the church also feature a number of carvings. These carvings were done by a Polish artist in 1995 and was commissioned by the church’s founder, Samaan Ibrahim. In addition to the church itself – which can seat up to 1000 people – the monastery also include a library, children’s playground and a cafeteria.
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City of the Dead
Even Cairo, a bustling capital city of 21 million or so people, has its secrets and obscurities, not least the City of the Dead. Located below Mokattam Hills in the south east of the city, the area is essentially a necropolis; but over the centuries it has evolved into a living, breathing organism of its own that has managed to reach a certain degree of self-sufficiency. Though considered a slum – and it’d be hard to argue that – it also stands as one monument to Cairo’s colourful history. Running along the city from north to south, the strip is around 6.4km long. The City of the Dead dates back to the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 642 AD, when Amr Ibn Al ‘as established a family graveyard at the foot of Mokattam. Many of the residents are said to have moved there to be close to deceased relatives. It has been something of a touristic site for centuries, with the likes of Moroccan scholar, Ibn Batuta –widely considered to be one of the greatest travelers in history – having visited and written about it.
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Cairo Citadel
As familiar and known a sight as that of the Giza Pyramids, the medieval Citadel sits conspicuously over the haze of Cairo’s minarets, with the Mohammed Ali mosque glimmering like a beacon to all travellers, visitors and Cairenes alike. The gentle breeze from the hilltop location brings to mind a legend about Saladin, the builder of this medieval fortress in the 12th century. In the search to build a proper fortress against the Crusaders, he hung pieces of meat throughout Cairo and swore that wherever the meat stayed fresh the longest would become the location of his fortress. All the meat he placed was ruined in a day except for the meat hung on a hilltop near Cairo, where the fresh breeze kept the meat fresh for days. Who knows? Maybe he built the Citadel on a hill because in his native mountainous Syria most fortresses were built in strategic high locations, or maybe fresh meat was a big deal to Saladin. The Citadel is a popular destination for tour groups and local school field trips. While most tourists are taken to the Hagia Sophia inspired Mohammed Ali mosque, they might miss the great sites that lie nearby, marking massacres, harem palaces, spiral wells, royal court drama, crime, and ancient Egyptian ruins.
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The Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Located on Rhoda Island in Cairo’s Manial district, the Prince Mohammed Ali Palace is unlike any historical site in the capital. Built by the uncle of King Farouk, Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik, between 1899 and 1929, what makes the palace stand out – even next to anything you’ll find in Old Cairo, which sits a stone’s throw away across a branch of the Nile – is its unique fusion of Ottoman, Persian, art nouveau and late baroque inspirations. Divided into five distinctly conceived and designed buildings which sit in the middle of a stunning Persian garden, the palace was as much a home to Mohammed Ali’s grand collection of art, furniture, clothing and medieval manuscripts as it was for him. Lending itself to a museum blueprint, the palace was handed over to the Supreme Council of Antiquities – a former branch of the Ministry of Culture – in 1955 and quickly became one of the most striking reminders of the Mohammed Ali dynasty. The palace is also home to one of the world’s most lavish collections of Oriental carpets and rugs, while the walls silk embroideries and portraits of royals.
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Khan El Khalili
There’s absolutely nothing in Cairo like exploring the enormous shopping labyrinth of Khan El Khalili, the city’s largest souk that has preserved much of its original structure since its days as a famous medieval bazaar. Tourists and Egyptians alike arrive at this densely populated maze of streets and alleyways to find all sorts of gifts, including Egyptian antiques, fine handmade crafts, shishas and spices.
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Haifa Educational Zoo
The Haifa Educational Zoo is an ideal place for families to visit while in Haifa. Originally built in 1949 by Pinchas Cohen as an education center for a neighboring school. After renovations in 2002 the zoo now hosts more than 100 species of wildlife, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plantlife. Built on a beautiful nature reserve on Mount Carmel with views of the Mediterranean Sea, the zoo covers 35 dunams (8.6 acres) making it perfect for everyone, especially families with small children. Some of the zoo’s mammal features include; Lemurs, brown capuchin monkeys, meerkats, Bengal tigers, leopards, alpaca, honey badgers, lions, Syrian brown bears, baboons, and caracals. The zoo also has a special climate-controlled reptile house containing pythons, vipers, cobras, anacondas, racers, boas and various lizards. Birdlife in the zoo ranges from the nocturnal owls to the free- roaming peacocks which swarm the entrance to the path. Many of the zoo’s animals are natives of Israel including the Israeli wolf (also known as the Arabian wolf), ibex, porcupine (an orphan found in the area), camels, wild boars, jackals, foxes, black cobra, Palestinian viper, Griffon vultures and the rare Persian fallow deer who lives almost exclusively in the Upper Galilee on the small nature preserve of Nachal Kziv.
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Louis Promenade
One of the loveliest places to walk and see in all of Haifa is the Louis Promenade on Mount Carmel. The promenade is conveniently located minutes away from numerous museums, shops and several hotels such as the Dan Panorama, the Dan Carmel and the Nof Hotel. This pleasantly peaceful promenade etched onto the slope of Haifa’s mountain is perfect for walks, jogs, runs and basking in the warm Mediterranean sun. With an exceptional view that extends from the city of Haifa to the distant white outcropping that is Rosh NaHikra, you can see the coastal cities of Nahariya, Akko (Acre) and the Krayot with the low, green mountains of the Western Galilee. Watch the cargo ships come into the port and the naval ships dart to and fro with the slight chance of spotting dolphins leaping way down off the bay. On a clear day, the snowy peaks of Israel’s tallest mountain, Mount Hermon at 9,232 feet, can be seen as well. Obviously, telescopes and binoculars are advised and don’t forget your camera!