Israel. Canaan, The Promised Land, The Holy Land, The United Kingdom, The Divided Kingdom. Over 35 centuries, the names of the land of Israel have bound together many stories.
This small semi-arid country lies perched on the southeastern coast of the crystal blue Mediterranean sea. Days are characterised by lots of sunshine with a rainy season from November to April. Israel borders Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and lies at the junction of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.
A country of contrasts
“Long and narrow in shape, the country is about 290 miles (470 km.) in length and 85 miles (135 km.) in width at its widest point.
Although small in size, Israel encompasses the topographical features of an entire continent, ranging from forested highlands and fertile green valleys to mountainous deserts. From the coastal plain to the semitropical Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth.” Mission of Israel to the UN
Flight time from Singapore to Israel is about 10.5 hours. If you book a night flight, you can snooze all the way and wake up to an extra 6 hours, Singapore being 6 hours ahead. Here is DirectAsia’s handy guide to making the most of your time.
Things To Do and See
At the heart of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions, this one kilometer walled area in the center of Jerusalem can never be ignored. The Old City is home to the Wailing Wall – the last remaining wall of what was the Jewish Temple, and the holiest site in the world for Jews.
The Dome of the Rock is located above the Wailing Wall and is the site where the prophet Muhammad is said to have risen to heaven. Just a short walk away, lies the Church of the Sepulcher, where Jesus was crucified and buried.
Mount Scopus – amazing view of Jerusalem on one side and the Judean Desert on the other
Old City of Jerusalem
Mount Zion – Dormition Abbey, King David’s Tomb and the Room of the Last Supper
The Old City Cardo
Church of the Holy Sephulchre
Markets of the Christian and Muslim Quarters
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Masada is a rugged natural fortress overlooking the Dead Sea. The Judaean king Herod the Great constructed this sumptuous palace complex in classical Roman style.
After Judaea became a province of the Roman Empire, Masada was the refuge of the last survivors of the Jewish revolt, who chose death rather than slavery when the Roman besiegers broke through their defences. As such it has an emblematic value for the Jewish people.
It is also an archaeological site of great significance. The remains of Herod’s palaces are outstanding and very intact examples of this type of architecture, whilst the untouched siegeworks are the finest and most complete anywhere in the Roman world.
Leaving three days a week, the Masada Sunrise tour leaves nice and early to allow you to experience the famous sunrise views from the Masada fortress, before visiting the beautiful Ein Gedi Nature reserve, and the cooling waters of the Dead Sea.
Climb Masada as the sun rises
Witness the magnificent view as the sun rises over the crisp Dead Sea waters, and mountains in the distance. One of the world’s greatest sunrises.
Hike in the beautiful Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
Float in the Dead Sea and immerse yourself in therapeutic mud!
Founded by two Israeli civil rights activists, one Jewish and one Bedouin Arab, here is an opportunity to meet the Negev’s indigenous people and learn about the culture of the desert. Choose a day learning Bedouin women’s crafts, visit families in the hidden village, take a camel ride, walk to the remnants of the great Nabatean people, or visit local markets.
The Jesus Trail is a 65-kilometer hiking trail in the Galilee region of Israel which connects important sites from the life of Jesus as well as other historical and religious sites. Travelers and pilgrims walk in the footsteps of Jesus in a way that is authentic, adventurous and educational by hiking through the rugged and beautiful landscape of the Galilee in Israel.
Stop at fascinating guest houses along the way including The Fauzi Azar Inn, a 200 year-old Arab mansion turned guest house. This three-story mansion features six-meter hand-painted ceilings, a Turkish marble floor, a panoramic view of the Old City from the great hall and a stone-arched courtyard.
The Inn is located in the heart of the Souq (market) Quarter. Located just 1 minute from the vegetable market, and just a few minutes from excellent restaurants and coffee shops, you are never far from your destination. The Basilica of the Annunciation is just 500 meters away through the narrow streets. Mary’s Well is a five-minute walk, as well as bustling St. Paul Street. Nazareth is a great base for experiencing the Galilee, with regular bus service to Akko, Haifa, and Tiberias.
All travelers entering Israel, Jordan, or Sinai must present a valid passport with an expiration date not less than 6 months from the date of entry into those countries. Singaporean Citizens do not require a visa for tourist entry into Israel. More details here.
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