Hi again! Well I love that flower when it blooms so every time I run to get my camera! Aren't they something? I am actually called Ilana, Lior is my youngest daughter and she asked me to use her name-now everyone thinks I am Lior!! My paternal grandfather was born in Israel. He left to work in the mines of Rhodesia to send money home to his family (11 brothers). He met Granny and that is how I ended being born in South Africa. I lived in the states from age 9 till 18 and then back to close the circle-to Israel.
I will return to thebread issue later on-I do have more on that, but now as promised: Ashkelon.
There is no specific date for the founding of Ashkelon.
Its origins date back about 5000 years and it is considered to be one of the world’s most ancient cities, a cradle of human culture.
Due to its strategic position, the city fulfilled an important role in the ancient history of the Mid East.
Ashkelon, whose name is derived from the root shekel (Shekel is the name of our currency today), is first mentioned in the Egyptian “mearot writings” of the 19th century BC. Its name appears in the hieroglyphics on pottery shards, as “Askala.”
This is a bit about ancient Ashkelon.
The ancient seaport of Ashkelon located 40 miles south of Tel Aviv, Israel, on the Mediterranean coast and was the capital of Canaanite kings, the harbor of the Philistines, and the stomping ground of the biblical hero Samson.
From the Canaanite era, Ashkelon is the oldest and largest seaport yet known in Israel, and a thriving Middle Bronze Age (2000-1550 B.C.) metropolis of more than 150 acres, with ramparts and the oldest arched city gate in the world, still standing two stories high.
From the Philistine era (1175-604 B.C.), excavations of the seaport are uncovering remains of the city from the days of Samson and Delilah, and the city's destruction by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
We have a national park here that should be something amazing but basically is neglected-I suppose funding and etc has a lot to do with that.
Ancient Ashkelon is reminiscent of a large 150-acre bowl, with the gigantic Canaanite ramparts that once protected the city forming its rim and sides. Inside, at least 20 ancient cities rest in layer upon layer—spanning more than 5,000 years from before 3500 B.C.E. to 1500.
One of the most important sections of the park is the sculpture garden, which houses a variety of Roman statues and splendid marble reliefs, including Nike, Goddess of Victory, atop Atlas’ globe. You can also gaze upon the ruins of several Byzantine and Crusader churches, shadowed by age-old olive, tamarisk and carob trees.
Some pictures to document:
Nike, goddess of victory:
ancient port-the poles sticking out wereused for tying up boats:
Churches -chambers in a semicircle:
Isis with her son, Hippocrates:
more Roman ruins and a mosaic:http://forums.egulle..._5716_55567.jpg
and in another area of Ashkelon a sarcophagus:
So that is about the ancient ruins. Lately an interesting excavation has uncovered a dog cemetery. Tel Hachra is a small hill by the sea (Tel means hill), is where Ashkelon of the Philistine biblical period thrived. Here a very strange cemetery from the 5th or 6th century BC was discovered with more than 1,500 canine skeletons. Researchers have not yet deciphered the reason behind these ancient graves.
Another interesting sight is an old sheik's grave. The Sheik's tomb is a square, domed structure, resting atop of a small hill and overlooking Ashkelon's northern beaches. The main chamber is supported by eight stone arches and contains the Sheikh's) tomb. The building was constructed in the Mamluke period (13th century) when parts of Israel were in the Crusader hands.
By the way, Harvard Univ. has students here doing the summers helping and working on various excavations.
Modern Ashkelon consists of about 110,000 people from different backgrounds. In the 1940's South Africans settled here, in the 50's a wave of immigration from North Africa came and in the 90's a huge wave of immigrants from Russia arrived. There is a beautiful college, about 6 junior high schools and high schools and about 30 public elementary schools. There are about 12 kilometers of beach. The climate is semi arid. Winters are about 14-20 degrees Celsius with rainy or sunny days. This year there has been a lot of sun and we need more rain. Summers are hot and humid, staying at around 30-32 degrees Celsius and humidity of 70-80%, no rain and every single day is very sunny. Summer is from about June to mid October. Spring is lovely as is our short autumn. We are about 54 kilometers south of Tel Aviv and 70 km from Jerusalem. Ashkelon has great potential for being a major tourist site, but somehow this area remains undeveloped and undiscovered. And, of course, security is also an issue.
Our twin cities include:
Canada – Côte St. Luc
United States – Portland
United States – Baltimore
France – Aix-en-Provence
Germany – Berlin Vicenzy
So now we can get back to food!!