Pastoral Ein Hemed National Park makes a perfect destination for nature-lovers, and those looking for tranquil surroundings. Ein Hemed is conveniently located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, south of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway and opposite Abu Gosh. It offers picnic areas, playgrounds, the remains of a Crusader structure, ancient burial caves, and a babbling stream.
The arcadian park is green year-round with lush vegetation, Mediterranean woodlands, old orchard trees, and Palestine oaks which are the largest of their kind in the Jerusalem hills. In winter and spring, the ground is covered with a carpet of wildflowers including cyclamen, narcissi, anemones, and buttercups. Hundreds of years ago this location would have been beside a Roman road connecting Jerusalem with the coastal plain.
The main attraction of the park is a well-preserved fortified Crusader structure that was once part of an agricultural settlement and would have been one of the fortresses built to protect pilgrims traveling along the road to Jerusalem. The abundant water sources in the area made it ideal for farming. The park was established in 1968 to protect the Crusader remains and natural surroundings.
Highlights of Ein Hemed
Crusader Fortress: Visitors can explore the remains of a Crusader structure that is believed to have been part of the Aqua Bella agricultural farm. The fortress was built in the mid-12th-century to protect farmlands given to the Order of the Hospitallers. The Hospitallers were the medical branch of the Crusaders who took care of ailing pilgrims and wounded Crusaders.
The homestead may have been used as a convalescent home for knights of the Order. Archaeological excavation has revealed that the fortress would have had two stories and covered about 1,000m². The complex was characterized by rooms with vaulted ceilings, an entrance gate, a courtyard, and a watchtower.
Recycled Stream: A closed system collects water from a spring that feeds the Kesalon Stream, and returns it to the starting point so that it continuously flows. This prevents the stream from drying up in the hot Israeli summers.
Burial Caves: Visitors can take the circular hike trail past First Temple (957 BC-587 BC) era burial caves.
Hike Trail: A circular hike trail starts at the park entrance and takes visitors past the most important points of interest in the park including the burial caves, Crusader remains, and the stream. The hike continues to a lookout point with scenic views of the Jerusalem hills. The trail is accessible to wheelchairs and baby buggies.
The park has been made easily accessible for visitors. There are expansive lawns, picnic tables, toilets, and trees for shade. To visit Ein Hemed book one of our Jerusalem private tours.