September 8th 2014
If you’re looking for a cool and wet adventure, head over to Alona Park. The main attraction in Alona Park, near the coastal city of Caesarea is, without a doubt, the 2,000 year old water tunnel. One of its names is Mei Kedem, which means ancient water. The water tunnel was built during the Second Temple Period when both King Herod (who was known as Herod the Great for his colossal building projects and definitely not for his personality) and the Roman Emperor Hadrian built grandly throughout Israel. The water tunnel was part of a complex of canals, tunnels, and aqueducts that were designed to bring drinking water and water for farming to the ancient city of Caesarea. The entire water system is 22 miles long and just the tunnel itself is nearly 4 miles long. The part that is open for tourists is less than a quarter of a mile, though it can take a while to walk the length of it. To enter the accessible part of the tunnel, there’s a flat, downward sloping path followed by stone steps. A set of metal steps leads immediately into and out of the tunnel. Both the stone steps and the metal ones have secure handrails. The tunnel itself is narrow enough for an adult to touch both sides without fully extending both arms but wide enough for an adult and a child to walk side-by-side. The water is murky and ranges from ankle height to thigh or waist high, depending on the visitor. The footpath is not always smooth and progress can be slow in some places. Dim overhead lighting is available, but it is recommended to bring a flashlight. If you’re traveling with children under 10 or so, it’s a good idea to hold onto their hands. You will also find yourself periodically holding onto the walls for guidance and extra support, so the best kind of flashlight is one that can be strapped to your head, leaving both of your hands free. Besides flashlights, water shoes with sturdy bottoms and a change of clothes are recommended. In the summer, a change of clothes is less critical since your clothes will likely dry quickly once you leave the tunnel.