This travel trip takes us to the site that is known for being the cradle of humanity, the land of milk and honey, the land of miracles, and a place that seems to always be in the news. It is a land that tends to spark controversy but after traveling there, I discovered that there is a lot more to it then what we see in the news. It's filled with beauty, rich history of many different cultures, and a place where many faiths come together. There is no place quite like it on earth, which makes it a great photography destination. That's right, this is the Holy Land!
View the behind the scenes video:
Music Credit: Ele "Sweet Love" | All videos shot with iPhone 6 | Editing: iMovie
I always like traveling to areas where I feel like there is a lot to learn. Israel and Palestine are some of the most revered and fought over areas that I wanted to experience it for myself. It ended up being such an interesting journey, that I created a five part series to showcase the country and the unique places to photograph. In our five part "Journey to the Holy Land" series, we start in the Israeli Coast and cover the top places to photograph.
1. Neyanya - Israeli Coastal Heaven
First we headed to Netanya, a popular beach resort in Israel. Upon arriving, we stayed at a very humble accommodation along the coast of Natanya. In the morning, we grabbed a Mediterranean breakfast, which included the Israeli staple of hummus of course, and noticed that the entire patio was filled with stray cats.
Although I couldn't see the ocean, my GPS signaled that it was less than a mile away, so I decided to check it out. I heard great things about the Israeli beaches. As soon as I ventured outside my hotel, the land became almost like a wasteland...barren, trash scattered on the ground, grey colored crows, barbed wire fences, hardly any people. The city was only a stone throw from the beach, marked by uniformly-shaped nondescript high-rises that looked like a Middle Eastern version of Miami.
The city seemed to spring right out of the sand. Once we reached the beach, the land looked more inviting. We spotted surfers, runners, and water sports rental areas. It looked like a real vacation spot. We took a dip in the water, which was warm and clear, like Hawaii. There were medium-sized waves and cliffs. I wished I could spend an entire day at the beach, but it was time to see some history. And by history, I don't mean hundreds of years old...I'm talking thousands of years old.
2. Caesarea National Park - Roman Ruins in Israel
We boarded our tour bus and went up the coast to the Caesarea National Park, famous for being the ancient capital of Roman Judea and built by King Herod. We visit the Roman ruins that include an aqueduct, hippodrome, and swimming pool. The site was like going back in time.
3. Haifa - The Garden of Eden
Next up, we travel up the coast to visit Haifa, Israel's third largest city. We visit the Bahá'í Gardens in Haifa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea. The garden is about a mile long, filled with palm trees and flowers. From the top of the garden, we could see the entire Northern coast all the way to Jordan. Before entering the garden, we had to go through security, which I thought was a bit strange. But then, our guide explained that the Baha'i gardens are a sacred site for the Baha'i religion, thus they want to keep the area safe.
4. Acre - Old Crusader City
Then, we visit the Israel-Jordan Border in the north, followed by the Old Port of Acre, another UNESCO World Heritage Site with over a 2,000 year old history. The area has a significant Arab population, thus the call to prayer was being broadcast throughout the city. The city is noted for being a former Crusader site.
5. Israel-Jordan Border - Coastal Views Galore
Lastly, we see the border of Israel and Jordan, which is a sealed boarder at the moment. I took pictures of the beautiful sunset and coast, and also managed to get a photo with the Israeli army.
Stay tuned for our next episode where we travel to Bethlehem and Beit She'an National Park.
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