Dor-HaBonim Beach

A pleasant and refreshing hike along a breathtaking beach that offers a wealth of history, shipwrecks and sunken troves, beautiful nature, and seaside vegetation, all of which make it unique. It is highly recommended to come here at sunset, when a romantic atmosphere magnifies the charm of this place
Updated at: 6/6/2017

Rating

8.7
9

Duration


Half a Day

Difficulty


Easy, 3 Km

Seasons


All year

Properties: Water DipFor FamiliesRomanticRound Trip
Advanced:

Getting There

Drive on Highway 2, and leave either at the Atlith or Fureidis Interchange toward Route 4. Continue to drive until you come to the turn to Moshav HaBonim, cross the Highway from above, and continue to the seashore following the road signs (by encircling the moshav from its northern side).

Trip Tip from HI Haifa Hostel

You’re on your way to one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, which offers some quality family time filled with seashells, shipwrecks and other treasures. You could spend the night with your entire family in HI Haifa Hostel’s comfortable rooms, and enjoy an evening tour around the city the day before – the hostel’s staff will gladly recommend interesting places to go to in the city!

The Trail

The suggested trail is a non-circular one and entails leaving one vehicle at its beginning, near HaBonim Beach, and another one at its end, at Dor Beach. However, since it is a short trail, you can also walk back and forth, making it a circular one. In addition, you can return to the beginning of the route at any stage of the trail.

  • PriceEntrance fee to HaBonim Beach: 37 NIS for a private vehicle|  Entrance fee to Dor Beach: free admission
  • Tel. for more information04-8252266

Walk from the parking lot, following the red-marked footpath, and after 200 meters [660 feet] you will arrive at a shell-covered cove. From here, the trail stretches southward to an observation point with views of the Carmel area and the inlets of the Dor-Habonim Nature Reserve. The path will lead you over a kurkar ridge [calcareous sandstone], it follows the shoreline. The sea waves crashing over the ridge have molded wonderful inlets.

Turn right, and after 200 meters [660 feet] you will arrive at a unique small inlet that hikers have named the Blue Cave. This is only one of dozens of ravines and caves that were hewn into the kurkar by the waves. The trail turns somewhat eastward and after some 100 meters [330 feet], you will be treading on a seashore with hard sandstone, a relatively ancient and tough stone formed from granulated shell flakes and sand grain. There is always a slight bending of this stone line toward the sea. Continue to walk southward, bypass a sandy bay to arrive at the kurkar hill, which originated from a dune that coalesced and became stony. Among the sea-beaten kurkar hills, you will find vegetation that has adjusted and is resistant to the salty spray of the sea: evening primrose, wild leek, spotted golden thistle, yellow horned poppy, sea pancratium lily and more. These plants usually blossom during July-August summer nights, when the wind is low and pollinating insects can do their work undisturbed. 

Continue southward until a small island looms in front of you from the head of the kurkar hill. South to it, you will see a sunken cargo ship lying on its side. Follow the trail until you encounter the remains of an old kurkar quarry.

Ancient Dor

Continue south for about 1-1.5 kilometers [0.6-0.9 mile] among captivating inlets, small islands and dunes, until you reach the remains of the seaport Da’ar (Dor) – a Canaanite, Philistine, Greek, Roman seaport. According to archaeological findings, the city was inhabited continuously from the late Canaanite period, through the Israeli and Hellenistic periods, until the Arab period. Joshua defeated the King of Dor, but didn’t conquer the city. It was only in the days of King David that the city was seized and later became a township of one of King Solomon’s commissaries. During the Hellenistic period, it was conquered by Alexander Jannaeus. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the number of its Jewish inhabitants became sparse. In the wake of the second century AD, its importance as a big seaport waned since Herod established Caesarea nearby. Dor was abolished in the forth century AD, but was then rebuilt in the seventh century. During the Crusader period, a crusader fortress named castlum Marel was built here, and the Arab village Tantura was placed here in the Ottoman period, too. The findings at this site include the remains of an old seaport, tombs, Hellenistic temple, Roman theater, a large, elegant, mosaic-paved Byzantine church built in basilica form, a Crusader fortress, the walls of the city and a mosque.  

From Dor’s antiques, which are partly submerged under the sea and partly exposed on the beach, continue over to the sandy bay of the public beach, and from there, proceed to the parking lot, and to the HaMizgaga Museum, which is at the entrance to the carpark. You will recognize it, as it is the only ancient vast building on site with a triangular gable façade. The museum exhibits antique artifacts that were excavated from the sea. Built by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1891, it was initially designed as a bottle factory for his winery in the nearby Zikhron Ya’akov. The project manager was a young chemist – Meir Dizengoff. Though business was unsuccessful, Dizengoff eventually became the first mayor of Tel-Aviv. A visit to the museum is warmly recommended.

  • Opening hours of the museum: Sun-Thurs: 09:00-14:00 | Fri: 09:00-13:00 Sat: Specially opened for groups upon coordination ahead of time.
  • Tel. for more information: 04-6390950, or visit the museum’s website (in Hebrew).

Legend of the Royal Purple Dye

How did the People of Israel Learn to Produce the Royal Purple Dye? | From Ruth Richter’s book, “My Green Country”

In ancient times, royal purple dye was extremely expensive. It was produced from a marine snail named Murex brandaris, and thousands of snails were needed to dye one gown or a single dress with this costly dye, so only the rich and privileged were lucky enough to allow themselves to wear elegant royal purple attire.

The secret of producing this expensive dye was known only to the Phoenicians, a people of traders and mariners that dwelled by the sea in the north. Only a few Phoenician craftsmen were familiar with the secret of producing the dye, and they vowed not to betray this secret to anyone who was not from the Phoenician nation. At the time, the Kingdom of Israel was ruled by King Solomon, the wisest of all men. He had a thousand women who lived in a special harem with children they bore for him. His wives hailed from many nations: some were Edomites, some Egyptians, Moabites, and Israelites, but none was of Phoenician descent. 

When King Solomon decided upon building the Temple, he sent emissaries to Tyre and Sidon, the Phoenician cities, to buy cedar trees to build the house of God. He also sent word that they should return with a good-looking Sidonian woman who would marry him and live with the rest of his wives in the elegant harem.

The emissaries arrived at dusk in the home of a cedar merchant, and there, in front of them, they saw a pair of good-looking and intelligent twin sisters. The emissaries approached their father and told him, “We beg you to send your daughters to King Solomon, where they will join the many women who live in his harem.” The Sidonian merchant loved his daughters immensely, and refused to accept the emissaries’ proposition, but they continued to beg him, saying that the girls would have a good life in the king’s palace, where they would live a life of luxury. At last, the father agreed on one condition only – that one of his daughters would travel back with the emissaries to Jerusalem, and the other would remain at home. Indeed, after several days, the emissaries returned to Jerusalem, bringing with them one of the girls to be the wife of King Solomon.

But the girl was unhappy in the king’s palace: she was lonely, did not know the customs and language of the place, and didn’t love the king, who was many years older than she her. All day long, the girl cried in her room - she missed her parents and her twin sister greatly. After one week, the girl was brought to the king, but alas, her eyes were red from tears, her expensive royal purple dress was dirty and creased, and the girl herself was unwilling to answer the king’s questions, smile at him or attempt to win his heart like his other wives.

The king asked her, “Why are you crying, girl? All of the girls in the kingdom dream to be the king’s wife, but you are the only one who doesn’t beautify herself to attract me, and you won’t stop crying!”

The girl answered, “I don’t want to live a life of glorious luxury in your palace and in the company of your many wives. I miss my parents and my sister, and I beg you to be sent back to my home at the town of Sidon.”

King Solomon answered her, “I will not force you to stay here, my child. You may go back to your parents’ home at any time, on one condition: you will teach me the secret of the royal purple color’s production.”

“But I must not betray this secret!” Said the girl to the king.

“Well, if you won’t reveal the secret, I won’t send you back to your home,” responded the king.

For some weeks, the girl was weighing her options deep within her heart, whether to reveal the secret to the king or keep the promise she had made to her parents and be quiet.

One day, the emissaries arrived at the king’s palace once again. They told the girl that her twin sister who had stayed in Sidon, had become very ill; because she missed her sister so, she refused to eat. She had lost much weight and now her life was in danger. Upno hearing this, the girl asked the emissaries to immediately bring her in front of the king. She revealed to him the secret of producing the expensive dye, and the next day, joined a caravan of merchants that travelled from Jerusalem to Sidon to return to her parents’ home.

After arriving at home, the two sisters embraced and were very happy to be with each other: the sick sister healed, and the returning sister was immensely happy in her childhood home, happy with her parents and sister. In time, she married a man she loved and together, they formed a happy family for themselves.

This is how the secret of the royal purple dye became known to the People of Israel. King Solomon built production workshops along the seashores of his kingdom for the dye, and even sold purple wool to Egypt and to other countries. Evidence of the extensive royal purple industry that developed in Israel can be found in the many piles of conches that were found along the beach. 

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