If you haven’t been to Ashdod, you’re missing out. Just 40 minutes south of Tel Aviv and only an hour’s drive from Jerusalem, the ancient city of Ashdod has been revived as a beautiful, tourist-friendly destination on the Mediterranean coast.
The history of Ashdod goes back to biblical times, and tradition teaches that the prophet Jonah’s tomb is nearby. The city was established by the Canaanites, made into a major metropolis by the Philistines, and later controlled by the Ottoman Empire. It was here that the Ark of the Covenant was brought after being captured and taken from the Israelites. Remnants of several civilizations make the archaeological remains of ancient Ashdod quite fascinating.
The modern city has everything you could want: luxury hotels, fine restaurants, spectacular entertainment venues, gorgeous beaches, and more!
“Over the past five years, the Ashdod Tourism Development Company has put a big priority on developing tourist attractions and hotels,” says Eddie Ben-Lish of the municipality’s tourism office.
“We’ve opened two five-star hotels – the Leonardo Plaza and the West Hotel – as well as Ashdod-Yam [Sea] Park, which has a manmade lake and a spectacular musical fountain.” You can enjoy the dancing water jets, colored light strobes and synchronized music Sunday through Thursday nights at 6:30, 8:30 and 10:15; Saturday nights at 8:30 and 10:15.
Walking along the Lachish Stream promenade northwestern Ashdod, you’ll come across a free zoo housing zebras, rare Berber sheep, deer, ostriches and other animals. Ben-Lish tells ISRAEL21c there’s a new beach promenade being built along Ashdod’s 7.5-kilometer (4.6-mile) Mediterranean shoreline, along with another luxury hotel.
Many kilometers of bike paths string the city and its nature spots, with more lanes under construction.
In addition to the Ashdod Nitzanim Sand Dune Park, the city boasts many bathing beaches. At the Keshatot (Arches) Beach, you’ll find many popular eateries. Dining in Ashdod is a multiethnic experience, as Ben-Lish points out that the city is home to large communities of immigrants from nine different countries.
“You can find excellent restaurants with French, Ethiopian, Kurdish, Russian and other types of cuisine, and of course we are famous for fish restaurants,” he says. “There is a very big variety.”
Read the full story here at Israel21c.