Another Israeli tourist site gets World Heritage status
Israel’s status as one of the world’s top travel destinations for history fans has been further boosted after UNESCO conferred World Heritage Site status on the Carmel Caves, located in the north of the country.
The Middle Eastern country already boasts more than its fair share of protected sites, many of them to be found in major cities such as Jerusalem, and almost all massively popular with both domestic and foreign tourists.
Now, Israel has one more World Heritage Site to show off, with the global organisation adding the caves to the prestigious list due to their fascinating history,
According to experts, the caves and the area immediately surrounding them have given up cultural artefacts representing some 500,000 years of human evolution, not only giving a detailed picture of the lives of early humans, but also of the lives of Neanderthals.
Announcing its decision, UNESCO notes that, “located in one of the best preserved fossilised reefs of the Mediterranean region, the site contains cultural deposits representing half a million years of human evolution from the Lower Paleolithic to the present.”
Even without World Heritage status, the caves have long been a popular tourist attraction, with a small visitor centre and museum explaining the site’s historical significance and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority working to preserve its status as one of the region’s top archaeological sites.
The most popular of Israel’s World Heritage Sites is the Old City of Jerusalem, which attracts millions of visitors a year.
Within the Old City, attractions include Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Asqa Mosque, all of which are of significant religious importance for Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Meanwhile, Mount Carmel, which also enjoys UNESCO protection, is widely-regarded as one of the best places for getting back to nature in Israel, with many city residents joining foreign tourists in escaping to its forest-covered hills and mountains at weekends and over the summer months.