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Israel’s Treasures: 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

From Masada to the River of Caves, explore Israel's rich cultural and natural wonders recognized by UNESCO.

To be included in the prestigious list, cultural or natural sites must meet multiple criteria such as representing a masterpiece of human creative genius, containing superlative natural phenomena, or being outstanding examples representing major stages of Earth’s history.No visit to Israel is complete without a trip to Masada, and it seems the experts over at the UN agree.

The ancient mountaintop fortress, where a group of Jewish families held out for several months against the mighty Roman Legion, stands starkly against the backdrop of the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea and is an absolute sight to behold.

It is also apparently the most complete surviving Roman siege works and, from personal experience, completely worth the grueling hike (though you can also take a cable car up and down).

Our top tip is to visit the area on the most scorching of summer days to allow the cool, ancient stones offer you respite from the glaring sun – just as they have for a myriad of generations before you.

The White City in Tel Aviv is the most comprehensive collection of Modernist architecture. Colloquially known as “Bauhaus,” it’s represented by white buildings with curved balconies and gracious proportions built with functionality in mind.

Jewish men, wearing traditional Jewish prayer shawls known as Tallit, take part in the Cohanim prayer (priest’s blessing) during the Passover (Pesach) holiday at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, on April 9, 2023. -It’s no secret that Israel is packed with gorgeous and important-for-all-humanity sites. So much so, that nine of them are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, alongside global landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef and Yellowstone National Park. PHOTO BY MENAHEM KAHANA/GETTY IMAGES  

And yet, as the four Nabatean towns scattered along the ancient incense route demonstrate, this harsh landscape was populated, farmed and formed an important part of the incense and spice trade route that crossed from southern Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea.

Nowadays, you can check out the archeological remains of forts and irrigation systems and be eternally grateful to make it back to an air-conditioned bus at the end of your tour.

The Bahá’i faith was established in Iran in the 19th century, and through twists of fate and exile built some of its holy places and central administration in the northern Israeli cities of Haifa and Acre.

UNESCO chose the Nahal Me’arot (River of Caves) complex in Mount Carmel for its stunning example of human evolution. The area, which houses three cave complexes, includes archeological remains that represent at least half a million years of human evolution, including the somewhat simultaneous existence of Neanderthals and modern humans onsite.


Produced in association with ISRAEL21c

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