Discover Israel's Turbulent Past Through These Lost Cities

It looks quite obvious that Israel, the land considered to be the birthplace of Judaism as well as Christianity has a strong and profound history. I have always had a keen interest in learning about the hotch-potch of cultures and traditions through the ages and the turbulent narratives from the bygone days of Israel have always fascinated me. You might have visited the beaches of Tel Aviv, churches of Jeruselum, and swam on the Dead Sea; but this time when you are in the country, go discovering the lost cities of Israel and you will feel like touching history while getting connected to the lives that were spent here. Following is the list of lost cities in Israel where you will know the precious secrets of the country’s past!

1. Gezer: The pride of Judaean Mountains

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Today what you see just as the scattered pillars of stone once used to be a major Canaanite center. The 3,000 years old Canaanite city was at full grandeur and glory when it was attacked by the Pharaoh king of Egypt and after over a hundred years, the city was rebuilt by Solomon. Famous for its water system and calendar, the city of Gezer lies at the foothills of the Judaean Mountains. Along with Hazor and Megiddo, archaeologists have found a giant Solomon gate in Gezer too.

2. Korazim: The city cursed by Jesus

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Korazim also spelled as Chorazin, is supposed to be one of the three Galilean cities that were cursed by Jesus. One of the Biblical sites in Israel, Korazim can be found at the Korazim Plateau in the Galilee. Walk through the Roman and Byzantine ruins of Korazim and you will step back in the time when a huge Jewish Synagogue was its part. Archaeologists have found that the cities were built by black basalt rocks while the entire city was established in the 1st century AD. 

3. Masada: The site of the Jewish revolt

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Overlooking the Dead Sea, Masada Israel has a dramatic desert location and is an ancient fortress city in Jordan. The fortification dates back to the year 30 BC, while in 10 BC it became the birthplace of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. The ruins of Masada tell its isolated status after the Jewish Zealots were crushed in 73 AD. Along with the remains of siege bases, you will see King Herod’s Palace sprawling over 3 terraces, floors decorated with mosaics, and bathhouses signifying Roman luxury. 

4. City of David: The heart of Jerusalem

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When it comes to the ancient Palestinian cities, no list can be complete without mentioning the City of David. The City of David had built the core of ancient Jerusalem. One of the most intensively excavated sites in Israel, the City of David has been a part of biblical archaeology for long. In addition to the ancient water system, the findings at the City of David include a monumental stepped street, a large stone structure, city walls and towers, tunnels and tombs. 

5. Caesarea: The capital of Byzantine Palestine

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Located on the midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa Israel, Caesarea used to be a major seaport town during the reign of Herod. On visiting Caesarea, you will find the ruins of an ancient harbor made by huge concrete blocks and the remains of Hellenistic-Roman era buildings. The ancient capital of Byzantine-era Palestine and one of the most famous cities in Israel, Caesarea features a large Roman amphitheater, forts, and a hippodrome with beautiful frescoes. 

6. Sepphoris: The land of colorful mosaics

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When it comes to the list of cities in Israel where you delve into its glorious past, Zippori or Sepphoris deserves a mention. Located in the central Galilee region of Israel, Sepphoris is the site of the famous Crusader Fortress. Overlooking the Beit Netofa Valley, the ancient city of Sepphoris was one of the most important cities during the Roman and Byzantine period. Sepphoris is also the place where Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi wrote Mishan in the 2nd century. Although a number of interesting things were found during the excavations here, the most beautiful articles are the colorful mosaics. 

7. Petra: One of the seven wonders of the world

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Lying between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, Petra shares a half-hidden position in the southern part of Jordan. Believed to be settled in 9,000 BC, the Nabataean caravan-city of Petra offers a number of treasured facts. Voted as one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World' in 2007, Petra is known for Al-Khazneh, the most elaborate temple of Nabataean Kingdom. If you are wondering who built Petra, it was the joint contribution of Nabataean and Greek architects. The popularity of Petra is such that it was featured in the 1989 film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Daily tours from Israel to Petra, Jordan are available as Israel is its neighboring country. 

Petra, Korazim, or Masada- when it comes to Israel’s tumultuous and tempting past, it’s always “a tale of more than two cities”, as wherever you go, you will find something new and spellbinding.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After five years of her teaching career, Shraddhanvita decided to make 'travel' her passion. For her 'a rolling stone does gather moss' ...

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