Ramla is a unique city in central Israel, about 14 miles east of Tel-Aviv. Its mixed population of Jews, Christian and Muslims create an urban area with a special character, fusing different cultures in a fascinating way.
History of Ramla
Ramla was founded in 716 CE, and it was the first Muslim-built city in the Holy Land. Established in sandy terrain, the Muslim Chaliph Suleiman Abd el-Malek titled it “Ramla”, a derivative of “Ramal” – sand, in Arabic. The city is located on the important road system from Jaffa to Jerusalem, as well as the main Coastal highway that connected Cairo and Damascus. Ramla flourished in the following centuries and is a regional center to this day. Richard the Lionheart and Napoleon Bonaparte are just some of the figures who passed through Ramla.
Today, Ramla is home for about 100,000 residents, most of which are Jews. Its main attractions are its local market and the White Tower complex, both established by the Mamluks, and an 8th century underground water reservoir (Pool of Arches). The reservoir is still filled with water and is specious enough to sail in it in a small gondola. The city’s museum presents highlights of the city’s history, including a treasure of 372 golden coins found by chance in the city in 1964.
A tour of the site can be combined with a guided day tour of the Shephelah.