Zichron Yaakov Tourist Attractions
Situation and characteristicsZikhron Ya'aqov, founded by Romanian immigrants in 1882 on the southern slopes of Mount Carmel, 33km/21mi south of Haifa, is now one of Israel's most important towns. The growing of vines and almond-trees was introduced by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1887, and a bottle factory was established at Nahsholim, 9km/6mi west. The settlers showed their gratitude by naming the village and its synagogue, built in 1885 at the expense of the Rothschild family, after Edmond de Rothschild's father Jacob (James).
Bet Aaronsohn (Beit Aaronson)
In the main street of Zikhron Ya'aqov is Bet Aaronsohn, the house of Aharon Aaronsohn (1876-1917), a distinguished botanist who during the First World War founded an underground organization to fight the Turkish rulers of Palestine.
On the southern outskirts of Zikhron Ya'aqov a road goes off on the right to Ramat Hanadiv ("Hill of the Benefactor"), on which Baron Edmond de Rothschild had expressed the wish to be buried; and in 1954 his remains and those of his wife Ada were brought from France to Israel in an Israeli warship and given a state burial here. The entrance to the luxuriant and carefully tended park containing the Rothschild Mausoleum is on the south side. To the west is a map carved in stone showing all the settlements in Israel founded by Edmond de Rothschild. In the center of the park, entered through a rectangular courtyard, is his mausoleum, impressive in its simple monumentality.
Two km/1.25mi west of Binyamina is the moshav of Bet Hananya, founded in 1950. Here there are two Roman aqueducts which carried water to Caesarea. Excavations on Tel Mevorakh, to the north of the village, have shown that there was a Hyksos fortress here (18th-16th centuries B.C.). On the eastern slopes of the tell was found a mausoleum of the Roman period, probably belonging to a family from Caesarea. Two sarcophagi from this site are now in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.
West of Bet Hananya on the coast road is the "Crocodile River" (Nahal Hataninim), which was the habitat of crocodiles until around 1900. The area round the mouth of the river is now a nature reserve with a wide range of flora and fauna.
Beyond Nahal Hataninim, on a sandstone ridge, is the kibbutz of Ma'agan Mikhael, founded in 1949. Stone for Herod's buildings in Caesarea was quarried here and water was conveyed to the city in a channel which was partly hewn from the rock and partly carried on aqueducts.
5km/3mi south of Zikhron Ya'aqov is the settlement of Binyamina, named after Edmond (Benjamin) de Rothschild, which was founded in 1922 as an offshoot from Zikhron Ya'aqov.