Visit Zichron Yaacov - history, attractions, and food
ZICHRON YAAKOV: A WALK ON THE PEDESTRIAN STREET, ATTRACTIONS, AND THE HISTORY OF THE TOWN
Zichron Ya'akov, perhaps the most famous of the colonies of the well-known philanthropist, Baron Rothschild, began as an Arab village of farmers who are enslaved to a master and work his land for housing, food, protection, etc and has become one of Israel's favorite tourist cities today. A tour along the "meyasdim" Street and the Wine Route of Zichron Ya'akov will bring you together with the history, personalities, and stories between these two points of time, alongside attractions, galleries, wonderful weather, and restaurants in a magical atmosphere!
ZICHRON YAAKOV - THE HISTORY OF THE COLONY
The year is 1882. To the hills of the Arab village of Zamarin, a group of immigrants from Romania, the people of the first aliyah, arrive to try their luck in a working and agricultural settlement after purchasing the village's land. At that time, all the beginnings were difficult and thus the founders found themselves fighting against difficult sanitary conditions, diseases, lack of knowledge in working the land, conflict with the Arab residents in the area, infant mortality, hunger, and malaria. The settlement was on the verge of dissolution and collapse. The residents appealed for help.
The application of Baron Benjamin Edmond de Rothschild's patronage over the colony was at the heart of it, and redemption and grace did not take long to arrive. The colony's lands were given to the baron's ownership and management in 1883, and he started to take care of the settlers' needs after that. The baron's officials quickly took matters into their own hands and started to financially establish the colony and establish the wine industry. The substantial winery was constructed in the colony in 1889.
The colony was supported by the baron for nearly twenty years during which time it grew to be one of the biggest and most significant colonies in the nation and was given the name Jacob. However, due to issues with the colony's management, the management was given to the JCA company.
The colony experienced ups and downs from the turn of the 20th century on. The "Hebrew Teachers' Union" was established in Zichron, and the Nili spy network set up shop there during the First World War (more on the Nili heroes below). The colony continued to grow after the British took control of the nation from the Turks. The colony's historical character was in danger in the 1980s due to plans to build taller and demolish the old homes. Finally, the colony and its modernized authentic appearance were preserved by the general public.
A tourist development that incorporates historical preservation was located in the colony's center. The "wine road," where our route is focused, is located in the middle of the development. The street includes Founders Street and Benefactor Street as well as the many different hues that make them up, including galleries, cafes, and explanation signs about the people and homes that helped build the colony.
ZICHRON YAAKOV TOURISM INFORMATION CENTER
Near the Meyasdim Garden, you will find the information center where you can get informational material and recommendations on additional itineraries and guided tours for groups. In the tourism center, you can also find information about the attractions, restaurants, and cafes of Zichron Yaakov.
Opening Hours of the information center: Sunday-Thursday from 13:00-8:30
HAMEYASDIM STREET ZIHRON YAAKOV
You can see the construction principles that defined the colony from the Yishai gate to the following station (Beit Aharonson). When a wall divides one house from another, the fronts of the houses face the street while the farm yard with its numerous buildings (warehouses, barns, and so on) is behind. a little like the Templar colonies that existed before the memory Explanatory signs near some of the houses provide information on the pioneers as part of the preservation and development efforts. The hardworking farmer, who was he? Who was the colony's carpenter? Who was the pioneer who traveled by foot from Zichron to Jerusalem as they once did? All of these illustrate and give life to those explorers.
Aharonson House - Nili Museum
Address: 40 Ha-Tehazim St
Right now, you are in front of the most well-known residence on the street. The story of the first Hebrew underground is told in the house; it is one that many of us learned about through plays in elementary school. An educational audio film, a tour of the family home as it has been preserved since the 19th century, and access to the sink and bathtub where Sarah committed suicide are all included in the current, for-pay museum there. The visit is scheduled in advance. It is strongly advised that you plan a visit there as part of your Zichron Yaakov leisure time.
Hours of operation:
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 15:00-8:30 | Tuesday: 16:00-8:30 | Friday and holiday eves: 13:00-8:30. the Last tour leaves one hour before closing.
Price: Adult 26 NIS, student 20 NIS, senior citizen 13 NIS
The NILI (Netzah Israel lo Ishaker) underground operated while the Ottoman Empire controlled the Land of Israel to transmit news and intelligence data to the British about the movement of the Turkish army, information that the British would later use during the occupation of the land. It wasn't easy to live at the time in the area controlled by Turks. And when the opportunity to see the resurgence of a Jewish state appeared before them, the members of the organization, who were among the settlement's founders, worked to prevent hunger and disease from destroying the settlement's future.
The challenge made for a tense environment among the colony's Jews as even those who were not affiliated with the organization were reluctant and worried that the Turks would learn what was going on in the Aaronson family home. When the Turks finally realized what was going on, they started raiding and putting an end to the underground people. One of the group's leaders, Sarah, was kidnapped and subjected to brutal torture. She took a gun from the sink one of the times she went into the shower and shot herself. She suffered severe injuries and passed away a few days later. Sarah is interred in the cemetery of the settlement.
From here on the street becomes more lively and there will be plenty of cafes and restaurants on the left and right.
BINYAMIN POOL AND A WORKSHOP FOR PAPER MAKING
The row of homes is abruptly broken up by an impressive stone building. The path in front of you was built up to completion in 1891. In this building, water is poured out for the residents' health and drinking. Its distinctiveness comes from the fact that in those times, carrying water from the sources to the summit of the mountain was not taken for granted.
As you continue down Ha'Hadasim Street, you will see a sign pointing to the "Tot Nayir" gallery's entrance on your left. An exciting and enjoyable activity for families and kids is to book a workshop for making paper from mulberry trees and plants. The participants make the paper as they always have during the hour-long session. In actuality, anyone can become interested in this workshop.
OHEL YAAKOV SYNAGOGUE AND GARDEN TRIP
On Meyasdim Street, the "Ohel Jacob" synagogue is located to your left. The colony and the temple both bear the baron's father's name. Its construction was finished in 1886, and today it is regarded as the Baron colonies' most opulent synagogue. It is highly recommended to take a peek inside and be impressed if you have the chance.
You should be aware that there are public restrooms behind the synagogue, just past the entrance on the left. You should be around noon at this point, so now is a good time to sit down and eat. Stay on the s street where kosher restaurants like "Tishbi," "Nili," "Dona Garcia," or "Cucina" (Italian, not Italian) are available for those seeking a romantic setting and a leisurely meal.
Do you want something light? Along Hanadiv Street you will find plenty of options: pizza, falafel, shawarma, bakeries, and ice cream parlors. It's also worth knowing that a little after the synagogue, along the length of Hanadiv Street, there is a spacious public garden, where you can stretch out on the grass and even plan a light picnic instead of a meal at a restaurant. In the garden, you will also notice two unique trees: an impressive sycamore tree and a Washington tree. Sycamore fruits grow on the branches and the trunk differently from most trees, while the Washingtonia did not grow at all in the country and became common - how you ask? Peek into the garden and find out.
Hanadiv Street is also called "Officials Street". With the transfer of the administration of the colony to the baron's officials, the street became their home and the public institutions of the colony were along it, just like today. At the end of the street next to the synagogue is the clerk's house. In many colonies, not only in Zichron, there was the central clerk's office. Quite a bit of criticism was directed at the officials who behaved arrogantly and condescendingly towards the farmers. Today, there is a museum "Yad La Aliya" (for a fee) in the place.
ZIHRON YAAKOV CEMETERY
How happy the pioneers were to see the success of Zichron Yaakov today, how hard they worked for it. Those who walk among the graves will see quite a few duplications of surnames - generations upon generations who did not give up and continued to establish the colony despite the difficulties. Here in Zichron, at the beginning of its journey, everyone knew everyone, just like in a small village.
Sarah Aaronson's grave is located in the cemetery's middle. Only the name "Sarah" is written on her tombstone. You can see that a fence surrounds her grave. This is not done to set her apart from the others. According to the story, Sarah took her own life. Following Jewish law, "suicides" are interred in a separate grave. This problem was somewhat resolved by the fence that encircled the graves of her and her mother. In the spot where her father was supposed to be interred, Sarah is now laid to rest.
Dr. Hillel Yaffe (the doctor of the colonies), who was with Sarah when she passed away, is now honored with a hospital in Hadera bearing his name. The family went through many tragedies and lost love. The man who discovered "the mother of the wheat" and was in charge of the underground, Aharon Aharonson, passed away on a plane that knew what had happened to her. Sarah's sister Rebecca was the only person she could be with because Absalom Feinberg left and never returned to the desert (hidden love also prevailed between Absalom and Sarah).
ZIHRON YAAKOV RESTAURANTS AND DESERTS
1.La Gofra Gellato Zichron Yaakov
La Gofra ice cream parlor is one of the oldest chains in the ice cream industry in Israel. The chain was founded about twenty years ago on the pureness of Belgian waffles, and over time also developed into the field of ice cream. Its twenty-five branches are currently scattered all over the country.
This is a unique boutique branch, whose menu was developed to provide an answer to the many tourists who come to the Zihron Yaakov colony.
La Gofra's ice creams are Italian gelato ice creams, made in the branch every day, from natural ingredients and with pure cream. In the branch, you can enjoy over 120 different ice cream flavors, with the branch staff constantly developing new and surprising flavors for the customers. One of the branch's flagship flavors is pistachio ice cream, which attracts pistachio ice cream lovers from all over the country. Other unique flavors are pecan and cashew ice cream, and Amarena cherries, alongside a variety of reduced sugar ice creams, including dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids.
In addition to the indulgent ice creams and traditional Belgian waffles, you will find crepes, chilled yogurt with fresh fruit, and more at the branch, as the branch staff works tirelessly to develop innovative, surprising, and indulgent dishes - waffle balls with crazy toppings, Knafa and more.
Planning to come to the Zihron Yaakov colony? Don't miss the healthy fruit shakes made from fresh fruit and individually assembled. The menu features yogurt-based "free shakes", such as a tropical shake that includes pineapple, mango, and passionfruit, and a fun shake - strawberry sorbet and fresh strawberries based on apple juice with a touch of yogurt. Alongside them, the branch offers vegan-free shakes - banana, dates, refreshing lemonade, and more. Every free shake on the menu can be converted to vegan.
La Gofra Zichron Yaakov
Hours of operation: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. daily
2. Hameyasdim 16
Meat lovers? If you have come to Zichron Yaakov, you are invited to enjoy the juicy menu offered by the Hameyasdim Restaurant 16. The restaurant, located at the beginning of the magical Hameyasdim pedestrian street, offers a variety of surprising and delightful kosher meat dishes, prepared in an open kitchen from fresh and fine ingredients.
Behind the Hameyasdim restaurant 16, is Alon Feingold, whose love for the culinary world led him to retrain about a decade ago. He began his career in the field as a cook and kitchen manager in several restaurants, while at the same time studying at the "Cookery" school. "I've always loved to cook," says Alon, "the dream of opening a restaurant was there and just waiting for the right opportunity."
The restaurant's menu includes Israeli and Mediterranean food prepared 'on the spot' in an open kitchen. A wood stove is used which distinguishes the restaurant and gives the dishes a wonderful smoky aroma and flavors. At Tabon, baked goods are cooked from yeast dough that is prepared every morning on site, vegetables, and meats. In the main dishes, you will find a variety of fresh adults, prepared in the restaurant, and a variety of fresh and fine meats from the grill served with a side dish of your choice and homemade dips.
Over the years, the restaurant has accumulated a regular clientele that comes from all over the country, including families that come from the north and south and choose the restaurant to celebrate family events. Since the coronavirus began, Alon chose to develop the system of deliveries to Zichron Yaakov and the surrounding communities through couriers employed directly by the restaurant. This ensures fast and high-quality service.
The Hameyasdim 16 offers boutique events in the restaurant for groups of up to twenty-five guests, ranging from family events to intimate company events. The diners are invited to choose the dishes from a rich menu, including an alcohol menu.
THINGS TO DO IN ZICHRON YAAKOV WITH THE CHILDREN?
THE BARON'S CODE - ESCAPE GAMES
Tsofen Baron is one of the pioneers of escape games in Israel. This is a family attraction, which started in 2015 with escape rooms. Today, the company offers a wide variety of escape games in the open space, which take place in the spectacular pedestrian mall area of the settlement. In "The Baron's Cipher" you will find a wide variety of games that cater to a variety of ages, families, companies, and organizations, with different needs and desires, and at any time you wish.
"Street Quest": the highlight of "The Baron's Cipher" is the "Street Quest" - a unique concept that combines the challenge and tension of the escape rooms with a tour around the pedestrian street. The activity includes challenging puzzles and various tasks that build up more and more within an exciting story with the main task that depends on a target and time. "This is an "escape room" for all intents and purposes," says Maoz Mosel, the owner of the place, explaining that "only this time the task is not to escape from a closed room, but to reach the final destination within a limited time."
1."Code Name Jacob" - a fascinating detective game that you should not miss, this is the next generation of escape games in the open space. As part of the game, a radical environmental protection organization threatens to plant a bomb in a car parked in a crowded parking lot. Participants recruited for the classified operation must reach the vehicle within a limited time before a disaster occurs and while playing the game find the code to defuse the bomb. It is an adrenaline-packed game, suitable for large groups as well as families and friends. The game is suitable for a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 120 people, and also for groups and families with children aged 9 and over.
2." SegQuest" - a Segway tour combined with a puzzle game around Zichron Yaakov" - a unique and original escape game that combines riding a Segway while stopping to solve puzzles in a group and structured way. During the activity, the participants are exposed to the hidden cute corners of Zichron Yaakov, where clues belonging to the place await them, with the help of which they will be able to decipher challenging riddles. The game is about two hours long.
3." Following memory treasures" - a street game based on your smartphone. Using riddles, the participants must locate different places in memory, look for clues hidden in the charming alleys of the pedestrian street and throughout the colony, and progress in the tasks. The game is independent and based on a smartphone without the need to install an application, during which you can always stop and enjoy the view of the colony or take a break for a good meal and dessert. The game is suitable for couples, friends, and families with children.
4. "The Code of the First" - an escape game at the Aliya Museum in Zichron Yaakov - this time it's a challenge that can be played in all weather conditions, as it takes place throughout the museum. Get to know the "Zofen Rishonim": a secret code written by the families that founded the settlement 130 years ago and in it lies the key to a rare treasure that was buried in the colony at that time and hidden from the hostile Ottoman government. At the end of the game, the group can continue to tour the museum space.
The pedestrian street Hameyasdim 4, Zichron Yaakov
ZICHRON YAAKOV HOTELS
"ALMA" HOTEL AND ARTS CENTER
"Alma" Hotel and arts center in Zichron Yaakov offers an Israeli vacation in one of the most beautiful spots in Israel. The hotel covers an area of more than 100 dunams, stands on the Carmel ridge, and overlooks a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, natural wooded slopes, and a green mosaic of fields and forested mountain slopes. The hotel combines high-level hotel accommodation alongside high-quality artistic activity in the fields of music, visual arts, and performing arts.
The spacious galleries, the pictures hanging and illuminated by natural sunlight, the sculptures standing in patio spaces under the sky or the beautiful and spacious gardens, the amphitheater (one of four) overlooking the sea and the sunset; And the highlight: two concert halls that are the latest in design, acoustics, and technology and host top performers and composers - all of which make Alma a special gem of hotel accommodation and art.
The hotel, which opened in 2015, cooperates with the Zappa Club, in which a variety of different and diverse performances by the best artists in Israel are held, including leading performers, stand-up shows, and other unique performances, which take place during the week.
The hotel's uniqueness is expressed, among other things, in its extensive support and activity for the promotion of art. It is this fact that has made it a pilgrimage center for art lovers and seekers. Thus, Mrs. Elstein's art collection is presented, which includes works by the best Israeli artists, as well as the exhibition "Walking in a Straight Line" from the Givon Gallery collection, which includes many works from early and contemporary Israeli modernism. Hotel guests are invited to tour the unique works of art in the hotel.
The hotel, all of which 95 rooms were recently renovated, offers large and open spaces, catering services up to the guest rooms, thorough cleaning, and other adjustments and operates following the instructions of the Ministry of Health.
The hotel has a conference and event center with seven halls and meeting rooms of various sizes, all equipped with advanced equipment. In all the halls you can hold conferences, corporate events with content, seminars, workshops, board meetings, and more. Its central location allows guests to enjoy many destinations and activities in the area, starting with the famous Zikron Yaakov pedestrian street, Ramat Hanadiv, museums in the historical settlement, and more.
HOW DO YOU TRAVEL IN ZICHRON YAAKOV?
The tour of Zichron Yaakov starts at Shaar(gate) Yishai and continues along HaHadasim Street and Hanadiv Street. It is recommended to also combine a visit to Beit Aharonson and Carmel Winery, and another delightful family experience awaits you at the "Strawberry Nair" gallery, where you can take part in a preparation workshop (in the pedestrian center, details further down the route).
The visit to the Carmel wineries and the wine culture center is by prior arrangement. Tours are held on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. and on Fridays from 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (closed on Saturdays and holidays). Shabbat and holidays are closed. On Fridays, there is a tour for the general public at a cost of NIS 30 For details: +97246391788 or on the winery website.
HOW DO YOU GET TO ZICHRON YAAKOV?
For the beginning of the route you have to reach the intersection of Hashedafim Street and Granot Road - there is an arranged parking lot next to the cemetery across the street. When you arrive, you will notice a large entrance gate - Shaar Yishai, where the route begins.
Arriving at the beginning of the route: take Route number 2 and at the Zichron interchange we will go down towards Route 70 in the east direction and we will go up to Zichron on Route 652. At the first roundabout, which is near the Carmel wineries, we will continue straight, and we will pass Amphipark on our left, from here we will follow the signs for Zichron Yaakov (stick to the right). At the second square, we will continue straight, and at the third square (Moshe Square) we will turn right (west) and continue straight until we notice the water tower and the monument to the founders of the settlement. At the end of the street is Shaar(gate) Yishai.
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