The geography of Israel is no less surprising than its history, and no less paradoxical than its character. On a small patch of truly amazing land, rivers and lakes and seas and mountains and desert are collected. Snowy peaks are easily replaced by hot beaches, and not with a changeable season, but only after several hundred kilometers. The entire territory of the country, 27,800 square kilometers, is usually divided into four main geographical regions.
The Mediterranean coastal plain, stretching along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Lebanon in the northern part and the Gaza Strip (Aza) in the south. A fairly narrow strip, from five kilometers wide in the north to forty kilometers. in the south, with fertile lands, high humidity and a great danger of periodically occurring epidemics of malaria, as many malaria mosquitoes swarmed on previously swampy soils. At present, the epidemics of malaria are in the past, and the fertility of the earth has been preserved in the present.
The Jordanian reef plain forms a unique hollow, often referred to as the Jordanian in honor of the river flowing here and which is the border with Jordan. Part of the large geological fault area, called the Syrian-African reef. On the plain territory there is Lake Kinneret (the most important reserves of fresh water) and the Dead Sea,
The Negev desert covers the south of the country, spreading over 12 thousand kilometers, and being a continuation of the Sinai desert, forms a triangle, the base of which is the strip between the Be'er Sheva and the Dead Sea and the peak at the Judean hills.
The central hills, they are the Judean hills, are a mountain range stretching east of the Coastal Valley and forming a plateau in the north - Galilee. The highest point of the ridge is Mount Meron, 1208 meters above sea level. In the south, on the West Bank, the Samaria hills are located, and to the south of Jerusalem - the Jewish hills with an average height of 610 meters. Here is Mount Hebron, well above the average, 950 meters high. Despite the fact that this area is characterized by a folded-block structure, the relief does not reflect pronounced folding, since the late currents had the maximum influence on the formation of the landscape, geologically forming a block and broken surface. Steeply descending massifs are multiple cut by deep valleys.
From ancient times Mount Hebron was considered a blessed place promised to the forefather Abraham by the Lord Himself, and in fact the nature of this area in every way confirms God's blessing with its diversity and wealth. Abbot Daniel, describing his wanderings, wrote about Mount Hebron as a place rich in “all good”: wheat and wine, oil and all kinds of vegetables, and livestock are abundant here. Sheep and livestock, in accordance with the work of Daniel, are born twice in the summer, under each stone of a beautiful mountain area richly decorated with wildflowers, bees swarm, giving sweet honey. Vineyards are planted on the slopes of the mountains and orchards with numerous fertile trees bloom: horns and olives, figs and apples, cherries and peaches, and all kinds of vegetables, better that the hegumen had not met before. The springs and freshwater streams that are of great importance to these places are potable and good for health, and all is well here. The beauty and wealth of the amazing land of Mount Hebron.
On Mount Hebron is a city of the same name - Hebron, one of the richest in its deep history dating back to Old Testament times, and more precisely to the very first people Adam and Eve. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, on top of a mountain, Hebron is less attractive than the beautiful Jaffa, located in the Coastal Valley and part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa agglomeration, or gray-haired Acre, relentlessly attracting tourists to its halls.
Hebron, being one of the most sacred and revered cities in the country, attracts the eyes of the Jewish (and not only) public not only by the beauty and sanctity of its places, but also by the complex tense atmosphere and tense relations between the many thousands of Arab and small Jewish populations. This is a city of continuous struggle of the Jewish people for the right to be present on the Promised Land. Located here, one of the largest shrines of both Jewish and Arab peoples - Mahpela Cave, known in Christianity as the Cave of the Patriarchs, has been a stumbling block for both nations for many centuries, and the Jews regained access to the shrine only in 1967, after a break of seven hundred years. Machpela Cave - the first place acquired by Abraham for the burial of his wife and himself afterwards. The descendants of Abraham with their wives are buried here: Isaac with his wife Rivka and Jacob with his Leah, as well as the first people who were created by God and laid the foundation of the human race Adam and Eve, as described in the Book of Zohar. According to the Scriptures, Adam conducting near the cave, saw the glow of Paradise breaking out, from which he was expelled, and bequeathed to rest his remains in this Cave. Abraham, however, discovered the peculiarity of the cave when he knew behind the ox to feed the three wanderers who met him in the oak grove of the Old Testament times, “Mamre”. According to the basic version, this Lord appeared before him in the form of three angels. This episode is depicted in the Orthodox iconography as the Holy Trinity, conversing with Abraham.
The cave is no less sacred both for Christians and for representatives of Islam, who revere Abraham and his ancestor.
The oak tree under which Abraham talked with the Lord in the form of the Holy Trinity and received promises from God - the remnant of a magnificent ancient oak grove, has survived to this day, and is called the Mamvri oak, stands on a piece of land belonging to the Russian Orthodox Compound, on the territory of the Holy Trinity Monastery. The Christian presence in Hebron, despite the high importance of these places for the Orthodox world, is not large and is limited to the territory purchased earlier by the Russian Orthodox Church and transferred to the current Russian Spiritual Mission. On this territory are the Temples of Hebron. You can’t be silent about the fact that this is the only site belonging to Russian Orthodoxy related to the Old Testament times. To date, the passions that have raged around the courtyard have not yet settled down and Christian pilgrims have again got the opportunity to come to the top of Mount Hebron to bow to their forefathers and kneel down to the land promised by God and blessed.
The site contains Hebron attractions - photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you will find answers to questions: what to see in Hebron, where to go and where are popular and interesting places in Hebron.
Mineral Beach is a natural beach on the shores of the Dead Sea in Jerusalem. Its territory is equipped with everything necessary for a relaxing holiday for tourists and local residents. The entrance fee is 50 shekels. The shore is equipped with a reservoir of mud from natural deposits in the Dead Sea, which is free.
The beach consists of salt deposits and smooth pebbles. It is equipped with a shower, toilet, cabins for changing clothes, lots of sun loungers and tents. There are several cafes and small shops on the shore, where everyone can buy beach accessories, food and drinks. Also available is an indoor pool with water enriched with hydrogen sulfide, and a children's pool with fresh water. The beach is furnished with wooden benches, and skilled massage therapists are always ready to go to work.
This beach is used not only for swimming, but also as a place for corporate events, holistic and relaxing treatments. Near the beach entrance there is a bus and car parking, and nearby is the Ein Gedi National Park and a cactus farm.
Machpela Cave (Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron)
According to legend, the first man was created from the red earth taken on the site of the current Hebron. According to the Torah, forefather Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah for "four hundred shekels of silver." According to legend, people lived here after being expelled from Paradise. “Marat ha-Mahpela” (“Double Cave” or the Cave of the Patriarchs) is one of the most important shrines for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Jewish veneration of the graves of the forefathers began no later than the era of the Second Temple. In those days, their tombs were richly decorated with marble, and the cave itself was surrounded by a wall, although without a roof. It was such an impressive structure that several centuries later, local residents attributed its construction to the genies. The Machpela Cave is located in the center of modern Hebron, and above it stands an ancient monumental structure with walls up to 12 meters high. Masonry made of hewn stones up to 7.5 meters long is characteristic of the era of King Herod, however, it was practiced earlier.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were also revered by Christians, so in the Byzantine era, the cave of Machpelah became a church. The Jews were ordered to pray separately, and so that they would not mix with Christians, a special entrance was even built for them.
After the conquest of Palestine by the Arabs, Machpela was turned into a mosque, a niche decorated with two columns and an arch, indicating the direction to Mecca, prayer rugs and mats was hollowed out in the wall. Then, a synagogue occupied another part of the building, but in the fall of 2010, UNESCO declared the cave of the patriarchs a mosque. Religious-historical disputes about the cave and the shrines in it have still not ceased.
The most popular attractions in Hebron with descriptions and photographs for every taste. Choose the best places to visit the famous places of Hebron on our website.
Jewish Hebron Edit
As of 2019, the Jewish population of Hebron was about 1000 people, and there were 300 students of the Shavei Hebron yeshiva in the city, most of them on the terms of a boarding school. Most of the city’s Jewish population is concentrated in the Avraham Avinu quarter, located on the site of the ancient Jewish quarter. In the building of the former Beit Hadassah Jewish hospital, 30 families live permanently, there is also a synagogue and a memorial museum in memory of those killed during the 1929 Pogrom in Hebron. The “Shavei Hebron” Yeshiva is located in the building of the 19th-century Beit Romano Jewish hotel, on the adjacent site are the IDF base and the Hizkiyagu Quarter, where several families live in portable homes. The tombs of Ruth and Jesse, located in the Arab quarter of Tel-Rumeida, have the Admot Ishay quarter, which includes two buildings and seven portable houses (a land plot of 80 hectares was bought by Jews in the early 19th century). The Beit Hashalom building was redeemed from Palestinian developers in 2007; in 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court declared the deal legal and allowed new owners to populate it, subject to approval by the Israeli Minister of Defense received the same year. In 2001, after the assassination by a Palestinian sniper of a 10-month-old girl, Shalgevet Paz, 18 families founded the Mitspe Shalgevet quarter. The quarter was located on lands that belonged to the Sephardic Jewish organization Magen-Avot from the 17th century and were used by the Palestinians as a market. In 2006, by a decision of the Minister of Defense, the quarter was temporarily evacuated and is now used by the army. There are several houses (Beit Shapiro, Beit Mahpela and others) that were purchased from their previous owners through third parties, but the Jewish families who settled there were evicted by the Israeli police, and their settlement is delayed until the Israeli Supreme Court lawsuits by Palestinian organizations. More than 260 families from different parts of Israel are waiting in line on the waiting list for relocation to Hebron. But any new construction meets with strong resistance from the Palestinian Authority. Moreover, in different parts of the city there are houses and lands that belonged to Jews before the exile, even Jordanian registers of Jewish property included records of 24 houses and 20 land plots source not specified 616 days .
An important role in the revival of Jewish Hebron was played by a repatriate from the USSR, professor of physics Bentsion Tavger. Through his efforts, the synagogue named after Abraham and the old Jewish cemetery were restored from the ruins. For many years, the famous Israeli artist Shmuel Mushnik, who was born in Moscow, lives in Hebron. In August 2017, at the insistence of the new Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, the commander of the Central District signed an order to create the Jewish municipality of Hebron.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists and pilgrims from around the world visit the main Jewish shrine of Hebron - the Cave of Machpelah. The stream is especially great during the Jewish holidays “Passover” and “Sukkot”.
Hebron (Al-Khalil) - a city on the West Bank. 80% of the city is controlled by the Palestinian National Authority and belongs to Zone A. 20% of the city is controlled by the Israel Defense Forces. Hebron is located on the mountain of the same name, 927 meters high, 30 kilometers south of Jerusalem. Hebron's area is 74.1 km², the population is 229.26 thousand people, more than 166 thousand of which are Palestinian Arabs. Hebron is one of the oldest in the world and among the Jews it is considered a holy city along with Jerusalem, Tiberias and Safed.
Up Last changes: 07/22/2019
It is known that until 1300 Hebron was the center of Canaanite culture. According to the Old Testament, rephaims lived here - giants who were the children of Canaanite women and fallen angels.
In the XIII century BC e. Jews conquered the city and since then have continuously lived here until 1929.
In 950 BC e. Hebron became the first capital of King David. Here Absalom, the son of David, proclaimed himself king and raised a rebellion against his father. Under king Rehoboam, Hebron was one of the most important cities in the south of the kingdom of Judea.
From 597 to 539 BC e. a significant part of the Jewish population of Judea was forcibly resettled in Babylonia, after which the Edomites settled Hebron. Under Alexander Yannai, the city became part of the Hasmonean kingdom.
Under Herod the Great and his sons, Hebron was part of Judea, after - part of the Roman province of Judea, later renamed Palestine. In the Roman period, Hebron was a small town and was called Avramius.
The development of Hebron began during the time of Byzantine rule - the city was at the crossroads from Jerusalem to Egypt and through Petra to Jordan. Under the Byzantines, the famous cave of Machpelah, a sacred place for the Jews, was used as a church. Jews were exiled and fled from Palestinian cities, including Hebron, to other states.
In 614, Hebron was occupied by the Persian army of Khosrov II, but the Byzantines soon recaptured the city.
In 638, Hebron, like all of Palestine, was conquered by the Arabs. The city was named Khalil al-Rahman. However, Muslims were much more loyal to the Jews, and they began to return to the city. A synagogue was built near the cave of Machpela. Thanks to Jewish merchants, trade with the Bedouins and other nations in the Negev desert area intensified.
In the years 1100–1187, Hebron was ruled by the crusaders, who again began to expel Jews from Palestinian cities, and those who did not want to leave were killed. The city received a new name - Castellum. The Crusaders turned the Muslim mosque into a church, and the synagogue into a monastery.By the middle of the XII century, not a single Jew remained in the city.
In 1187, Muslim troops, led by the ruler of Salah ad-Din, expelled the crusaders from Hebron. Jews were again allowed to settle in Palestinian cities.
In 1260, the Mamluks conquered Palestine and turned Hebron into the provisional capital of their province. Despite the fact that the new rulers were not tolerant of Jews, the Jewish community began to revive in the city. Meanwhile, the invaders issued a law prohibiting Jews from entering the sacred cave of Machpel - you could only go up to the seventh step of the eastern entrance to the building. This ban lasted until the Six Day War.
In 1516, the territory of Palestine was captured by the troops of the Ottoman Empire, led by Sultan Selim I.
In 1517, after several battles, the defeated Mameluke army finally left the Palestinian cities. The Jews who were expelled from Spain began to come to Hebron. Soon a new community appeared in the city, a new synagogue, “Abraham Avinu” was built - the most beautiful in Palestine. Numerous rabbis and sages of the Torah, who wrote famous books on Judaism, lived in the Jewish quarter, located around the synagogue. Also, some Kabbalists from Safed moved to Hebron, which had a significant impact on the spiritual life of the local community. Life in the Jewish quarter was in full swing: there were schools, yeshivas, public institutions, as well as numerous trading shops and craft workshops. By the end of the 17th century, almost no Muslims remained in Hebron, as in other cities of Palestine.
In the XVII-XVIII centuries, the population of the Jewish quarter grew rapidly. Since Jews could not build houses outside the walls of the block, and there was less space left, existing houses were built on additional floors. Despite the fact that the Hebron community was very poor, each pilgrim could at his expense stay for a few days at the guesthouse.
At the beginning of the XIX century, Hasidim of Chabad settled in Hebron. Soon, new public institutions and yeshivas appeared in the city. Many Hebron Jews were given the opportunity to work, which improved the economic situation of the community. By the end of the 19th century, Jews made up almost a quarter of the city’s population.
At this time, the Turkish authorities tightened their attitude towards Jews. There was a ban on the purchase of land, monies were constantly growing. During World War I, Hebron Jews were again persecuted.
After the war, Palestine fell under a British mandate. Arab leaders called for the destruction of the Jewish community in Hebron, which the British authorities did not pay attention to. In 1929, a mass pogrom took place in the city. 67 Jews died, hundreds were crippled. Beit Hadassah Hospital, which treated all Hebron Jews, was looted and destroyed. In 1936, the Jewish population was evacuated from Hebron.
From 1948 to 1967, Hebron was occupied by Jordan. During the Six Day War of 1967, it came under Israeli control.
In 1968, an initiative group led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger decided to resume a Jewish presence in Hebron. A large Jewish quarter “Abraham Avinu” appeared.
In early 1997, in accordance with the Hebron agreements, the city was divided into two sectors: H1 and H2. Sector H1, which accounts for about 80% of the city’s territory, and in which 120,000 Palestinians live, has come under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The H2 sector, which is inhabited by 30,000 Palestinians, remains under the control of the Israeli army to protect the inhabitants of the Jewish quarter. You can go from sector to sector through any of the 16 Israeli checkpoints. In Hebron, armed clashes often take place between the Israeli army, Jewish settlers and Arabs.
Today, in Hebron, despite the tense political situation, about 1,000 Jews are constantly living.
Up Last changes: 07/22/2019
Tourists visit Hebron, mainly in order to see the cave of Machpelah. But there are other attractions in this city, and the architecture of the old part of Hebron resembles Jerusalem.
Cave of Machpela (cave of the Patriarchs)
Machpela Cave is a huge crypt in the center of the historical part of Hebron. According to biblical legends, the Jewish forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as their wives Sarah, Rebekah and Leah, are buried here. According to legend, Abraham bought this place from the Hitt Efron for 400 shekels of silver. It is believed that the bodies of Adam and Eve are also resting here. In Judaism, the cave is revered as the second holiest place - after the Temple Mount.
An ancient monumental structure with walls up to 12 m high rises above the cave. Archaeological studies date this building to the 1st century BC. e., however, she was repeatedly subjected to restoration. Under the building are ancient caves, which were never fully explored due to the religious sanctity of the place. Inside, the room is decorated with marble, in the center of it are the tombs of Abraham and Sarah.
In the Middle Ages, the Crusader monks discovered the skeletons of several people and fifteen jugs full of bones. Most likely, the remains belonged to Jews who, during their lifetime, wanted to be buried near the shrine.
Now most of the building (75%) is owned by Muslims and serves as a mosque, and only a small room (25%) is allocated for a synagogue. However, during the Jewish holidays, the entire structure functions as a synagogue, and during the Muslim holidays as a mosque. Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists and pilgrims from around the world visit the main shrine of Hebron. The flow of visitors is especially great during the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot.
The Machpela Cave is open around the clock. Admission is free, but you can order an on-site tour in English, French, Russian, Spanish, as well as Hebrew.
In Hebron, an evergreen oak has been preserved to this day, under which, according to legend, Abraham received God. The place where the oak grows has long been identified with the biblical oak grove of Mamre. The descriptions of the Mamvrian oak made by pilgrims in the XII century have survived to this day. In the late 1990s, the roots of the tree completely died out, and the bark dried out. To preserve the oak, it was reinforced with metal supports. Soon the tree began to give young shoots.
In 2019, the oldest part of the tree collapsed. Now a young tree is growing here, which continues to shoot. The ancient trunk will be exhibited in the church of the compound of the Holy Forefathers.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Compound in honor of the Holy Forefathers)
3 kilometers from the Machpela Cave, in the H1 sector under the control of the Palestinian National Authority, there is a Russian Orthodox monastery.
In the second half of the 19th century, next to the Mamvri oak, the efforts of the head of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Antonin, built a stone two-story house for Christian pilgrims. Due to the difficult situation in the city, where mainly Muslims lived, the question of building an Orthodox church in this place was raised only in 1904. The permission to build the temple was received only in 1914, after which the church of the Holy Forefathers was built.
In 1997, the monastery was transferred to the Moscow Patriarchate.
Up Last changes: 09/01/2019
Features of visiting Hebron
Hebron is the most interesting city in Palestine, but the situation here is extremely depressing. On both hills, between which the city is located, you can see the Israeli military base.
On the territory of the city, under Israeli military control, there are constantly border guards who patrol the streets and monitor any movement. Observation towers are located on the roofs of many houses, and Israeli snipers can shoot a rubber bullet at any time if they deem anyone else's behavior suspicious. For your own safety, you must behave naturally, not express violent emotions and not photograph soldiers.
Local teenagers are extremely aggressive: they like to stone Israeli soldiers as entertainment, but tourists can also get it. In addition, the Hebron Arabs are sure: city guests take pictures of them in order to transfer the pictures to Israeli security officials.
Orthodox Jews carry weapons in case of attack by Arabs - such a picture can only be seen in Hebron.
Palestinian and Jewish families can live in the same house, but at the same time the house will be separated by bars, barbed wire or metal sheets: the Israeli authorities are thus trying to protect their citizens from attacks by Palestinians. The streets in many places are also blocked by high fences or concrete walls.
Life was in full swing in urban markets a few years ago, but now they are closed and enclosed by walls. The streets are deserted, tourists in Hebron are a rarity.
Up Last changes: 07/23/2019
Despite its proximity to Jerusalem, the climate of Hebron differs markedly from the capital. It has quite hot summers and warm winters, but due to its location in the mountains, precipitation in Hebron can occur in the summer, which is rare for most regions of Israel.
The hottest months in Hebron are July and August. The temperature at this time is kept within + 30 ° C. In calm weather, even heat-loving tourists can hardly stand the heat, and hot gadgets cannot be picked up. In the summer months in Hebron it is very easy to sunbathe. If a light wind blows, the heat is much easier. In this case, after sunset, it noticeably colds.
Autumn does not happen in Israel: hot summers change sharply in winter. At the end of November it is getting colder, there are heavy showers, gusty, piercing through the winds blowing. The rainy season ends in February.
The most comfortable weather in Hebron for tourists from the middle lane is from March to the end of May and from late September to mid-November.
Up Last changes: 07/23/2019
How to get to Hebron
Since there is no international airport in Palestine, tourists can enter Palestinian cities only through Israel.
To get to Hebron, you need to take any bus to Kiryat Arba at the central bus station in Jerusalem, after having learned the exact timetable on the website of the Egged bus company.
From the checkpoint on the outskirts of Kiryat Arba you need to walk through the checkpoint to the Arabic part of Hebron, where the main attractions of the city are located. The journey takes about 20 minutes.
You can also get from the bus station near Damascus Gate on a blue Arabian bus to Azaria and transfer to the yellow minibus to Hebron.
It is much easier to get to Hebron from Israel by a rented car: checking documents at the checkpoint does not take much time, and you can drive directly to the Machpela Cave - there is a parking nearby. Since Machpela is under Israeli military control, tourists will have to go through another document check.
Also in the capital of Israel you can buy an organized excursion to Hebron. Groups are always accompanied by armed guards. Hebron guides are local Jews who prefer to focus on the current political situation in the city, and not at all on its historical significance. At the same time, soldiers patrolling the streets calmly relate to tourist groups: guides thoroughly think through the route and do not allow tourists to take an extra step to the side, explaining this by caring for their own safety.
For those who want to stay in Palestine for a few days and see its most interesting sights, it is more convenient to stay in Bethlehem - in this city it is easy to find accommodation on Booking or AirBnB. From Bethlehem there are minibuses to Hebron. It is easiest to find out the schedule and the exact place of departure of the minibus from the owner of the accommodation facility.