Sites of UNESCO's World Heritage in Israel
Below is the the current list of World Heritage sites chosen by UNESCO in Israel, in chronological order, and the reasons mentioned for this choice. When visiting Israel, I can advise to include one or more of these fabulous sites in your visit plans and, if possible, with a licensed Tour Guide to make the best of your visit time.
The Old City of Jerusalem (1981)
The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims.
Masada is a poignant symbol of the continuing human struggle between oppression and liberty. The military camps, siege works and an attack ramp that encircle the site, and a network of legionary fortresses of quadrilateral plan, are the most complete anywhere in the Roman world.
The Old City of Acre (2001)
Acre is a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. The present city is characteristic of a fortified town dating from the Ottoman 18th and 19th centuries, with typical urban components such as the citadel, mosques, khans and baths. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact, both above and below today's street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom.
Biblical Tel's: Hazor, Megiddo, Beer Sheva (2001)
Of more than 200 historic settlement mounds in Israel, the three sites of Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba are representative of those that contain substantial remains of cities with biblical connections, and are strongly associated with events portrayed in the Bible.
The three sites reflect the wealth and power of Bronze and Iron Age cities in the fertile biblical lands, and reflect the key stages of urban development in the region across trade routes to the North, East and South, connecting Egypt to Syria and Anatolia to Mesopotamia.
All three Tel's have impressive remains of their underground water catchments systems, which demonstrate sophisticated and geographically responsive engineering solutions to water storage.
White City of Tel-Aviv -- the Modern Movement (2003)
Of The White City of Tel Aviv can be seen as an outstanding example in a large scale of the innovative town-planning ideas of the first part of the 20th century. It is based on the urban master plan by Sir Patrick Geddes (1925-27), one of the foremost theorists in the early modern period. The buildings were designed by a large number of architects, who had been trained and had practiced in various European countries. In their work in Tel Aviv, they represented the plurality of the creative trends of modernism, but they also took into account the local, cultural quality of the site. None of the European or North-Africa realizations exhibit such a synthesis of the modernistic picture nor are they at the same scale.
Incense Route - Desert Cities in the Negev (2005)
The four Nabatean towns of Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta, with their associated fortresses and agricultural landscapes linking them to the Mediterranean are situated on a segment of the Incense Route. Together they reflect the hugely profitable trade in Frankincense from south Arabia to the Mediterranean, and the way the harsh desert was colonized for agriculture through the use of highly sophisticated irrigation systems.
Ten of the sites (four towns - Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta; four fortresses - Kazra, Nekarot, Makhmal, and Grafon; and the two caravanserai of Moa and Saharonim) lie along, or near to, the main trade route from Petra, capital of the Nabatean Empire in Jordan, to the Mediterranean ports.
Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee (2008)
The Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee are inscribed for their profound spiritual meaning and the testimony they bear to the strong tradition of pilgrimage in the Bahá’i faith. The property includes the two most holy places in the Bahá’í religion associated with the founders, the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Acre and the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, together with their surrounding gardens, associated buildings and monuments.
Human Evolution at Mount Carmel: The Nahal Me’arot Caves (2012)
This 54 ha property contains cultural deposits representing at least 500,000 years of human evolution demonstrating the unique existence of both Neanderthals and Early Anatomically Modern Humans within the same Middle Paleolithic cultural framework, the Mousterian. Evidence from numerous Natufian burials and early stone architecture represents the transition from a hunter-gathering lifestyle to agriculture and animal husbandry. As a result, the caves have become a key site of the chrono-stratigraphic framework for human evolution in general, and the prehistory of the Levant in particular.
Caves of Maresha and Beit-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (2014)
The presence in the Judean Lowlands of thick and homogeneous chalk sub-strata enabled numerous caves to be excavated and managed by Man. The property includes a very complete selection of chambers and man-made subterranean networks, of different forms and for different activities. They constitute a “city under a city”.
Necropolis of Beit She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal (2015)
Consisting of a series of catacombs, the necropolis developed from the 2nd century BCE as the primary Jewish burial place outside Jerusalem following the failure of the second Jewish revolt against Roman rule. Located southeast of the city of Haifa, these catacombs are a treasury of artworks and inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. Beth She’arim bears unique testimony to ancient Judaism under the leadership of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch [Judah the Saint], who is credited with Jewish renewal after 135 CE.