These places are considered holy in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The center of one of the youngest cults is also located in Israel – the local air provokes mystical revelations
On May 14, 1948, the future head of the government of the country, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed the creation of the State of Israel.
Researchers believe that the Arabs came up with this name when they saw how Jews mourn the fate of their people here. The place was holy for the Jews – there was a temple dedicated to the one God. The first, built by Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar. The temple was restored, but it was destroyed by the Romans. All that remains is the western wall, 488 meters long.
The Wailing Wall is called an open 57-meter section. The Jews came to pray at the wall. Those who could not come sent letters with requests and prayers. So the custom was born to put notes on the wall. Now messages are left here by everyone, regardless of religion. Twice a year, all notes are taken out of the wall and buried nearby on the Mount of Olives.
The largest stalactite and stalagmite cave in Israel was discovered by accident in May 1968 – when crushed stone was mined on Mount Haar Tuv at an altitude of 385 meters. After another explosion of rocks in the quarry, a small hole opened up, on the site of which the entrance to the cave was subsequently made.
On an area of 4800 m2 there are various types of stalactites (lime growths on the ceiling of the cave) and stalagmites (at the bottom), whose age, according to scientists, is up to 5 million years. Since 1975, excursions have been allowed here. The formation of stalactites and stalagmites is still ongoing, and visitors are asked not to touch anything with their hands.
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The Judean Desert
The area of the smallest desert in Israel is only 22 km2 (slightly larger than the area of Moscow within the Garden Ring), the rest is in Jordan and Palestine . Its name is associated with the descendants of Judah – one of the 12 sons of Jacob, from whom, according to the Holy Scriptures, the people of Israel originated.
The place served as a refuge for hermits and rebels – the future Jewish king David was hiding here from King Saul. Here, in the cave, John the Baptist lived until the age of 30, who later baptized Jesus Christ. Bedouins and Jewish settlers now live in the desert.
The main port of ancient Israel and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. According to legend, it is named after Japhet, the son of the biblical forefather Noah. It is believed that this is where Noah built the ark.
This place is also known from ancient Greek myths – in Joppa (Jaffa), Perseus defeated the sea monster and freed Andromeda, chained to a rock on the shore. And the first written mention of Jaffa is found in the Egyptian chronicles of the 15th century BC. e. – it appears in the list of cities captured by Pharaoh Thutmose III. Today, the ancient settlement is united with Tel Aviv into a single metropolis of Tel Aviv – Jaffa, and the port is the main local attraction.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
A temple built on the site where, according to Christian tradition, Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Now the temple is divided between six denominations of the Christian church: Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian, Coptic, Syrian and Ethiopian. However, in order to avoid conflicts between believers, the keys to it have been kept in the Arab-Muslim family since the end of the 12th century, and the right to unlock and lock the doors belongs to another Muslim dynasty (the keys have been handed down in families from father to son all this time).
In the temple, opposite the entrance to the cave of the Holy Sepulcher, from about the 4th century, the Navel of the Earth was designated – the symbolic Christian center of the world, the place of salvation of the human race. To show its exact location, here and now they put a low marble bowl with a ball inside, on which a cross is inscribed. The bowl is quite light and is chained to prevent tourists and pilgrims from moving or carrying away the Navel of the Earth.
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The center of one of the youngest Baha'i religions is located in Haifa and is known for its terraced gardens spread over Mount Carmel. The length of the terraces is about a kilometer, and they lead to the top of the mountain, where the relics of the Bab, the Iranian prophet, who predicted the coming of the founder of Bahaism, Bahá'u'lláh, are buried.
The Baha'i faith originated in the middle of the 19th century in Persia. Bahá'u'lláh declared that he was the messenger of the one God, and Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and Baba were his predecessors. In 1868 Bahá'u'lláh was exiled to Haifa. Pilgrims from Persia and Egypt flocked here. The city soon became a center of religion. $250 million was spent on the construction of the gardens. The money was donated by followers of the Baha'is.
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The Dead Sea
The drainless salt lake between Israel, Palestine and Jordan is the lowest part of the earth's surface. The water level here is 427 meters below the level of the oceans. The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water. About 340 grams of salts are dissolved in a liter of water, which is 10 times more than in the ocean.
Swimming in the Dead Sea is hard, but tourists come here not for swimming, but for the treatment of skin diseases. The local water and clay contain 50 billion tons of minerals belonging to 21 types, 12 of which are not found in any other natural reservoir.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES/FOTOBANK.COM (X2), CORBIS/ALL OVER PRESS (X2), CORBIS, SIME/ALL OVER PRESS, SHUTTERSTOCK, StockStudio/Alamy/Legion Media September 2014, partially updated in May 2023