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Fun Travels in the Middle East --

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Egypt
Alexandria
Israel
Akko (Acre)
Eilat
Jaffa
Jerusalem
Masada
Tel Aviv
Morocco

NEWS

Israel Mueum Displays Rare Byzantine-Era Antiquities For First Time Since A Discovery Near Temple Mount

Dan Eilat Named to Conde Nast Traveler's "Best Resorts in Middle East and North Africa"

New Memorial in Tel Aviv's Meir Park Commemorates Gay Holocaust Victims

Bibliotecha Alexandria and planned Underwater Museum to Boost City’s Tourism in Egypt


 

EGYPT

ALEXANDRIA

Egypt's Sea Coast Destinations: Alexandria

Alexandria, or “Alex” as it is affectionately called by Egyptians and those “in the know,” is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean.” Rich in History and culture, Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, served as the capital of Grecco-Roman Egypt and was also the setting for the stormy relationship between Anthony and Cleopatra. Few people know that it also boasted the famous Pharos lighthouse that was one of the original Wonders of the Ancient World along with the Pyramids. Ancient Alexandria was also the center of learning and the Alexandria Library was the largest in the World.

Only 225 km from Cairo, Modern Alexandria is the country’s largest Seaport and an important year-round tourist destination. There is no question that the romantic image and attraction of this exotic Mediterranean port was made famous by many western authors, including Lawrence Durell, who made it the setting for his famous novel, “The Alexandria Quartet.”  The Cecil Hotel mentioned in his book is a wonderful example of post colonial architecture, and is being renovated by Sofitel to become one of their new “Legend” hotels.

Alexandria has many ancient landmarks and archaeological sites to explore including the Roman Amphitheatre, the Villa Al Toyour (Birds Villa), the first Mosaic Museum in Egypt, the Al Anfushi Tombs, El Shatby Necropolis, Pompey’s Pillar and the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa. The Graeco-Roman Museum has a fascinating collection which covers the period from the 34 th Century BC to the 7th Century AD. One of the foremost Alexandrian landmarks today is the Sutlan Qaitbey Fort, on the original site of the “Pharos” lighthouse.

Bibliotecha Alexandria and planned Underwater Museum to Boost City’s Tourism

It is the more than its millions of books that attract over 800,000 visitors annually to the new state-of-the-art “Bibliotecha Alexandria” (Alexandria Library) opened in 2002 and built in the shape of a disc facing the Mediterranean. Its geodesic dome houses a lecture hall and Planetarium equipped with an IMAX screen and a Museum of Archaeology. The basement contains 8000 ancient manuscripts and rare books. Definitely a must-see for visitors to Alexandria.      

Ambitious plans to create Egypt’s first Underwater Museum will complement the excitement of Alexandria’s Library. In the year 356, Alexandria was hit by a tsunami, followed by subsequent earthquakes. The result was that some of the city’s greatest archaeological treasures were buried in the sea. Since 1994, divers have been excavating sphinxes, granite blocks and what are thought to be pieces of the Pharos lighthouse. The grand vision for the Underwater Museum in Alexandria calls for an immersed fiber glass tunnel that will allow visitors a dry place to view these ancient monuments.

The real lure of Alexandria, however, is the tantalizing rhythm of this City, which ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea. To experience the local “Alex” the visitor must wander its labyrinth of streets in the ancient quarters, and join the locals at sun set as they promenade along the  Corniche as it winds its way around the harbor.

The North Coast Beyond Alexandria

West of Alexandria lie miles of beautiful white sandy beaches, stretching along the Mediterranean Sea to the border with Libya. This Mediterranean coastline has been the focus of new development and increased air access. The North Coast is now served by airports in  Alexandria,  El-Alamein, Borg el-Arab and Marsa Matruh. The seaside resorts, ranging from the ultra luxurious to more modest family resorts, are popular during the summer time with both local and foreign tourists. 

Mariut: 15 km west of Alexandria
The region’s climate is ideal for spa tourism and relaxation. In addition to Lake Mariut, there are the extensive remains of the early Christian City of Abu Mena.

Agami: 25 Km West of Alexandria
Now the meeting-place for the jet set, Agami is called the “Egyptian Saint-Tropez” with fashionable restaurants, nightclubs, luxury cars and villas. Swimming however is restricted to private beaches.

Abu Sir: 50km West of Alexandria
Abu Sir is the name given by the Bedouins to the ancient Ptolemaic city of Tappsiris Magna. However, all that remains of the city is the 30m-high lighthouse, a quarter–sized replica of the “Ancient Wonder of the World” Lighthouse that had stood in Alexandria’s port. Three beautiful beaches are located nearby.

Borg el-Arab: 60km West of Alexandria
Founded in 1988 by President Mubarak, Borg el-Arab has become a prestigious destination. With the opening of the Hilton Hotel, it is an ideal family resort and has excellent water sports facilities.

El-Alamein/Marina El Alamein: 106 Km from Alexandria
A port city known primarily as the site of historic World War II battles, El Alamein has now emerged as one of Egypt’s most exclusive resorts. The Marina El Alamein, with Venice-like canals, is comprised of luxurious villas, chalets and upscale shops.   

Sidi Abdel Rahman: 125 Km from Alexandria
This wonderful bay is one of the best-kept secrets of Egypt’s entire north coast. The village has managed to preserve its traditional Bedouin way of life and remains relatively underdeveloped, guaranteeing an air of authenticity. The only hotel catering for tourists, El-Alamein, offers visitors pristine beaches.

Marsa Matruh: 240 km West of Alexandria
Totally to the other extreme from Sidi Abdel Rahman, Marsa Matruh is a large city, which is packed during the summer. Popular for its lovely bay, sparkling turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, Marsa Matruh is said to have been founded by Alexander the Great on his way to the Siwa Oasis.  

Egypt's Sea Coast Destinations: Sinai Peninsula

Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh, more often referred to as “Sharm”, is an ideal resort for diving and swimming with beautiful beaches, coral reefs and the Ras Mohamad National Park. Visitors can select from a wide range of accommodations--five star luxuries to budget hotels. It is also an excellent jumping off point for tours to some of the historic places in the Sinai, including St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of “Jebel Musa” where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. Desert Safaris feature visits to a Bedouin village and a camel ride in the desert sands.

For smaller, peaceful resorts with beautiful beaches and wonderful diving and snorkeling one should not miss Dahab, Nuweiba, and Taba, all north of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Red Sea Coast: Hurgada

Once a small fishing village founded in the early 20th Century, Hurgada is now one of the foremost tourist resorts along the Red Sea and world famous as a center for international aquatic sports. Known as the center for diving, water sports and night life, it is also known to the Europeans as a “party town.”  The developments north and south of the city offer visitors more peaceful options including golf. The many beautiful islands off shore offer wonderful snorkeling and diving day trips.

El Gourna, 20 kms north of Hurgada, is luxury resort comlpex with a marina, another “must see” on this coast.

Red Sea Coast: Port Ghalib Marina and Resort Complex

The recently opened Port Ghalib Marina and Resort Complex, five minutes from the new Marsa Alam International Airport, is definitely the new “buzz” on the Red Sea. A yachtsmen’s paradise, this ultra deluxe resort with a marina (can accommodate 1000 boats) and four hotels (the five-star deluxe Intercontinental Palace Port Ghalib Resort, the five star twin Crowne Plaza properties, Sahara Sands and Sahara Oasis, and the four- star Marina Lodge Port Ghalib, will certainly rival that of the more established resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurgada.

ATA Congress: "Connecting Destination Africa"

The theme of the four-day Africa Travel Association Congress is “Connecting Destination Africa.” The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) are subsidizing hotel accommodations for all delegates and providing transportation, logistical support, and a full day of tours in Cairo itself. The “host day” tour will include a visit to the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, The Pyramids in Giza, as well as a visit to the National Museum.

Egypt Air, the official Congress Carrier, is offering discount rates for all delegates for as low as $711 (not including tax) round-trip New York/Cairo/New York in economy class on a first come basis.  Egypt Air is a member of Star Alliance.

For more information about Egypt check web site www.egypt.travel/>www.egypt.travel

ISRAEL (Cities & Towns Follow the News)

What to See & Do  

Israel Named Top Wine Destination for 2016

Condé Nast Traveler has listed Israel as the third hottest wine destination for 2016, ranked among a list of nine top destinations. According to Laura Maniec, master sommelier: "Wine has been made here since biblical times, of course; but for much of its history, Israel's been known for kosher wines of dubious quality. A new breed of winemakers has set out to change that, by embracing modern, New World techniques and the principles of quality winemaking. Small, boutique wineries are sprouting everywhere, particularly in the Galilee/Golan Heights and Judean Hills regions."

New Selfie Station Opens at Ben Gurion Airport

Israel Tourism Minister Yariv Levin recently inaugurated a new project that encourages tourists to capture their journey on social media as soon as they land in Israel. To make this fun for visitors, a new "Selfie Station" has just been placed at Ben Gurion Airport, so visitors can feel as though they're already sunning on the beach even before stepping out of the airport. This station is just the first of several selfie stations to be placed around Israel, with others planned for Jerusalem, Acre, Eilat and the Dead Sea.

Skating in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv has the most established skate scene in Israel, boasting a large, modern outdoor park, while Jerusalem is home to one of the oldest skate shops in the country, Gili's Skateshop. The country has a very grassroots scene and a strong sense of community among skateboarders. Red Bull recently captured this vibrant skateboarding scene around Israel, particularly in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be'ersheva and Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Does the Charleston

See the city come alive as locals break into dance, performing the Charleston on the streets of Jerusalem:

For more information contact the Israel Government Tourist Office at 646-779-6757

Thousands of Archeological Artifacts Now Available Online

In an effort to make the archeological treasures found in Israel accessible to people around the world, the Israel Antiquities Authority recently created a National Treasures website, which is currently showcasing 5,700 objects. The website will be regularly updated with the most recent discoveries and provide high resolution images and information on all artifacts.

Design Museum Holon to Present New Exhibition Showcasing New Works by Israeli Architect and Museum Designer from Ron Arad

Israel's Design Museum Holon will unveil a new exhibition showcasing the works of Israel-born architect Ron Arad, designer of New York's epic 9/11 memorial. The new exhibition, entitled "In Reverse," showcases videos depicting the creative process of Ron Arad and feature a collection of specially created design pieces, as well as dozens of works from Arad's 20-year career.

Byzantine-Era Mosaic Uncovered at Kibbutz Bet Qama in the Negev Desert

A magnificent 1,500-year-old mosaic was recently uncovered during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority at Kibbutz Bet Qama in Israel's Negev Desert. The mosaic is adorned with geometric patterns, a pair of peacocks, a pair of doves pecking at grapes on a tendril and its corners depict amphorae, or ancient jars used to transport wine.

New "EatWith" Travel Program Offers Unique Culinary Experiences in Israel

EatWith, a new program that connects food-focused travelers with local host families, is now available for visitors to Israel. EatWith offers unique dining experiences in private homes and visits to dairy and produce farms across Israel. www.eatwith.com

Weizmann Institute for Science Announces New Multimedia Visitors Center

The Weizmann Institute for Science opened the Levinson Visitors Center in 2013, offering an in-depth look into current scientific projects and discoveries in Israel.The Weizmann Institute was founded in Rehovot (south of Tel Aviv) in 1934 and is considered one of the world's leading centers of scientific achievement. The new visitors center includes an interactive science exhibition and multimedia presentation. visitors-center.weizmann.ac.il

Kfar Hanokdim Offers Unique Insight into Local Bedouin Culture

Camp at Kfar Hanokdim, a green oasis complete with Bedouin tents and biblically inspired gardens, near Masada. Visitors to Kfar Hanokdim will receive a unique insight into Bedouin culture with desert hikes, special meals and overnight accommodations in authentic Bedouin tents, cabins or lodges under the star-filled desert sky. For details go to web site www.hanokdim.com

New Web Site Simplifies Travel to Israel With Babies

Families traveling to Israel with small children can now rent strollers and other baby equipment through the new Israel with Baby website. The service offers travelers with rental options in various cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya and Herzliya. For details check web site www.israelwithbaby.com

Accessible Israel Brochures Now Available Online

Disabled travelers to Israel can now learn about accessible sites with a new Accessible Israel online brochures. The online brochure features accessible tour routes in Israel, including the Sea of Galilee, Tel Aviv, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Negev Desert. For details check web site goisrael.com/accessibleisraelenglish

The Museum of the Good Samaritan in Judean Desert

The Museum of the Good Samaritan, one of the world's largest mosaic museums, invites visitors in the Judean Desert near Jerusalem. Located on the main highway between Jerusalem and Jericho, the Museum rests near the site of the inn mentioned in the New Testament's parable of the good Samaritan. It is identified with the biblical town of Ma'ale Adumim and displays mosaics and artifacts discovered throughout Israel. The museum also features an open-air display of mosaics and archaeological findings from both Jewish and Samaritan synagogues and Christian churches, including cisterns and remnants from the reconstructed Good Samaritan Byzantine Church.  For more information, please visit www.goisrael.com.

New Performing Arts Center to Open in Ashkelon in Southern Israel

Plans were announced for the construction of a major new 48,000-square-foot performing arts center and music and dance conservatory in Ashkelon in southern Israel. Designed by French architect Manuelle Gautrand in collaboration with Israeli architect Batya Swirk Malul, the center will boast two performance auditoriums, music and dance schools and a public square for outdoor performances.
  
The $16.2-million structure will resemble a stack of boxes with a perforated metallic-sheet covering; and include an open-terrace lookout point with sweeping views of Ashkelon.
 
For more information on travel to Israel, visit www.goisrael.com.

Israel Expands Cycling-Tourism Routes

Israel has announced plans to expand the country's cycling-tourism industry by investing approximately $6-million dollars in new bicycle routes over the next two years. The new Israel Cycling Trail, stretching 750 miles from the north to south of the country, will feature offshoot regional paths including an 80-mile path encircling the Sea of the Galilee, a cycling route in the Acre and Krayort areas and trails in Gilboa, Jerusalem, Beer Sheba, Arad and the Yarkon, Ayalon and Alexander Rivers.   

See the Wonders of the Galilee on the "Israel National Trail"

Tourists visiting Israel can experience the breathtaking scenery of the Lower Galilee region by trekking the "Israel National Trail." The scenic route brings hikers through the spring flowers of the region to the beautiful and historic Mt. Tabor, into running streams and lush forests, up to the ancient city of Nazareth and ending at the slopes of the Carmel Mountains. The tour is led by trained guides who will teach travelers about local and national sustainability initiatives and explore Jewish environmental values. www.hikeisrael.org

Desert Cities

The four ancient Nabatean towns of Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta in the Negev Desert define the spice and incense routes that ran millennia ago from south Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea. These towns flourished for over 500 years until the second century. Today the remains and excavations of fortresses, sophisticated irrigation systems, forts, and inns bear witness to the way in which the harsh desert was settled for trade and agriculture.

Bibical Tels

A Tel is Hebrew for a pre- historic settlement mound - and Israel is home to more than two hundred. Those at Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba are enormous outdoor treasuries of biblical artifacts. They present extraordinary examples of the dense urban community life in the Iron Age --fifteen centuries ago, complete with amazing details of the agriculture, water-collecting, government, commerce and domestic life thousands of years ago.

Additional sites in Israel nominated for coveted UNESCO World Heritage status are:

Tel Dan & Sources of the River Jordan
Early Synagogues in the Galilee
Sea of Galilee & its Ancient Sites
Israel's Baha‚i shrines
Bet She'an
Caesarea
White Mosque in Ramle

Other UNESCO World Heritage sites include: historic centers of cities such as Prague, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Venice, Florence and Paris, the great cathedrals and castles of France and Germany, the Vatican and Forum in Rome, the Acropolis in Athens, the city of Havana, the Medina of Marrakesh, the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, Petra, the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon...and Auschwitz.

For more information on visiting Israel, check web site www.rs6.net

Southern Israel's Avdat National Park Reopens After A Three-Year Rehabilitation Project

Southern Israel's Avdat National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, reopened this month after an extensive three-year rehabilitation project. The site is located on the ancient Nabatean Spice Route and boasts a restored Byzantine church, one of Israel's oldest wine presses, and offers a multimedia film detailing the history of the site.

Avital Volcano Park in Northern Israel

The newly opened Avital Volcano Park features a model volcano, eruption simulations and hiking trails amongst the site's basalt rocks in northern Israel's breathtaking Golan Heights. The park hosts guided nighttime walking tours and a stunning audio-visual show every Thursday evening.

AKKO (Acre)

20 minutes from Haifa, Israel's northernmost city, Akko is an historic walled port-city and was the original link between Egypt and Phoenicia over 4,000 years ago. Today one can see Ottoman 18th and 19th century iconic citadels, mosques, inns and baths. Capital of the medieval Crusader Kingdom from 1104 to 1291, much of medieval Akko, remarkably, exist today almost intact, both above and below street level. Akko provides an exceptional 'snap shot' of Crusader architecture.

EILAT

Biggest Shark Pool in Middle East Opens at Underwater Observatory Marine Park in Eilat

Eilat's Underwater Observatory Marine Park recently opened Shark World, showcasing the largest shark pool in the Middle East measuring 10,700 square feet and offering the rare opportunity to see Red Sea sharks up close. The pool is home to 18 sharks along with walruses, sea bats and thousands of fish. Visitors can traverse the pool through a transparent tunnel, while sharks and other marine life swim above and alongside them.

JAFFA

Departures Magazine Names Jaffa One of the World's Most Beautiful Shopping Districts

Departures magazine recently named the Jaffa flea market one of the "World's Most Beautiful Shopping Districts." The article describes the neighborhood's "Ottoman-style buildings and the droves of restaurants and one-of-a-kind boutiques that have settled there in the last several years," ranking Jaffa alongside Paris' Le Marais neighborhood and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

JERUSALEM

The Tower of David Museum Opens the Citadel Moat and Kishle Building to the General Public

The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem opened the Citadel moat and Kishle building to the general public for the first time since their renovation on November 12. Before the renovations, access had only been open to a few small groups as the excavations were considered to be unsafe. The Citadel moat and Kishle building are now open for group visits offering guided tours and cultural events.

Gazelle Valley Urban Nature Park

Gazelle Valley, a massive urban nature park is in the middle of Jerusalem. The park is home to numerous gazelles and deer and features multiple species of fauna and flora, five ponds, two streams, walking trails and bicycle paths. Stretching over 60 acres near the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, the park's location was previously referred to as "gazelle valley" due to the herd of gazelles that inhabited the site.

Guided Tours of Tower of David's Moat and Kishle Excavations Now Offered Twice Weekly in English

Tours of the newly opened excavations in the moat and Kishle building of Jerusalem's Tower of David Museum will now be offered in English every Tuesday at 10:30am and every Friday at 11:00am. Recent discoveries uncovered during excavations in the moat and Kishle building unveil thousands of years of Jerusalem's history through archeological findings dating back to the First Temple 3,000 years ago. The guided tours start on top of King Herod's tower, where visitors have spectacular views of Israel's capital. The tour continues into the moat and ends at the Kishle Building.

Thousands of Christians Expected to Travel to Israel for Easter

Thousands of Christians are expected to visit Jerusalem and places described in the New Testament to mark the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus during Holy Week and Easter this year. Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians will be observing the holidays at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, while Protestants will congregate at the Garden Tomb - thought to be Joseph of Arimathea's burial chamber and a possible site of the resurrection. Holy Week events include: Palm Sunday processions down the Mount of Olives, Maundy Thursday commemorations of the Last Supper, the Good Friday walk along the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Grief), the Great Saturday lighting of the Orthodox Patriarch's candle within the tomb of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Easter Sunday services and the Easter Monday pilgrimage to Emmaus.

Old City of Jerusalem

The holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem was originally built by King David three thousand years ago and has held enormous symbolic significance to the world ever since. Today capital of the reborn State of Israel, its wide ramparts, seven gates, 34 towers, the citadel, its four residential quarters, the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, and over 200 other historic monuments are eternal landmarks that stand, incredibly, all within the confines of a mere square mile.

Israel Mueum Displays Rare Byzantine-Era Antiquities For First Time Since A Discovery Near Temple Mount

A rare collection of Byzantine-era antiquities discovered in 2013 are on display for the first time in a dedicated exhibit at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The exhibit features the largest gold medallion with Judaic symbols known to exist (measuring four inches in diameter), along with gold coins and silver and gold jewelry. The medallion has a menorah in the center, a shofar on the left and an unidentified object on the right - possibly a bundle of myrtle, willow and palm branches. The coins are decorated on one side with portraits of Byzantine-era emperors and on the other side with crosses or images of gods. The 36 coins on display date back to 602 CE and earlier.

New Handicapped-Accessible Old City of Jerusalem Tour Brochures Now Available OnLine

A joint initiative of the Israel Ministry of Tourism and Jerusalem Development Authority, new handicapped-accessible tours of the Old City of Jerusalem are now available online at www.goisrael.com. The online brochures includes routes through the Jaffa Gate and Zion Gate, The Jewish Quarter, The Temple Mount Compound and The Via Dolorosa, and feature specific accessibility information for each site.

MASADA

A 90-minute drive from Jerusalem, Masada is a rugged natural fortress of majestic beauty in the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. This is the site of the last stand of Jewish patriots facing the Roman army siege almost 2,100 years ago. It was built as a palace complex in the classic style of the early Roman Empire by Herod the Great, King of Judea, who reigned two thousand years ago. The camps, fortifications and assault ramps that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day.

TEL AVIV

New Memorial in Tel Aviv's Meir Park Commemorates Gay Holocaust Victims

A new memorial commemorating the thousands of LGBT victims of the Holocaust was unveiled this month in Tel Aviv's Meir Park. The memorial is shaped in the form of a pink triangle, signifying the emblem that gays and lesbians were required to attach to their clothes while being held in concentration camps; the pink triangle has since been adopted as the symbol of the international LGBT rights movement. The monument also features short texts in Hebrew, English and German.

"The new memorial in the heart of Tel Aviv represents an important addition to our memory of the Holocaust," said Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner for Tourism, North and South America. "It is only fitting for Tel Aviv, now considered one of the world's most open and tolerant cities and most popular LGBT travel destinations, to be home to such an inspiring memorial."

For more information about travel to Israel, visit www.goisrael.com.

"Dream Weavers: From Jewish Tailors to Tailors to Top Fashion Designers" Exhibit at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv Until July 17, 2015

The "Dream Weavers: From Jewish Tailors to Top Fashion Designers" exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv looks at the contribution of Jewish designers to the world of fashion from tailors to cultural heroes. For the first time in Israel, an exhibition showcasing dresses, jewelry and accessories from an international dream team of 20 Jewish fashion designers is open to the public until July 17, 2015. Featured designers include Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Alber Elbaz, Sonia Rykiel, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Arnold Scassi, Diane von Furstenburg, Victoria's Secret and Nicole Farhi.The exhibition presents the fashion world's greatest success stories, who thread stories and weave dreams.

Tel Aviv to Get Its Own Hot Air Balloon

Tel Aviv is about to join 50 other cities including London, Paris and Hong Kong, by having its own hot air balloon. The balloon will offer locals and tourists a bird's eye perspective of the city for about $18 for adults and $12 for children. The 12-minute ride will include a guided tour of the city by the balloon's pilot. The city is also planning to open a visitor's center showcasing the history of hot air balloons in Israel and around the world.

New Tourist-Friendly Street Map Signs Rolled Out in Tel Aviv

New tourist-friendly street map signs have recently been installed throughout Tel Aviv, featuring directions to nearby attractions, maps of the neighborhood and site-specific history. An initiative of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality, the signs can be found in various locations around Tel Aviv, including Magen David Square, Rothschild Boulevard and the Mediterranean promenade, and include useful information in Hebrew, English and Arabic.

EL Al to Launch Nonstop Service from Boston to Tel Aviv in June 2015

Starting in June 2015, EL AL Israel Airlines will begin offering nonstop service from Boston to Tel Aviv three days a week. The new EL AL flights, which will supplement the airline's existing nonstop service from North America out of New York's JFK and Newark airports, Los Angeles and Toronto, will depart from Boston's Logan International Airport every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  This nonstop service caters to the 16 percent growth in the Boston-Tel Aviv market in the last three years.

National Geographic Again Votes Tel Aviv One of the World's Top Ten Oceanfront Cities

Tel Aviv was again ranked one of the top ten oceanfront cities in the world by National Geographic. Other cities on the list include San Diego, Tallinn, St John's, Marseille, Perth, Brisbane, Durbane, Vladivostok and Portland. Tel Aviv-Yafo boasts 13 beaches along its 9-mile shore sprinkled with lounge chairs, restaurants, bars, outdoor gyms, playgrounds and a promenade. Among the characters found along Tel Aviv's shoreline are clowns, caricaturists, tattoo artists, hair-braiders, magicians and Israeli folk-dancers.

"Robert Capa: Photographer of Life" Exhibtion Open at Tel Aviv Museum of Art through August 22, 2015

A selection of works by Robert Capa, once described as "the world's best war photographer," are currently on display in the "Robert Capa: Photographer of Life" exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art until August 22, 2015. The works presented include: his first photograph, from 1932, of Leon Trotsky; the republican soldier from the Spanish civil war at the moment of his death; the D-day landing on Omaha beach and German snipers shooting at crowds celebrating the liberation of Paris. Additional works on display are from Capa's 1948 visit to Israel to witness and photograph the Declaration of Independence, the Altalena cargo ship on fire, Begin addressing a crowd, refugees arriving in Israel and the refugee transit camps. They do not commemorate battlefields or heroic combat, but rather the margins of war: a solitary soldier or a small group of fighters. The warmth and humanity radiating from the photographs inspire a range of feelings in the viewer, from pain to joy.

For more information contact the Israel Government Tourist Office at 212-499-5647

Tel Aviv's White City

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 as a garden suburb of ancient Jaffa. Construction of the area known today as 'The White City' was begun in the early 1930‚s mostly by German-émigré architects who had studied Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe's 'functional aesthetic' at the Bauhaus in Dessau. Eventually called the 'International Style,' it is characterized by flat roofs, small horizontal windows, shade-providing columns, curved balconies, minimal ornamentation, reinforced concrete construction and white-washed exteriors. Today, Tel Aviv has the largest number of Bauhaus/International-style buildings of any city in the world.

Tel Aviv's Gan Hahashmal Named One of the Top 10 Sexiest Neighborhoods on Earth by Thrillist.com

Tel Aviv's Gan Hahashmal was voted among the top 10 sexiest neighborhoods on earth by Thrillist.com, along with neighborhoods in Paris, Barcelona, Sydney and others. According to Thrillist.com, Gan Hahashmal's chic shopping, trendy bars and high-end real estate draws in the crowds of "ridiculously good-looking people."

Tel Aviv Named Outstanding Culinary Destination by Saveur Magazine

Saveur magazine has named Tel Aviv an outstanding culinary destination in several categories of its annual Culinary Travel Awards. Tel Aviv was named "outstanding" in the Best Culinary Destination and Best Markets and Shops categories. EL AL Israel Airlines was named "outstanding" in the Best In-Flight Wine Program category. Jerusalem was also highlighted with a recommendation from the Saveur editors for the hugely popular Mahane Yehuda Market.

Where to Stay

Dan Eilat Named to Conde Nast Traveler's "Best Resorts in Middle East and North Africa"

Readers of Conde Nast Traveler, one of the most well-respected travel magazines in the US, have named Dan Eilat, the luxury Red Sea resort from Dan Hotels, Israel's leading five-star hotel collection, the third best resort in the Middle East and North Africa.

Situated directly on the north beach of the Eilat bay with a variety of recreation activities and beautiful views of the Red Sea, Dan Eilat placed #3 on the "Best Resorts in the Middle East & North Africa" list, with a total score of 90.73. The accolade from Conde Nast Traveler readers comes just a few months after the Dan Eilat made its debut entry on Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards, with that magazine's readers naming it #16 on the list of "Top Lodges and Resorts in Africa and the Middle East," with a total score of 85.00.  The hotel has 375 guestrooms, including 49 suites, family rooms, a fitness center, spa and even a children's recreation-based attraction called Danyland with video game rooms, pool activities and disco.

The results of the prestigious annual Readers' Choice Awards appear in the November 2014 issue of Conde Nast Traveler, one of the most respected travel publications in the world. This year, nearly 77,000 magazine readers cast more than 1 million votes to select the world's best hotels, resorts, destinations and cruise lines.

For more information about Dan Hotels, visit www.danhotels.com.

ABOUT DAN HOTELS:
Dan Hotels Israel is the largest luxury hotel group in the country. The history of the chain dates back to June 1947, when two brothers Yekutiel and Shmuel Federmann, purchased a 21-room guest house called the "Kaete Dan" on the Tel Aviv sea shore. Today, the chain owns 14 deluxe and superior first-class hotels in prime locations around the country, an international convention center and a hotel training school.

Israel Hostel Ranks Amont Top Ten in the World

The Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem was recently ranked among the "Top Ten Hostels in the World" in a survey published by Hostelworld.com. The hostel is described as having a "great value and great atmosphere," and is located in Davidka Square just outside the Old City of Jerusalem.

Israel Unveils New Luxury Hotels 

Israel has unveiled the Efendi Palace, a new luxury boutique hotel in the Mediterranean coastal city of Akko; and the construction of a new 47-room boutique hotel located at the foothills of the Carmel Forest near Haifa. In addition, the Hagroshrim Kibbutz Hotel in Israel's Galilee region unveiled the addition of a new guest wing, business lounge and 5-star spa in April 2012.

MOROCCO

Octogone Terre Resort & Spa Shares Its Most Requested Recipe

At the Octogone TERRE Resort & Spa in Marrakech, guests can experience the best of all culinary worlds. They not only get to dine on innovative and eclectic menus in the resort’s Milagros Restaurant, but can also arrange for a special meal prepared by the chef served in a romantic candle-lit Berber tent or even for a private cooking class with the chef.

One of the best ways to explore a country is through its cuisine and while dining at the vast number of restaurants in Marrakech will reveal the city’s cultural diversity, for true foodies, nothing beats the hands-on experience of shopping for ingredients and actually preparing the dishes, whether it’s shopping at a local market in Marrakech and preparing the meal in one of the private kitchens of the TERRE Royal Residences or at a market and the kitchen at home.

TERRE Resort & Spa offers a wide range of dining experience to suit every mood and palate, including their “Anywhere Dining” concept which offers guests the flexibility of dining anywhere on the property — in the comfort of their villa, al fresco by the pool or on the rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the Atlas Mountains and the city. No matter where guests dine, they are assured of the freshest ingredients and organic fruits and vegetables from TERRE’s own gardens.

The Chef shares the recipe most requested by TERRE’s guests – his take on the classic Moroccan tajine.

Moroccan Lamb Tajine:
For 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 boneless lamb shoulder about 800 grams
800 gr of pumpkin
3 onions
1 spoonful of cumin, coriander, ginger, paprika, powder, cinnamon, saffron yellow
1 spoonful each of cumin, coriander, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, saffron
30 gr of butter
2 spoonful of liquid honey
Salt and pepper
1 bunch of fresh coriander

Preparation:
Infuse the saffron in some warm water, at least one hour before
Cut the meat into cubes.
Peel onion and slice thinly.
Peel the pumpkin and cut it in rather thick slices
Chop the coriander.
Preheat the oven in 160 C°.

Cooking the tajine:
In a bowl, thoroughly mix the cubed lamb, spices and salt. Add half the oil to a frying pan, add the lamb and cook until browned. Remove lamb from the frying pan and put in a dish with earthenware cooking pot. Add the remaining oil and onions to the frying pan and cook until browned.Remove onions from frying pan and add to the meat in the dish with tajine, then add 2 glasses of water and cook in the oven for one hour. Add butter to frying pan and brown pumpkin slices on both sides. Add the honey to coat the slices of pumpkin. Add pumpkin to the meat and cook an additional hour. Sprinkle chopped coriander over the meat and pumpkin before serving over cous cous.

Milagros Traditional Moroccan Cous Cous
For 4 Servings

Ingredients
1 cup orange juice or other juice
1 cup instant cous cous
1/4 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation
Bring juice and 1/2 cup water to boil in a small pot. Removed from heat, stir in cous cous and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate saucepan saute dates, raisins, almonds and cinnamon in 1/2 cup water for 2 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Add mixture to the cous cous and stir.

ABOUT OCTOGONE TERRE RESORT & SPA

Octogone TERRE (Earth) Resort & Spa is a secluded luxury five-star getaway located at the doors of the famous palm grove "Palmeraie" just 7 kilometers outside of Marrakech and on the road to Casablanca. Everything at TERRE -- from the architecture to the cuisine -- is an innovative blend of old and new enabling guests to step into the past and be immersed in true Moroccan style while being pampered with all imaginable present-day luxuries.

The 52-room luxury suite property is set on almost 12 acres of land in its own small village. Facilities include three restaurants, a full-service spa, an infinity pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, golf putting area, and access to a nearby world-class golf courses.

For reservations, call: (480) 503-8022 or (800) 915-4012 or visit web site www.octogonehotels.com.

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