5 Places in Israel to Walk in Ancient Footsteps

September 8th 2019

Israel’s ancient history stretches back millennia. Nearly every footstep you take when you visit the Holy Land is a step that has been walked by famous names from throughout the ages. Whether you are visiting the capital Jerusalem or touring sites in the Galilee, Golan, or Negev, the rich historical narratives of the ancient peoples of this land are never far away. 

From Jewish figures such as Abraham, Isaac, King David, and King Solomon to renowned scholars such as Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Isaac Luria, and Ramban (Maimonides) – and countless more sages, soldiers, and heroes – the ancients’ footsteps are everywhere you walk. 

And what better way to explore Israel than to walk in their steps. 

Here are five places we think you’ll love where you’ll feel an abundance of history beneath your feet. 

  1. City of King David Excavations

Two sites very close to one another allow visitors to learn more about life thousands of years ago and retrace the footsteps of ancient Jerusalemites. The Jerusalem Archaeological Park and Davidson Center, situated very near the Kotel (Western Wall) allow you to feel the atmosphere of the ancient City of David. 

Walk among the archaeological ruins where people once gathered to ascend the Temple Mount. Explore exhibits displaying visual, textual and audio information about the different peoples who lived and died in the region. There’s so much to feel, see, and do. 

  1. Kfar Kedem Talmudic Village

Kfar Kedem is a recreated Talmudic village in the Galilee, just north of Nazareth. Its aim is to show visitors what it would have been like to live in the region during ancient times. Guests get to dress up as shepherds, plow the fields using equipment from the era, and even turn the wheat into flour and bake bread. 

Visitors (including children) get to ride some very sweet donkeys through the local hills. Kosher meals are then served in tents at the end of the day. 

  1. Genesis Land Camel Rides

Located in the Judean Desert, a short distance from Jerusalem, is a place where you can experience life as it was in biblical times. Genesis Land recreates old bible stories for modern visitors with costumed actors and camel trains taking you into the land of the patriarchs.  

You get to spend a night camping in the desert and enjoy campfire tales of the ancient stories that played themselves out nearby, many centuries ago. There are so many different activities the whole family will enjoy including jeep tours, pita bread making, sunset drumming, pottery making, and more. 

  1. Tzfat Old City

In the Upper Galilee is the ancient holy city of Tzfat (also known as Safed). It’s one of the four holy cities in Judaism and is most famous for being the center of Jewish mysticism – Kabbalah. Many famous Jewish scholars and sages (including Rabbi Yosef Caro) made their home in this high-altitude city and it’s certainly a beautiful and distinctive place to explore. 

You’ll feel the history beneath your feet wherever you walk in Safed. It’s very popular with artists and spiritually minded folk. There are numerous art galleries and workshops nestled in between ancient synagogues and modern places to eat and drink. 

  1. Beit Guvrin National Park

In the Beit Guvrin National Park you’ll not only walk in ancient footsteps but also see the handiwork of ancient hands. A short drive from Beit Shemesh, the UNESCO World Heritage Site features hundreds of bell-shaped caves dug into the hills. They were used as storerooms, burial places, shelters for their animals, and cisterns for storing water. They vary in size and many are linked together via an underground network of passageways. 

It’s a fascinating and fun place to visit.