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Tel Dor pool

Located along the Mediterranean coast, about 6 miles north of Caesarea, Tel Dor is an important archaeological site with a long and rich history. Having a seaport, ancient Dor was settled by the Canaanites, the Israelites, the Philistines, and even the Romans. Although not developed for tourism, this hidden gem is well worth a visit.

History of Dor

The Bible records Dor as a Canaanite city whose ruler allied with Jabin, king of Hazor, against Joshua (Joshua 11). On the other hand, an Egyptian folktale, “The Story of Wenamum,” records Dor ruled by Sea People at that time. Later, Dor became the capital of one of Solomon’s districts, whose governor was his son-in-law (1 Kings 4:11). The Assyrians destroyed Dor, but Phoenicians resettled it in the 5th Century BCE. They developed a purple dye industry based on the local murex shell.  King Herod established a port in a neighboring city called Caesarea in the first century. Dor’s significance gradually declined, and by the 4th century AD, Dor was abandoned.

Tel Dor Exposed

John Garstang conducted the first excavations at the site in 1920. Since the 1980s, a team from the Hebrew University has been conducting systematic excavations. These excavations uncovered various remains from different periods, including a Philistine-era port, Hellenistic-period living quarters and fortifications, foundations of a Roman temple, piers, and evidence of the purple dye industry.

Touring Tel Dor

tel-dor-museumThe site can be reached by a dirt road passing through Kibbutz Nachsolim fishponds. There are no signs or marked trails, but the mound is full of architectural remains, reflecting its rich past. Aside the archaeology, the site also offers some of the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean coast and has a public beach in the nearby Kibbutz. On the kibbutz grounds is also a 19th-century glass factory that was turned into a charming archaeological museum. The Museum exhibits various finds from Tel Dor and its vicinity. The display includes cannons buried near Tel Dor by Napoleon in 1799 and artifacts retrieved from shipwrecks in the area.

A tour of Tel Dor can be combined with a day tour to Caesarea and Haifa.

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