Nahariya Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsNahariya, 30km/19mi north of Haifa on a beautiful stretch of the Mediterranean coast, was originally an agricultural settlement on the banks of the river Ga'aton founded in 1934 by Jews from Germany. It still bears the imprint of its original settlers, but has now developed into a popular seaside resort with beautiful scenery and many places of historical interest in the surrounding area.
Nahariya takes its name from the river (Nahar) Ga'aton, which reaches the Mediterranean here. In the last section of its course before entering the sea it flows down the middle of the town's main street, Sderot Haga'aton, which is lined by eucalyptus trees. On the north side of the street is the Town Hall, in which are the tourist information office and the Municipal Museum (modern painting on fifth floor, archeology on sixth). On the south side of the street are the railroad station and numerous cafes and restaurants. From the west end of the street Hama'apilim Street runs north to the boat landing-stages and the swimming pool. In the uncertain period before Israel became independent in 1948 Nahariya was cut off from its hinterland for many months and could be reached only by boat from Haifa. The Phoenicians built a Harbor here which remained in use into Byzantine and perhaps early Islamic times. On a hill by the beach are remains of a temple of the 15th century B.C. dedicated to the Canaanite fertility goddess Astarte.
5km/3mi north of Nahariya, at the mouth of the river Keziv, is the ancient site of Akhziv. The Old Testament city of Achzib had a mixed population, for "the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land" (Judges 1,31-32). The Phoenicians obtained their famous purple dye from shellfish here. Excavation brought to light a cemetery which was used for burial from the eighth to the sixth century B.C. The place was known to the Crusaders as Castel Imbert. In more recent times, until 1948, there was a village of Arab fishermen here. The site is now a National Park, with a very beautiful beach, extensive areas of grass and a restaurant. Immediately north of the National Park is a rather unprepossessing wooden house which contains an interesting private museum of archeological material. The owner purchased the property in 1952 and later declared it the independent state of Akhzivland, in which visitors can have their passport embellished by a very pretty stamp.
7km/4.5mi north of Akhziv, on the Lebanese frontier, is the white chalk cliff of Rosh Haniqra ("Cape of the Caves"). In the course of his expedition to Egypt Alexander the Great, like many armies and merchants' caravans before and after him, passed this way and had steps cut in the cliff to make it easier to scale. This staircase in the rock later became known as the Ladder of Tyre. On top of the cliff there is now a viewpoint affording superb panoramic views, with a restaurant, souvenir shops and a cableway running down to the caves at the foot of the cliff.
1km/0.75mi south of Nahariya is the kibbutz of Evron, founded in 1938 and named after the Old Testament town of Hebron in the territory of the tribe of Asher (Joshua 19,28). Excavations in 1951 revealed traces of Palaeolithic settlement and the mosaic pavement of a fifth century Byzantine church.
3km/2mi south of Nahariya is the village of Shave Zion, a seaside resort with a completely preserved mosaic pavement from an early Christian church. Farther south is the old port of Akko.
10km/6mi southeast of Nahariya is the international Christian settlement of Nes Amim ("Signal to the Nations"), which seeks to promote Christian and Jewish co-operation. It was founded in 1963 by young Christians, mostly from the Netherlands. To reach Nes Amim, leave Nahariya on the coast road to the south and at the turn-off for Shave Zion (on right) take a road on the left which runs via Regba and then bears south for Nes Amim.
15km/9mi northeast of Nahariya is the kibbutz of Hanita, founded in 1938, with a guest-house and a small museum displaying finds from the surrounding area.
Map of Nahariya Attractions