Jerusalem’s public relations system definitely makes us all long for a walk in its small alleys, in the Old City, in the magical markets and soak up its charm. But sometimes, precisely because we flock and rush to the big thing and mark V in the important places – we miss treasures that await us on the way itself. So even if you have closed a vacation in Jerusalem and even if you are just looking for a fun day trip – this time I chose to put my finger on two places on the way to the capital.
Short jumps for day trips between the scattered mounds, the hidden caves and the charming gardens that await us between the mountains of Jerusalem and the surrounding communities – are a great way for a romantic or family getaway. One that does not require much organization in advance and does not require special efforts, as these are places that can usually be reached by a comfortable ride and a short walk.
This week I chose to focus on two of my favorite sites, Tel Tzova and the Steph, which although I have already visited a million times, are just wonderful routes to spend, and always soak me in calm and a pleasurable and relaxing foreign feeling. Mostly I like to see them through new eyes when I travel With friends from Israel and dance who just do not believe what is hidden under their noses, and now, especially after they were very unlucky in the huge fire that took place in the mountains of Jerusalem last August, it is a wonderful reason to return and enjoy the wonders of nature.
Tel Tzova is a fascinating hiking spot, full of history and great views. The mound, which is unsurprisingly located within the boundaries of Kibbutz Tzova, is known to many families mainly thanks to “Kiptsova”, which is close to it. Kind of a great opportunity for many parents to combine both a visit to an archeological site and spending energy at an amusement park. We will reach the mound with the vehicle, and right at its foot there is an impromptu parking lot where we will leave the car and climb following the blue trail markings to the top of the mound. The complex is not very large, but it contains fascinating history and finds up to 586 BC. Today we can see the remains of the Arab village of Tzuba, built on the ruins of an ancient Jewish settlement that was active in the time of Joshua Ben Nun, the remains of a Crusader fortress, caves and ancient tombs A mountain and a village that has undergone many upheavals throughout history.
One of them occurred when the Crusaders came to the area and understood its strategic importance, and therefore built a fortress that would protect the road leading to the capital. The same fortress was conquered by Saladin’s army about 20 years later. Several years passed and the village of Tzuba was built on the mountain, and in 1834 members of the Abu Ghosh family who rebelled against Egyptian rule fled to it. Those in response destroyed the mountain. During the War of Independence, too, the village of Tzova was used as a base for the Arab force on its way to Jerusalem, but the IDF managed to take over the village and occupy it.
As you ascend to the mound, you will notice the many signs that tell and explain the battles that took place there. While reading, we will continue along the path and ascend to the top of the mound. At this point we can make a panoramic view of the city of Jerusalem, wander between the cisterns and the buildings used by the villagers.
If we return to the route where we reached the mound, we can see a sign pointing to the ancient olive and oak trees. We will follow the sign for about five minutes and stop for a short rest next to 800 and 1,200 year old trees. After we are tired at rest we will return to the trail and return to the vehicle.
On this occasion, it is worth continuing with the vehicle to another charming site, which sometimes seems to be the highlight of the visit – Ein Tzova Spring. The spring is a flowing female open to visitors. On weekends the site is usually open, and there is a person who takes a token payment at the entrance, but it is always advisable to announce a visit to the kibbutz secretariat.
The stop at Maayan Ein Tzova is especially pleasant for children, who do not give up immersing their feet in water even on cool days. We will reach the spring, which is also within the boundaries of the kibbutz, following the regulated signs to the parking lot. From the parking lot, go down the path (green trail markings), until you reach a fork in the road. At the split, we turn right and walk about 50 meters to the entrance to the spring. We will enter the spring through a narrow, low female, where we have to walk a little hunched over, until we reach the large stone structure from which the water comes out.
Nature of the trip: A route of easy difficulty, suitable for the whole family.
How to get there: Drive on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road, exit at the Harel interchange to the south, in the direction of the signs to Kibbutz Tzova. At the entrance to the kibbutz there are signs in the direction of Tel Tzova.
A fun day at Steph
On the eastern side of Mount Eitan is a paradise for spring lovers in the form of the nearby steppe springs. The name “Steph” was actually taken from the name of an ancient agricultural village that existed on the site more than 6,000 years ago. The village existed thanks to the use of agricultural terraces launched from the spring water.
The springs can be reached by a short route that starts from a regulated (upper) parking lot operated by the JNF and descends to two storage pools, one by Ein Stef and the other by Ein Bikura. During the descent towards the springs (green trail markings) you can pass through an olive grove, orchards, be impressed by the remains of an ancient village, the diverse vegetation and cool winds rising from the water. The next pool – Eye Pool Pool, where the route ends, so all that is left is to enjoy the tranquility and follow in our footsteps.
Source: Maariv.co.il – תיירות by www.maariv.co.il.
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