CAESAREA PHILIPPI (BANYAS)

banyas14Situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mt. Hermon, Caesarea Philippi is the location of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River.

This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship.  Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

The present name is a corruption of Paneas, signifying a place sacred to the god Pan. The Jordan is by far the most important river in the region, and in antiquity a spring in the large cave was one of its principal sources. To distinguish it from the costal CAESAREA, it became known as Caesarea Philippi. Somewhere in the vicinity, Peter affirmed his belief Jesus is “the Son of God”.

Grotto of Pan

The spring emerged from the large cave which became the center of pagan worship.  Beginning in the 3rd century B.C., sacrifices were cast into the cave as offerings to the god Pan.

Pan, the half-man half-goat god of fright (thus “panic”), is often depicted playing the flute. This city, which was known in ancient times as Panias, is now called by the Arabic form of this name, Banias.

Sacred Niches

Adjacent to the sacred cave is a rocky escarpment with a series of hewn niches.  We know that statues of the deity were placed in these niches by depictions of such on coins of the city.

One niche housed a sculpture of Echo, the mountain nymph and Pan’s consort.  Another niche housed a statue of Pan’s father, Hermes, son of nymph Maia. Inscriptions in the niches mention those who gave large donations.

Haifa City

bahai gardens haifa028Haifa is the third largest city in Israel, the capital of the North and serves a population of hundreds of thousands (the city itself has 250 thousand inhabitants).

Haifa is one of the largest industrial centers in Israel and also a hub for transport, trade, shipping and tourism.   The city has institutions for higher education and scientific research, theatre, auditoriums, museums and many varied cultural and recreational facilities.  The city sits at the foot of the Carmel Mountains, on its Eastern, Northern and Western slopes on the top of the range and around the bay area.

Acre (Akko)

akkoACRE (AKKO): The old town of Acre has been the scene of numerous historical events. Due to its strategic location on the coast, this town has been inhabited by many people over the centuries. Conquered by the Crusaders, it was an important and fortified port city during the Crusader period. Following the fall of Jerusalem, it served as their last capital in the Holy Land. It is noted for its seafood restaurants and tours of its ancient ramparts, mosque, and its caravanserais.

Acre is situated in the northern part of the coastal valley, also known as Acre Valley. It borders on Bustan HaGalil ("Orchard of the Galilee") to the north and extends all the way to Na'aman River to the south.
Acre boasts a beautiful seashore, which is the northernmost point adorned with the soft, fine sand from the Nile Estuary.
Old Acre, which is situated on a peninsula, is one of the few cities along the shores of the Mediterranean whose surrounding walls have remained intact, aside from two openings that now provide access to motor vehicles. The openings in the wall were made by the British.
Old Acre is a multifaceted city and it is built in layers that have been almost perfectly preserved.
Four religions have made Acre their home and left their mark there: the Jews' synagogues, the elegant churches in the Christian neighborhoods, the Moslems' monumental mosques and the garden of the tomb of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahai religion and the House of Abud.
Acre is known for its pleasant weather throughout most of the year and it offers a beautiful seashore, a marina and a fishing port. It is a city brimming with history and each and every one of its alleyways is filled with voices from the past. It evokes an atmosphere of freedom and romance.
The walls surrounding Acre make the city's visitors feel safe and sound.

Eilat

eilat the hotels areaover the years, the city of Eilat has become the ultimate resort city with hotels and beaches packed with thousands of Israeli vacationers and tourists from around the world, who come to relax in the country’s southernmost spot.


In the winter it mainly attracts tourists from Europe who prefer vacations in a warmer and more pleasant climate while Israelis flock to the city in the summer. The secret of this little city’s charm is its special location in the northern end of the Bay of Eilat. The combination of a hot climate, a tropical sea and a breathtaking background of wild, bare granite mountains has turned it into a tourist gem all the year round.

Eilat’s location is a southern Israeli port and resort town on the Red Sea, near Jordan. Its beaches are noted for their calm waters, like Dolphin Reef, where the aquatic mammals are often spotted. Known for snorkeling and diving, Coral Beach Nature Reserve has buoy-marked underwater trails among fish-filled reefs. Nearby Coral World Underwater Observatory Marine Park has a glass-enclosed observation center submerged offshore

The modern city of Eilat was established in 1950. In the early 1950s, a quay was built in the new city, and subsequently a port which became the basis for the new city’s economy. Towards the end of the 1960s, the tourism industry started developing in the city, and today Eilat is a paradise for tourists, travelers and vacationers, with a variety of Eilat hotels.

The bay is one of the major attractions, thanks to the beautiful beaches, the developed water sports and some of the best diving spots in the world. In the south of the city is the Coral Reserve, with splendid tropical fish among the reefs. Within the precincts of the reserve is the Underwater Observatory, with a marine museum that displays collections of fascinating sea animals. Not far from the observatory is the Dolphin Reef with its resident school of dolphins.

The city’s many and varied restaurants suit all tastes, and there are also clubs, colorful shops and a promenade along the northern shoreline which holds vibrant bazaars during the summer. There are additional attractions for youngsters and families, such as an amusement park, a new “Kings City”(a high-tech theme park for all the family based on the Bible and Bible stories). Eilat also has an IMAX movie theatre offering a 3-D experience, and many more leisure time activities.

The Arava region north of the city and the Eilat Mountainsis an arid desert. But in between the exposed mountains there are many nature and beauty spots as well as archaeological and historical sites, which make Eilat a good starting point for special trips in the area, such as camel treks, jeep tours and more.