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EricHammer / Uncategorized / See Ashkelon and have a whale of a time!

See Ashkelon and have a whale of a time!

14 June, 201014 June, 2010 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized
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Were Jonah to have washed up in modern Ashkelon instead of Ninveh, he would have been forgiven for believing that he'd shown up at the home of the great whale. That's because the city of Ashkelon is home to a new artistic project, the "Whales on the Beach." The 1.25 million shekel (About $325,000) project was installed on the new boardwalk north of the Ashkelon marina and also includes bars where children can climb while they visit the beach.

While you're having a whale of a time on the Ashkelon beach, be sure to check out some of the other attractions that Ashkelon has to offer. While there are no well known Christian sites here, there are remains of a few Byzantine era churches around the city which should prove quite interesting. In addition, the Ashkelon museum is located inside of a converted mosque which was there since the middle ages.

However, probably the most interesting thing to see in Ashkelon is the Tel Ashkelon ruins. This is the ancient city of Ashkelon, located southwest of the city. It was originally a Canaanite city and was mentioned in the bible as having been conquered by the Philistines. It was also the site of the famous story of Samson, who brought the down the walls of the temple on his enemies.

In addition to the ruins of the ancient city, there are also numerous picnic areas and a beach where you can go for a dip. The ruins themselves however are quite fascinating. One item not to be missed is the semicircular wall surrounding the ancient city. It was built by the Crusader Richard Coeur De Lion (Richard The Lionhearted) in 1192. The wall originally included four gates, Jaffa Gate which was located in the north, Jerusalem Gate, in the east, the Gaza gate in the south and finally the seat gate, which was in the west and of course faced the sea.

Other notable items at the site include a monument erected by Herod the Great and a relief showing Atlas (the Greek god) carrying the world with the goddess Victory standing over him. There is also a depiction of Isis with her son Horus (of ancient Egyptian mythology, but adopted later by the Greeks as well). Try not to go on the weekend when the park is crowded with Israeli families who are there less for the ruins than for the beautiful view.

Beyond the ancient, there is also the fun - the Ashkeluna water park will let you and the kids cool off while you enjoy the warm Mediterranean climate here. The park covers about 10 acres and is designed to be easily accessible, not requiring a great deal of walking from its visitors. While somewhat small, the park does have several water slides, including a slalom which is reputed to be the longest one in Israel and two "kamikaze" slides for those ten and older which are reportedly the tallest in Israel.

Beyond that, the city of Ashkelon offers a total of 12 kilometers (about 8 miles) worth of beaches from which to simply relax and enjoy a sunny day in the land of Jesus.

Ashkeluna Water Park

Delilah Beach, Ashkelon

08-6739970

Call for current hours

Entrance: 78 Shekels (Around $20)

Ashkelon Museum

Hatzmaut Square, Migdal

08-6727002

Sunday-Thursday 9:00-13:00, 16:00-19:00. Friday 09:00-13:00, Saturday 10:00-13:00.

Entrance: Free

Ashkelon National Park (Ancient Ashkelon)

HaTayasim St., Ashkelon

08-673-6444; 08-673-9660

8 A.M.-10 P.M., Year round

Entrance: 25 shekels adults (about $8) 13 shekels children (about $4.25)

For more information, check out the City of Ashkelon's web page and the Tourism Ministry's explanation about the Whales on the Beach art display. Also be sure to check out the Israel National Parks web page on Ashkelon National Park.

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EricHammer
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Traveler's tip, another point of view on the Holy Land

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