Also known as the “Biblical Tuscany,” the Shephelah is a beautiful and lush area between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. Its low hills countryside is clustered with Biblical sites and stories, set amidst pine tree forests and cultivated fields. Both Samson and David interacted with the Philistines in the Shephelah; the ark of the covenant changed hands in the Shephelah; and in 1948 a significant road carved in the Shephelah saved the Jews in Jerusalem from hunger. Not all of its historical sites are fully developed, but with our 4×4 SUV we can reach many of the sites. This can make a big difference for senior travelers and/or people with disabilities.
Take Biblical Beth-Shemesh for example. The city that worshipped the sun in Canaanite times, was later an Israelite town. About 3,000 years ago the Ark was kept briefly in Beth-Shemesh, after its return from Philistine captivity. Recent discoveries made at the site relate to this fantastic story, but are hard to reach. Luckily, we can bring you right to the spot. Same for Ziklag. This is the site where David lamented after hearing of Saul’s death. It is hard to reach by car, but possible. The local roads will also get you to discuss and pass by Biblical Lachish, Maresha, and the site of the battle between David and Goliath. Make sure to take the opportunity to taste some of the local wine varieties of the Shephelah. Even 3,200 years ago Samson was enticed by this wine (and Delilah). Will you fall for it as well? 🙂
Finally, after a lunch break, explore the 1948 “Burma Road.” Here, during the War of Independence the hidden axis enabled dispatching critical supplies to the Jews of Jerusalem. The 10 km long “Burma Road“ best captures the beauties of the land, and the role of the Shephelah in history. If you are an art lover, end the day with a visit to the art studio of David Gerstein. A colorful and great way to end a great day.