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Central and Southern Israel

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Lod? Where in God’s Earth is that?

For many hundreds of years, the city was the primary settlement of the Jewish population after the rebellion against the Romans, and later on, a center for the Christian population, that still lives there today.

Selected sites in Central and Southern Israel

Emmaus, located between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, is marked by the ruins of a 12th-Century church. After his resurrection, Jesus joined two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus: “That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them” (Lk. 24:13-15).


A visit to the Dir Hag’ala site and the site of the baptism

The monastery was established in the fifth century CE by the father of the church, Hieronymus, and the monk, Gerasimus. From then and until today, the monastery was destroyed many times, by Muslim or Persian invaders, or from earthquakes. The monastery has been renovated, and many of the original structures, including floorings, have been kept.

A lavishly adorned mosaic, chiseled stones, as well as mementos and personal items belonging to ancient monks.


Ekron was an ancient city in Israel first settled by the Canaanites in the Bronze Age. During the Iron Age, with the invasion of the Sea People, the city became an important Philistine city. At the end of the 8th century BC the Assyrians conquered the city and took over. At that time the city was known as a manufacturer of olive oil on a large scale.

National Plan Launched to Excavate the Judean Desert Caves and Rescue the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Heritage Project in the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs, and together with the Minister of Culture and Sport, MK Miri Regev, is promoting a national plan for comprehensive archaeological excavations in the Judean Desert caves to rescue the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are among the earliest texts written in the Hebrew language.

Shivta- The desert city in the incense route

The four Nabatean towns of Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta, along with associated fortresses and agricultural landscapes in the Negev Desert, are spread along routes linking them to the Mediterranean end of the incense and spice route. Together they reflect the hugely profitable trade in frankincense and myrrh from south Arabia to the Mediterranean, which flourished from the 3rd century BC until the 2nd century AD.

Qumran National Park

The Qumran site was discovered in 1946 by a bedouin boy, who went to find a lost goat, but instead found a cave in which clay pots were hidden. In these pots, a treasure of manuscripts was discovered. This discovery led to the discovery of over 700 additional manuscripts in this area.

Elah Valley


Wadi Qilt

The wadi itself is good for travel only for those out for a pleasant day hike. In ancient times, people made their way on the route above. Some of the biblical events which likely occurred on this route include: David’s flight from Absalom (2 Sam 15-16), Zedekiah’s flight from the Babylonians (2 Kgs 25:4), the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), and Jesus’ travels from Jericho to Jerusalem (e.g., Luke 19:28).


Herodium is 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem and 8 miles south of Jerusalem. Its summit is 2,460 feet above sea level.
Herod built or rebuilt eleven fortresses. This one he constructed on the site of his victory over Antigonus in 40 BC.
Herod's Herodium