So another great Passover week has gone by. We travelled North, we travelled South, and as usual I have far too many photos to show you in one post! I'm going to split the posts up and introduce you to some fabulous places in Israel one at a time.Chol HaMoed was the day that we travelled the furthest. Tel Dor is an archaeological site located on Israel's Mediterranean coast, about 30 km south of Haifa. Dor (meaning "generation" or "habitation" in Hebrew), was known as Dora to the Greeks and Romans, and was colonised by the Sea Peoples and King Solomon, the Assyrians, the Phoenicians, the Greeks and Romans and others, right down to the Crusaders rule of Palestine between 1099–1291. In 1799 the French army, commanded by Napoleon, retreated from the failed siege of Acre and camped at Dor. They dumped and buried their heavy canons, blew up the ammunition, and then retreated to Jaffa. In recent times the ancient port has uncovered archaeological treasures galore and the uninterrupted sea views from the “tel” or mound make it a breathtaking place to visit. We had a wonderful time there!
In 1882 Baron Edmond de Rothschild established what would become known as the Carmel Winery, with a branch in nearby Zichron Yaakov. He opened a bottle factory in 1891 to produce glass wine bottles for the winery and as we drove into Kibbutz Nahsholim, situated on Dor beach, the three-gabled building which is now home to the Mizgaga ("Glassworks") Museum came in to view. The museum houses a small but interesting collection of artifacts, including guns and other armament of the Napoleonic army, dug out of Tel Dor or salvaged from the seabed, and was the perfect way to begin our visit to the area.
An interesting aside, the bottle factory was managed by a young chemical engineer named Meir Dizengoff. When the factory closed (due to poor-quality sea sand, malaria and a lack of profitability), Dizengoff went on to become the legendary first mayor of Tel Aviv.Caesarea, the seaport constructed by Herod the Great whose harbour was deeper and a better choice for a port and which eventually overshadowed Dor. The remains of the Arab village of Tantura lie a few hundred meters south of the archaeological site, as does the modern kibbutz and resort of Nahsholim.
The ancient city of Dor was built on a high mound jutting into the sea, with small bays bordering it on the north and south. These bays served as harbours as they were protected by a chain of islands acting as a natural breakwater. As we walked through the archaeological site we came across the hilltop remains of storehouses and public buildings, as well as the scattered remains of residential areas and a Roman aqueduct. In the thirteenth century A.D. a Crusader castle was built on the site and the remains of a Roman temple can also be seen. There are also fascinating rock cuttings in the bedrock near sea level and the kids, reluctant to stay dry so near to the beach, had a great time splashing in the rockpools and searching for shells to bring home.
Tekhelet, the blue dye once used in the clothing of the High Priest and on the tassels (tzitzit) of the tallit, was produced from a marine creature known as the chilazon. Diggers at Tel Dor have actually unearthed an ancient dye manufacturing installation for this product.
John Garstang, on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, and since then several excavations have, and are still currently being, undertaken. The fact that there is a gorgeous beach right next to the remains of an old Roman temple makes Tel Dor quite an exotic place to visit. It is the perfect place for a clifftop stroll with its incredible mix of beauty, history and nature. I've already promised the kids that we'll go back.