The State of Israel
Israel is located in South West Asia and is well known as a country of four seas and three major world religions. For many centuries, this unique country has been a spiritual home for the Christians, Jews, and Muslims, thus leaving behind the rich history. Israel will captivate you with its diversity: the Mediterranean Sea in the west, Mount Lebanon in the east, the legendary Jordan River, which flows into the Sea of Galilee, the rocky desert Negev contiguous with the Red Sea in the south and the Mountains of Judah in the north, as well as the Dead Sea, a unique salt lake. In Israel, ancient structures built by the ancient Romans, Byzantines, and Turks are harmoniously combined with modern buildings.
Since ancient times, Israel has been called the Holy Land, and today its capital Jerusalem is considered to be the cradle of three religions. There are many mosques, synagogues and churches in the city. The most visited place in Jerusalem is Old City, listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage site. The Wailing Wall, a remnant of the Holy Temple and a sacred place for the Jews, is well visited by tourists. Standing in a queue to the Wailing Wall you can see people of different nationalities, ages and religions. Many Muslim pilgrims desire to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and of course the Holy Sepulchre, considered the major Christian shrine of Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem has got an interesting feature – it is divided into four quarters: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian. Each of them has its own unique character and colour, so this fact accentuates the city’s uniqueness once again.
One of the most ancient cities in the world is located in Israel. In a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, there is the city of Nazareth. According to the legend, this is where Archangel Gabriel announced Christ’s birth to Mary; Jesus spent the first years of his life and worked his eight wonders in this city. At different times, a lot of cathedrals, temples, and churches were built in Nazareth, and the most important of them are Church of St Gabriel built near the fountain, where Virgin Mary heard the good news and St Joseph Church, where thousands years ago his carpentry shop was located.
Comparing to Jerusalem and Nazareth, Bethlehem is a cradle of Christianity. This city mentioned in the Holy Scriptures is considered one of the oldest in the world. Millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world want to visit Church of the Nativity, built by Empress Helena in the 4th century. Our Lady of Bethlehem, a miracle-working icon, is located in this church.
Israel is a land of contrasts. Along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the current economic, cultural and business centre of the country – Tel Aviv – is located. It is the second largest Israeli city; embassies of many countries are situated there. There are numerous hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars in the capital, so its life never stops, even at night. The largest in the Middle East open market, a variety of museums and cultural centres attract tourists to this city. Near Tel Aviv there is Caesarea, a place of large-scale archaeological excavations. There you will see an enormous historical park with remains of the ancient Roman water supply system and the most ancient amphitheatre built by King Herod.
Combination of spiritual wealth and natural resources gives a special charm to holidays in this country. People from all over the world come to Israel for treatment, to gain strength and summon up fresh energy. Healing properties of the Dead Sea located on the Israel’s territory are widely known. The sea water is rich in various minerals. Incidentally, its healing power was well known in ancient times. Various medicines and cosmetics were based on mud and sea salt. Cleopatra had used its mud and sea water to keep her beauty. Not far from the coast there are the Judean Mountains, where you can see a lot of churches and monasteries, the most famous of them are Trappist Monastery, French Convent in Emmaus, St George Monastery, and St Gerasimos Monastery-Oasis.
The climate in Israel is quite various and depends on the geographical location and the terrain. The coastal zone is characterized by the Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and short mild winters. The weather in the centre of Israel is cooler, and in the south you should expect tropical climate, which is the most favourable in the country.
Such cities as Ashdod, Tiberias, Eilat, Haifa, Tel Aviv and others have access to the sea. The most popular is the southernmost city of Eilat on the Red Sea. Its unique climate amazes tourists: the summer heat is born very easily due to the dry air, and in winter the temperature does not fall below +22°C. It is definitely a great place for diving, snorkelling and surfing.
Haifa is an ancient city and a sea port, which has been located on the Mediterranean coast at Mount Carmel since the times of Ancient Rome. The main symbols of this beautiful city are the magnificent Baha’i Gardens, founded by followers of the world religion of Baha'i.
The diversity of climate in Israel allows combining a beach holiday with skiing. The highest mountain in Israel is Hermon, where you can enjoy a variety of winter sports, go tobogganing, skiing, as well as cable car climbing. Hermon is partly occupied by a national reserve.
High level of local medicine has gained its fame far beyond the boundaries of the country. Complex surgeries are successfully handled in Israel; various cases are diagnosed as well. High-technologies favour developing of modern alternative medicine in the country.
The Israeli cuisine is worthy of special attention. The Israelis prefer a hearty breakfast with lots of vegetables, fish, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs and olives. For lunch, they usually offer to enjoy local shawarma – meat roasted on the grill. In the menu of any restaurant you’ll find hummus – mashed yellow peas with garlic, onion and spices. Talking about seafood, grilled St Peter's fish and marinated tuna should be mentioned. Sweets are very loved by the Israelis, especially popular are nut cookies made from several kinds of nuts, caramel pudding "Malabo", baklava and candied fruit. Many residents of this country hold kosher food that meets all the requirements of kashrut, a Jewish dietary law. Kosher food system is the most ancient tradition, carefully kept and passed on from generation to generation. The basic idea of the kosher food is eating only healthy, useful and environmentally safe products.
Israel charms everyone who comes here. Gorgeous beaches on the coast of the four seas, unique historical and natural reserves, religious shrines, unique Israeli resorts, as well as striking, modern and ancient cities can be found by you in this beautiful warm country.
Administrative division — Israel
Jerusalem Population: 801000
- Ashdod Population: 220000
- Ashkelon Population: 112900
- Bat Yam Population: 128979
- Be'er Sheva Population: 194300
- Bet Shemesh Population: 80600
- Bnei Brak Population: 144663
- Hadera Population: 80200
- Haifa Population: 270348
- Herzliya Population: 87000
- Holon Population: 165787
- Kfar Saba Population: 83600
- Nahariya Population: 51200
- Nazareth Population: 81410
- Netanya Population: 171676
- Petah Tikva Population: 209600
- Ramat Gan Population: 128095
- Ramla Population: 65800
- Rishon LeZion Population: 228200
- Tel Aviv Yaffo Population: 404750