Ashkelon is a coastal town in the southern district of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, 50 km (31 mi) south of Tel Aviv and 20 km (14 mi) south of Ashdod. The city's climate is typically Mediterranean, with long and hot summers and cool and not-too-rainy winters.
The city was first settled more than 4000 years ago. It was ruled by the Philistines, the Israelites, the Romans, the Byzantine, the Muslims and the Crusaders, all of whom left their mark on this quaint little seaside town.
Five Great Reasons to Visit Ashkelon:
• Ashkelon boasts spectacular beaches along its 12 km coastline with a variety of holiday facilities and hotels. The Ashkelon Marina has a 600-vessel mooring capacity, making it one of the largest and most beautiful in Israel.
• Archeological sites
- The excavations of a Byzantine church, with marble columns, capitals and mosaic floors, is open to the public. The basilica was built in the 4th century and destroyed during the Arab conquest in the 7th century. An outdoor museum houses archeological finds from the area, including two Roman sarcophagi - beautifully decorated and among the finest ever found in Israel. Other ancient artifacts on display include sculptures, columns, capitals and inscriptions.
• Ashkelon Khan and Museum
- This ancient Arab wayside inn is now home to the city's history museum. There are archeological finds spanning 5,000 years of history, including a replica of Ashkelon's famous Canaanite silver calf, a significant archeological discovery that made the front page news. The Khan's Municipal Gallery showcases local artists, including new immigrants, and there are also a café and a fish restaurant.
• Hamei Yoav Spa
- The complex was founded by members of Kibbutz Negba and Sde Yoav. The mineral-filled waters were discovered in the 1950s, while digging for crude oil in the area. The waters' healing powers were discovered in the mid-80s and are believed to accelerate metabolism and speed up weight loss, rejuvenate skin cells and relieve stress. Hamei Yoav offers thermal pools, the waterfall pool, hydro massages as well as a deluxe spa center.
- The city's water amusement park has water slides and pools, a cafeteria and picnic ground.