Ramat HaNadiv treasures the beautiful vast gardens of Baron Edmond (Binyamin) de Rothschild mausoleum, the breathtaking landscapes of the Carmel Beach, and some pleasant surprises like an ancient villa, a palace, a cave and a fountain. The circular hiking trial is pleasant, easy, and suitable for the whole family.
A visit to the Baron Gardens can fit individuals with disabilities and baby buggies; the Ein Tzur and Mantzur el 'Aqav (the nicest of all trails) trails are suitable for seasoned walkers because of some moderate slopes at their ends, which might found out uncomfortable for baby carriers.
How to Get There
Drive on the old Coastal Road, Route 4, from both its northern and southern directions until Benyamina. In Benyamina turn into the colony and drive east on its access road (653) until the first traffic circle and then continue left to Derech ha'Atzmauth. At the next traffic circle turn right to Derech NILI. Follow the road that passes under a railway bridge, and immediately after the subterranean traffic passage, turn left toward Zichron-Ya'akov (Route 652). When you arrive at a junction with signs that direct toward Havat heNokdim or Gan haNadiv, drive to the latter. Park the car at Gan haNadiv's parking lot and begin your visit.
Gan HaNadiv – The Gardens of the Generous One
These are vast gardens that were planted around the family mausoleum in memory of Baron Edmon de Rothschild who was called here "The Father of the Yishuv" [the pre-state Jewish population] and "The Famous Benefactor". He was the living spirit behind the Jewish colonies that were built and supported by him during the first Aliyah [immigration]to the Land of Israel in the 1880': Rishon le Zion, Zichron-Ya'akov (called after his father), Mazkeret Batya, Rosh Pinna and more. The crypts in which the Baron and his wife are buried are placed in the middle of the garden behind doors of the Talmud Period. The garden also hosts plants that represents local and universal flora, and is divided into some interesting sectors: the Waterfall Garden, the Rose Garden, the Palm Garden, the Fragrance Garden and more. It is recommended to spare at least one hour for strolling around the garden and enjoying the beautiful views of the costal and sea areas.
Circular Hiking Routes
Starting points for some circular, easy, and beautiful routes can be at the gardens. In the followings passages there are two descriptions that offer the most fascinating sites of the area. It can be nice to give each trail a special visit or to integrate them together.
From Gan Hanadiv to Hirbet Aqav (Mantzur el 'Aqav)
Start from the southwestern corner of the garden, find a red-marked trail and follow it. Continue on this path 1 km [0.6 mile] until Hirbet [Arabic:ruin] Aqav. This villa, which is 142 meters above sea level, is located on the tip of the Carmel ridge, on its southwestern edge. It is a restoration work of the Byzantine Villa that stood here (4-7 centuries AD) which was rebuilt on a Roman villa ruins that probably Jews were living in them and deserted after the First Jewish-Roman War (66–70 AD). Some of the agricultural facilities that used the people of the villa are still apparent there: winepresses, an oil-press, a granary, a cistern for harvesting rainwater and a ritual bath. On the edge of the promontory there is a square with a beautiful view toward the sea, Coastal plane, Carmel, and North Samaria ( in the map).
At the end of the trail follow the red-marked trail north along the ridge. After some 1.5 km [0.9 mile] meet the Timsach stream. If you take a look from this point to the west, you will see the big green spot of Einot Timsach. This is the only a reminiscent of how the swamps looked like in this area before they were drained during the 1950'. The spring water is not pumped due to its high salinity, and in the Nahal Taninim trail there is more info about it. Cross the stream of Nahal Taninim and come to a crossroad. The yellow-marked trail leads back to the starting point (1.5 hour), the red-marked trail winds west, north and at its end back to Hanadiv Gardens (1 hour).
For those who like shortcuts, take the road uphill back to Timsach stream (with the yellow marking) and back to the parking lot. I recommend on the red trail. Follow it and enjoy the view of Timsach Basin and its springs. After another 0.5 km [0.3 mile], you'll encounter a blue-marked bidirectional trail. Going down with the path will take you to Kbara Cave; going up will take you back to Ramat Hanadiv. Go down first to Kbara cave , a Karstic cave made by water permeation that dissolves the soft rock within it. Few findings of prehistoric man that were excavated here are traced back to 150,000 years. One of the most important finding was a skeleton of a Neanderthal man from 60,000 years before our time. It is not allowed to enter the cave and a chainlink fence protects a population of fruit bats (pteropodinae) that live in the cave. However visitors are allowed to get into the cave and be impressed form its vastness and read more explanations about the findings. After visiting the cave, follow the blue-marked trail and climb to Ramat Hanadiv.
The Ein Tzur Trail
Exit the garden and find the blue-marked trail that leads away form the southeastern corner of the garden. Walk and enjoy the trail and the impressive landscapes of HaNadiv plain, Menashe Heights and Samaria Mountains. The 2-km long trail [1.2 mile] takes through Beit Khouri, a farmhouse from the Ottoman Period, and a group of buildings from the Herod Period, including an impressive and fortified palace, spring, pool for water storage and an outstanding bathhouse with its characteristic Roman design of a triad-room bathhouse with hot area, warm area and cold pools. Back then, the passage from one area to the other was designed so that the body will be adjusted to the hot steam. The steam affects the dermis pores, opens and cleanses them until it became totally cleaned without soap which was unknown in those days.
After visiting the bathhouse, come to a fountain  that was used, during old times, to irrigate crops by canals during the hot season. To increase the capacity of the spring, a tunnel was hewn and enlarged form the cavity of the water outlet. There are similar tunnels which are mentioned in the Ein Mata trail. Try walking through the tunnel until the iron gate. Next to the spring there is little brook that flows along the narrow path. A typical habitat of wetlands is thriving along the brook, and on the banks of the manmade pools, and it is easy to identify the water plants and wealth of tiny creatures that thrive there. Return from the spring through the circular trail to Ramat HaNadiv parking lot.
Affiliated websites: Ramat HaNadiv Site
More Recommended Sites
The Shuni Park, Jabotinsky Park
Four in the map. Shuni (or Shumi) was a Roman resort village that during the Water Celebration (Mayumas) hosted the rich residents of Caesarea. The Shuni springs fed big water pools, spas, Jacuzzis and bathhouses. The water festival was celebrated with wine, women, and water. The Benyamina-Shuni road actually cuts through these water pools, and driving on it allows seeing on the right side of the road the pools that were excavated in archeological digs and on the left, the outstanding building. The building itself is from the Ottoman Period and it was built on Roman foundations. Today there is an active theatre there like the one in Caesarea that comes out with various kinds of performances. During the British Mandate in Palestine, Shuni was used as a central training basis for the IZL (National Military Organization), and many underground operations were launched from here, e.g. for releasing sentenced IZL members that waited for their execution in Acco Prison in 1947. Today the site is occupied by the superb IZL Museum, which offers an archeological tour (coordinate this in advance), and the vast lawns of the park are inviting for picnics, while the excellent restaurant there serves both food and Jazz shows.
Park Alona (Mey Kedem) – A subterranean water tunnel that used to supply water for Caesarea and was dug in Park Alona. For more details search for information about the Water Aqueducts in Caesarea trail.
Zichron-Ya'akov – A recommended site to visit is the Zichron Ya’akov Midrachov [a mall walkway] and its many restaurants, the NILI Museum [a museum for the pro-British espionage Jewish organization during the First World War], the Winery that offers guided tours and wine tasting. For additional details, click the Zichron-Ya'akov's web site.
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