#A thousand-year history
Israel is undoubtedly one of the most historic places in the world. A history that is both complex and exceptional, where the destinies of great civilizations are intertwined. For the traveller, the country offers a fascinating journey through time that begins in the footsteps of the Bible, in landscapes at the beginning of the world. Thus, the city of Jericho was founded about 9,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. The region was not only a cradle of the first civilizations, but also a land coveted by all the great empires, who left traces, often spectacular, of their presence there.
A sacred ground for all :
The "Holy Land" is the cradle of two great monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity, and is also home to several sacred sites of Islam. For centuries, all have crossed paths and found themselves on the soil of Palestine, a sacred land full of symbols for these three great religions. Their places of worship, scattered throughout the country, are called Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, Hebron, Lake Tiberias... All these names are strongly echoed by hundreds of millions of men and women around the world, whether they are believers, scholars or poets. It is in Jerusalem that religious fervour is most noticeable. And this is also where this time travel is most striking.
A mosaic of landscapes
In this country of very modest dimensions, the diversity of the landscapes is quite surprising. To the west lies the Mediterranean coast, with its beaches but also with its hinterland and fertile plains. To the north, Galilee multiplies its green landscapes and waterfalls. In the south, finally, the arid and desert landscapes of the Negev are ideal for hiking. Many nature reserves throughout the country allow you to admire this infinitely varied nature at your leisure.
A sporting destination
Israel is a privileged destination for sports enthusiasts. Between tennis, golf (in Caesarea), horseback riding, paragliding, cycling, climbing, rafting, bungee jumping, etc., they will be spoilt for choice. But it is especially for water sports that the country is famous. In Eilat, as in Tel Aviv and Haifa, you can enjoy windsurfing, water skiing or scuba diving. As for walkers, they will find many extremely well-marked hiking trails, the most famous of which is the Israel National Trail (1,000 km, from one end of the country to the other, divided into 11 sections).
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette