Nature And Tourism in Gush Etzion

Entrance Fees

Difficulty Level

Tour Routes, Hiking Trails and Historic Sites in Gush Etzion – South to Jerusalem

1.    Battle Hill
A hill approx. 1,300 feet high at the western approach to Gush Etzion. This is where 35 of the armored Corps and Palmach’s finest soldiers fell in 1948 after setting out to bring help and supplies to besieged Gush Etzion settlements. Their story became an Israeli legend.

2.    Haritoun Cave
A beautiful, natural karst rock cave on Tekoa River at the eastern edge of Gush Etzion, bordering on the Judean Desert.
Access is along a marked path. The cave is the longest in Israel (approx. 4.5 km.). There are some 4,000 hermit caves in the area dating back to the early Christian era.
Entry with authorized guide only!

3.    Massuot Yitzhak
Ruins of the only remaining building (a convalescent home) on Massuot Yitzhak, a religious kibbutz which was founded in 1946 and was destroyed, along with three others Gush Etzion settlements, with the declaration of the State of Israel. The site has a JNF forest with playground facilities.
An educational farm dedicated to Gush Etzion’s heritage and an excellent venue for religious-secular meetings.
Observation point with wonderful views over Jerusalem mountains and Judean plane.

Ein Yitzhak

Photo: Ron Peled

4.    Gush Etzion Springs
Ein Hatzvi (Ein Saj’ma), a spring emerging from two natural niches, used to flow into a small pool and from there to a larger one, 4.5 ft. deep. Irrigation terraces are cut into the base of the spring, a reminder of ancient agricultural methods. Shepherds’ caves are also carved out nearby.
Ein Massuot (Ein Hubela) A spring flowing through an underground tunnel into a pool at ground level. The spring was used by local residents during the Biblical and Second Temple eras.
In the 1940s the spring became a landmark and resting place for Palmach patrols and also served residents of Massuot Yitzhak.

5.    Path of the Patriarchs and Milestones
The Path of the patriarchs is a dirt path built over an ancient Roman road where milestones were also discovered, as well as a large ritual purification bath (mikve) dating from the 2nd Temple era. The mikve’s location – at the side of the main road between Jerusalem and Hebron – indicates that it was used by pilgrims on their way to the Temple in Jerusalem. The partition wall, steps, lobby and double entrance separated those descending into the mikve and those leaving it. “All utensils found on the way towards the plunge-bath, in Jerusalem, are unclean; those found on the way from the plunge-bath are clean: for they were not carried down to the plunge-bath the same way that these were carried up from the plunge-bath”. (Mishnah, Tractate ShekalimVIII: b). At the end of the road, in the northern part of Neve Daniel, is an observation point (2,275 ft.) over the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. According to tradition, this was the place where the Patriarch Abraham looked out for the first time over Mount Moriah.

Herodion / Herodium

Photo: Ron Peled

6.    Biar Aqueduct
An enjoyable hike through water in a 27 ft. deep underground tunnel, which was part of a complex system of aqueducts built by Herod the Great to carry water to the Temple (according to the Talmud, the water was used to wash away the blood of sacrifices).
On this exciting walk through a conduit, the water sometimes reaches knee level.

7.    Herodion
A desert hilltop fortress at the edge of the Judean desert called Herodion, to the East of the Gush Etzion settlements. Built by Herod the Great and named for him, the site was an important base of operations during the Great Revolt and the Bar Kochba Revolt, when Jewish zealots built a synagogue at the summit.
The interior of the mountain conceals impressive underground tunnels and cisterns, and the base houses a luxurious palace with a bathhouse and a huge swimming pool.

8.    Kfar Etzion Field School
The Field School was founded after the Six Day War along with the renewal of Jewish settlements in the area. The school runs courses lasting from one day to several days and organizes tours and events for youth, adults, soldiers, teachers, tourists and students, throughout the Judean Region and Gush Etzion. Tours include: Haritoun Cave, Herodion, In the Footsteps of the 35 heroes, Path of the Patriarchs, Following the Aqueducts, Tour of Gush Etzion Springs, Bible tours, Reliving Gush Etzion’s Battle History.
Tel: 02-9935133

Attractions and Entertainment Sites

9.    Gush Etzion Paintball
Enjoyable war games using paintball rifles in a built-up area.
A genuine firing range for rifles and handguns of all types is also available. Selection of workshops for all ages.
Tel: 02-9931387

10.    Fruit Picking at Rosh Tzurim
Pick your own fruit in season in the orchards of kibbutz Rosh Tzurim: kiwi, cherries, blackberries and more.
In June and July join the colorful cherry festival with live shows, workshops and various fruit-picking activity.
Tel: 02-9938388

11.    Audio-Visual Presentation at Kibbutz Kfar Etzion
An exciting audio-visual presentation using special lighting, sound and movement effects to bring to life the heroic story of early Gush Etzion settlement and battles. The presentation lasts 25 minutes and can be heard in 6 languages: Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, German and Russian. The Gush Etzion Historical Archives display written and pictorial records of the War of Independence and settlement in the region during the 1930s.
Entrance fee and advance reservation required.
Tel: 02-9938308

Attractions in Gush Etzion – The Biar Aqueduct

Photo: Ron Peled

12.    Chavayot Animal Center
Chavayot Animal Center is a zoo that is unique in Israel and throughout the world, creating an exciting experience using live animals as an educational and therapeutic tool. Encounter over 1,000 animals from dozens of species: birds, llamas, alpacas, hog deer, raccoons, polecats, hares, guinea pigs, horses, ponies, veiled chameleons, special turtles, large and small rodents and insects – from all over the world.
Most animals on the farm are used to human contact and can be approached by visitors and patients (mainly children) receiving therapy.
Chavayot Animal Center
Yoni Yehuda: 052-2389945 Tel/Fax: 02-9931988 Office: 052-3272793/2

13.    Deer Country
A variety of attractions in a natural forest overlooking breathtaking views of the Elah Valley:
Wild Animal Park: horned animals, petting and feeding corners, pool with wild fowl and more…
Challenge Sports: climbing wall, rope park, zip-line omega (the longest in Israel), paintball, archery, treks and horse riding.
Open: Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m. till nightfall. Friday, 9 a.m. till 2 hours before the Shabbat.
Tel: 02-5709768

14.    Tekoa Winery
Underground boutique winery carved into the rock, specializing in organic grape growing. The entire wine production process, from grape growing to bottling, is performed by winemaker Dov Levy Neumand, who uses knowledge acquired in France over many years.
A visit to the winery includes a guided tour.
By advance reservation.
Tel: 052-3473416

15.    Gush Etzion Wineries
At the Gush Etzion junction, opposite the Judaica Center, a winery specializing in the production of Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and a blackberry liqueur. Organic wines are also available (Chardonnay and merlot). Come for a visit, enjoy the delicate aromas and hear an explanation of the wine making process.
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tel: 02-9309220

The Gush Etzion Winery

Photo: Ron Peled

16.    Gush Etzion Judaica Center
The Judaica Center at the Gush Etzion Junction is surrounded by exquisite green mountain scenery. The attractive building beckons visitors to an esthetic Jewish experience in a magnificent exhibition hall, with a fabulous showroom of hand-made Judaica by the country’s top Judaica artists and craftsmen. The Judaica Center displays changing exhibitions and a caf’e-restaurant with glass walls to maximize the stunning views.
Open: Sunday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday, till 1 p.m.
Tel: 02-9934040


17.    Kfar Etzion Hostels
Thirty Three guest rooms, synagogue and adjacent conference rooms. Each room has en suite facilities. Glatt kosher kitchen, suitable for Shabbat accommodation and seminars.
Guided tours of the region are available.
Tel: 02-9935162

18.    Efrat Guest House
High standard hotel accommodations all week long. Excellent gourmet menu at hotel restaurant with professional team of waiters. Well equipped function hall and reasonable prices for seminars and groups.
Tel: 02-5488440


19.    Mat’amim Catering, Migdal Oz
Mat’amim Catering on Kibbutz Migdal Oz is based on especially tasty home-cooking. Fully kosher kitchen with choice of dairy or meat menu. Advance reservation required. Outdoor catering for special events is also available.
Tel: 02-9936415

20.    Chiffon Restaurant
Unique dairy and pareve restaurant inside a bakery renowned for its wide selection of delicious, home-baked breads. Rich and varied menu with strong Italian influence. Possibility of outdoor catering for special events. Glatt kosher kitchen.
Open: 6 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday, 6 a.m.-2 p.m.; Closed Saturday.
Tel: 02-9933994/5



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