Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour (Self Guided), Jerusalem

Latrun is a hilltop on the road to Jerusalem. It has must see attractions such as "mini Israel", monasteries and the historical Emmaus. This self-guided tour will lead you to these historical, archaeological and cultural monuments:
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Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour Map

Guide Name: Latrun at the Outskirt of Jerusalem Self-Guided Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Author: vickyc
Emmaus Nicopolis

1) Emmaus Nicopolis

Emmaus Nicopolis is also known as Hammat and was at one time a large city. Located in the plains of Judea near the hilltop of Latrun, it is just about 19 miles west of Jerusalem. It is the site where according to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus showed himself to the disciples after his resurrection by breaking bread with them.

This area has long played an important part of history in the area. The first written history of Emmaus is in the 2nd century BCE found in 1st Maccabees. Throughout history this area has been fought over, and been held by several different religious groups. During the six-day war, the Israelis captured the area. It has subsequently been razed and the site is now called Canada Park. This was made possible by large donations by Canada’s Jewish organizations.

There are however, still several ruins to be seen in the area. The footprint of Crusaders Basilica from the 12th century still is visible. This stands over a Byzantine church that was built in the 5th century. Close by is a Roman bath structure that is still in remarkably good shape.

The valley of the springs supplied water for that long ago city and it still is a great place to visit. It is one of the most visited sites in Canada Park. Several old wine presses dot the landscape, a cruciform baptistery is in good shape as well as other ruins from centuries long past. There are also some great views of the countryside, and it is easy to see why this area was so contested in times gone by.
Radar to Monitor Immigrant Birds

2) Radar to Monitor Immigrant Birds

The Radar to Monitor Immigrant Birds is located on the grounds of the Armored Corps Memorial at Latrun, Israel. Israel is situated in the migratory bird flight path between three different continents. This tiny country shares its air space with 500 million birds twice each year as they flight between their winter and summer feeding grounds. This bird traffic can create havoc with aircraft so the solution was to monitor the migration.

The Armored Corps Memorial donated 8 acres of land to the project. The radar at the site is from the Russians and it is manned by Russian scientists. They then work closely with several organizations in Israel to disseminate the information. Their hard work has decreased air accidents by air strikes from birds by around 80%. This saves countless lives and of course, saves the Israeli government millions of dollars from not having to replace aircraft.

The center tracks a wide variety of birds by attaching satellite transmitters to them in addition to tracking the birds on radar. In addition to tracking the birds for air safety purposes, the center is very active in preserving the environment for the birds. They are also instrumental in setting up centers around the world to track and monitor bird populations and health. An expanding eco-tourism birding center is in progress across Israel and surrounding countries.
Trappist Monastery

3) Trappist Monastery

The Trappist Monastery is located in Latrun and is a great stop when traveling around the Holy Land. While traveling on the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem road, the vineyards and olive groves are visible as well as the Church there. It offers a great view of the Ayalon Valley and is also close to Emmaus. The monks are a branch of the Cistercian and they have taken a vow of silence except for the ones who work in the gift store. Wine, grape juice, brandy and olive oil are sold at their market, as well as some of the best spices you will ever find anywhere.

Vineyards and olive groves make the grounds beautiful and peaceful. It is a wonderful place to take an afternoon break. Don’t miss taking a walk around the grounds and visiting the church. The beautiful soaring Byzantine ceilings and arches along with wonderful stained glass windows make this a great place to have a quiet reflective moment or two in the midst of a hectic travel schedule. It is hard to believe this was the site of a brutal and bloody battle during the war of Israeli independence in 1948.

The hours are 9-11 and 3:30-4:30 so plan your trip accordingly.
Latrun museum

4) Latrun museum

The Latrun Armored Corp Museum is located in the Ayalon Valley around 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem. It sits high on a hill overlooking the road that leads into the city. This area was once a strong hold for the Crusaders and they had a castle here. The name of the castle was Le toron des chevaliers (the Castle of the Knights). One possibility for the name Latrun is a corruption of this name. Another possibility is the name was taken from one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus.

This Museum is a memorial to the almost 5,000 fallen Israeli soldiers from the armored corps. Outside the museum the names of the fallen are on the walls of the courtyard surrounding the entrance. Inside there are pictures of the fallen soldiers with only name and age given along with the day of their death. There is also an exhibit that is meant mainly for the families of the fallen although it is open to the public. Another area is called the Tower of Tears. Made out of damaged tanks, there is a trickle of water that flows over the walls that is reminiscent of tears. It is a very moving exhibition.

Outside is one of the largest collections of tanks. This is a hands on display, and the tanks can be thoroughly inspected and reviewed. You can find old Israeli tanks on display, as well as some that were actually captured during war time.

There is a fee to visit the museum. A gift shop and a theater that shows a short introductory film are also part of the exhibit. Bird watching facilities are also on the grounds.

Opening hours: Sat-Thu: 8.30am-4.30pm, Fri: 8.30am-12.30pm
Tegart Fort

5) Tegart Fort

A Tegart fort is a kind of militarized police "fortress". It was built by the British in many places in this region during the Mandate period. It was used either as a prison or as a police station. Tegart fort at Latrun now belongs to the Latrun military museum.
Mini Israel

6) Mini Israel (must see)

Mini Israel is a miniature park located near Latrun, Israel in the Ayalon Valley. Opened in November 2002, the site contains miniature replicas of hundreds of buildings and landmarks in Israel. The tourist attraction consists of about 350 large models of notable buildings. The scale of 1:25 produces skyscrapers that tower over an adult and historic churches taller than a child.

The park consists of about 350 buildings and landmarks, 30,000 figures, 500 animals, plants and 15,000 real trees, 4,700 cars, 100 motorbikes, 14 trains, 3 helicopters, 32 aircraft, 175 ships and 230 trucks. All trees are real bonsai cultivated and planted by Agronoy nursery The park is loosely shaped like a star of David, with each of the six triangles representing an area or city: Jerusalem; Tel Aviv; Haifa; Galil; Negev; Center. The park also includes a souvenir shop, a few restaurants and rest areas, and a hall for lectures and meetings in which a film about the creation of the park is displayed. An audio guide and motorised buggies are available.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu, Sat: 10am-5pm; Fri: 10am-2pm (Sep-Jun); Sun-Thu, Sat: 5pm-10pm; Fri: 10am-2pm (Jul-Aug)
Sight description based on wikipedia

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