The city of Ashkelon is situated at the southern end of Israel’s beautiful Mediterranean coastline. This coastline with its white sandy beaches and stunning views stretches from Ashkelon all the way north to Rosh Hanikra on the Lebanese border.
Ashkelon has a long and interesting history. As in many other places in Israel the ruins of previous civilizations are evident. When the Philistines migrated to Israel’s coastal plain in about 1200 BCE they settled in 5 cities Ashdod, Gaza, Gaath, Ekron and Ashkelon which was the only one built on the shore. The ancient ruins at Ashkelon cover 150 acres and have been under excavation since 1985. The excavations which actually began in the late 19th century have uncovered remains going back to the Neolithic age right through to the 13th century BCE. One of the most exciting finds in recent years is a bronze and silver calf that is about 3,500 years old
Over the centuries, Ashkelon has come under the control of many invaders before undergoing a revival after King Herod who enhanced and enlarged the city. Later after Muslim and then Crusader rule and then again by Muslims the city was abandoned until 1948 when rebuilding began and in 1953 was established by the Jewish South African development company Afridar.
Today Ashkelon has become a tourist centre with many activities available, its major attraction being the National Park which lies southwest of the city. The Park contains the tel (Hebrew name for abandoned ruins) with remains from going back 4000 years ago from the Canaanite period, the Roman era and the times of the Crusaders. The Park includes large stretches of lawn and a public beach.
There are also many ancient sites to be found in the city itself such as remains of Byzantine churches, two coffins from Roman times and a grave situated next to the Marina from the Mamluk period.
The Ashkelon Marina is situated between two beaches in the heart of the tourist area and has the ability to hold about 600 boats and is well known and popular with the International yachting community.
Accommodation is available in Hotels and self catering holiday rental apartments.