Fascinating New Tourist Attractions in Israel 2020
Israel doesn't need to try very hard to impress visitors with its attractions; the incredible ancient history and the religious significance of the Holy Land are enough to make any trip one to remember. But if you've been to Israel before or you're looking for something new and exciting to see then here are a few recommendations of attractions that have only been open in the last few years.
Hebron Visitor Center and Heritage Museum
Hebron is a city in the southern West Bank about 30km from Jerusalem. It is often overlooked by visitors who prefer not to travel into the West Bank. If you're nervous about visiting Hebron alone then join a group tour or hire a private tour guide in Israel. Hebron has deep significance for Jews; it is mentioned 87 times in the Bible and is the world's oldest Jewish city. The Machpelah in Hebron is the final resting place of the Biblical figures Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah and Leah – the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. Religious Jews have been praying at the graves of the machpelah for thousands of years. The latest addition to the city is a 4D movie called "Touching Eternity" that takes visitors on a virtual journey through the history of Hebron. Touching Eternity transports you through time to when Abraham purchased the land in Hebron; the Ottoman conquest and the return to the city in 1967. The state-of-the-art movie theatre and Hebron History Museum are housed in the Hebron Visitors' Center at Beit Hadassah.
The Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium opened in 2017 and is the first public aquarium in Israel dedicated to preserving Israel's unique marine habitats. It has a stunning location in the hills of Jerusalem covering 5 acres. The first thing that strikes visitors is the incredible architecture of the site. The aquarium emphasizes sea life in and around Israeli waters. Visitors are led by a knowledgeable guide along a route through the aquarium past 33 display tanks, each more impressive than the last. Among the most remarkable displays is an enormous tank representing the Mediterranean Sea environment. Among the creatures, you'll see at the aquarium are stingrays, jellyfish, seahorses, sharks and thousands of colorful fish. There are also breathtaking displays of coral from the Red Sea; walk-thru tunnels where the fish swim all around you and feeding ponds. The aquarium is just 1km from the entrance to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo so you might like to combine a trip to both.
The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History
The new natural history museum opened in 2018 alongside the Tel Aviv University Campus. It is the largest natural history museum in the Middle East housing 5.5 million specimens and spread out across 5 levels covering 9,620m². The impressive museum building resembles Noah's Ark, a treasure chest holding the treasures of the world's natural history. The museum focuses on Israel's biodiversity as a crossroads between three continents. There are eight permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions and a research center. Among the treasures on display are early human skulls; rare taxidermy pieces; a display depicting migrating birds across the ceiling and a 6m-long interactive map of Israel showing current environmental issues. Innovative displays, dioramas and even a live display of bugs and an exhibit of creatures that live in the dark.
Crusaders' Wall Promenade in Caesarea
Caesarea National Park is a well-established tourist attraction where the structural remains of Herod's 2,000-year-old port city and ruins from Byzantine; Muslim and Crusader settlements have been preserved. Recently a new massive reconstruction project was opened as the Crusaders' Wall Promenade. The site was originally built under French King Louis IX more than 800 years ago. It lay buried for hundreds of years but now after two years of excavation, the public can see newly uncovered rare Roman mosaics; Byzantine artwork and a 13th century Crusader market. Visitors can walk along the ancient promenade from the southern gate to the Crusader market and on to the observation tower overlooking the excavated Roman city. Part of the promenade walk includes a tunnel used by Crusader knights to come and go from the fortress without breaching the walls. While in Caesarea there is plenty more to see including the new Visitors' Center housed in the excavated vaults of King Herod. Here you can see a multi-media presentation and exhibits of rare archaeological finds.
Friends of Zion Museum
The Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem takes you on a 3D virtual tour through history focusing on the everlasting bond between Zionist Jews and Christians. The advanced technology used to bring history to life is accompanied by surround sound, an original musical score, lighting effects, wooden sculptured figures, map projections and murals. As you go through the exhibit the presentation pauses at significant moments when champions of the State of Israel immerged. Animated images of Biblical figures, military leaders and even academics and groundbreaking business people tell the story of how different faiths worked together to make the State of Israel a reality. Highlights on this journey through time include the moment God promised Abraham a land for his people. Touch the interactive mural in the Hall of Visionaries to see people like Churchill, Queen Victoria and Woodrow Wilson who contributed to the realization of the Zionist dream. Learn about the dark years of WWII when the Zionist dream was kept alive by courageous heroes like Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg. Finally, in the Hall of the Brave face life-size international leaders who were committed to the establishment of the State of Israel.