Beautiful coastal scenery at Tel Dor National Park and HaMizgaga Museum
Tel Dor is the site of the ancient port city of Dor. It was once a Phoenician city and later would be taken over by the Greeks and Romans. In actuality, the few ruins in this park are not its main feature but rather the beautiful coastal scenery. There is a 10 to 15-minute walk on a paved road to the area of the tel and a beautiful short hike on a footpath adjacent to the beach back to the Visitor Center. HaMizgaga Museum is an interesting nearby museum.
Walk/hike that includes the Beach Path
Time: About 60 minutes
Distance: 2¼ Km
Type of walk: Circular
Difficulty: The walk along the paved path is very easy and suitable for a stroller and wheelchair. The path along the beach path is slightly difficult because of rocks. Bring appropriate footwear. Walking sticks can be helpful but are not essential.
Admission: There is no admission charge or parking fee. The Visitor Center sells snacks, hot and cold drinks and some equipment. There are many shaded picnic benches just outside the visitor center and also WCs.
Directions: Enter “Tel Dor” into Waze.
Public transport: There is a not-frequent bus service between Binyamina and Giv’at Ada that stops an 800-meter/10-minute walk from the park.
Overlooking the ancient harbor
Do you find my website interesting and helpful?
Then you are sure to love my two new books "In and Around Jerusalem for Everyone - The Best Walks, Hikes and Outdoor Pools" and "The Struggle for Utopia - A History of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Messianism". Both books are available on Amazon and in Jerusalem bookstores. Click on each of the titles for information, reviews and purchase information.
Ruins of a temple
Overlooking the site of the southern harbor. Now Dor Beach
Climbing up the stairs to the roof of the Visitor Center is worthwhile as an initial activity. There are signs explaining the view in all directions.
Take the paved Ridge Trail to the tel (marked in yellow on their map). On the way you will see the ruins of some temples adjacent to the beach and the site of a possible naval workshop.
Once you have reached the observation area overlooking the southern harbor, consider taking the scenic and interesting Beach Path which descends towards the beach. On the initial descent there are railings on either side of the path. Towards the end of the trail, you will pass two beaches. Towards its end, this hiking trail links up with the paved Ridge Trail.
Who were the Phoenicians?
Phoenicians settled along the Mediterranean coast mainly in what is now Lebanon and also Syria and Israel between approximately 1500 BCE to 300 BCE. Their most famous city-states included Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and Birot (now Beirut). Dor would have been one of their most southern city. Phoenicians did not regard themselves as being part of Phoenician state, but rather as Canaanites with a specific culture living in rival cities that were loosely confederated. The name Phoenician was given to them by the Greeks and comes from the word phoenix, possibly related to the purple dye the Phoenicians produced. They were a Semitic people and therefore spoke the same language as the Israelites.
The Phoenicians were maritime traders rather than agriculturists as they had little arable land and they controlled maritime trade in the Mediterranean and beyond. They did this by setting up colonies as part of their trade network. These settlements included Jaffa, Dor, and Acre (Acco) on the Israeli coast. They also set up colonies in Anatolia, Cyprus and Carthage, now Tunisia in North Africa, to consolidate their trading influence. Carthage would become the chief maritime and commercial power in the western Mediterranean, and at a later date would come into conflict with Rome in the Punic wars. The Sea People would also attempt to settle along the Israeli coast during this period and their interactions and conflicts with the Sea People are unclear as there is no written information available and we are dependent on archeology.
The Phoenicians were well for their industrial extraction of purple dye from murix shellfish. They probably had the monopoly on its production and use in clothes. It would also be the source of the blue dye used to color the fringes of Jews on their garments. Because it was a luxury item for the upper class, its use for Jews was forbidden by the Romans and its use in the coloring of fringes lapsed. Only now has it been renewed among some Jews. The Phoenicians were renowned for their ship building skills. They also invented glass blowing sometime during the 1st century. This revolutionized the glass-making process, and allowed for the production of glass vessels with greater ease and the creation of intricate designs by artisans.
Their religion was Canaanite and included Canaanite gods, prominent among them being Baal, the god of storms, fertility and agriculture and Astarte (also known as Ishtar or Ashtart), the goddess of love, beauty and fertility, although the different city states may have had different gods in their pantheon. These were, of course, the gods that were a temptation to the Israelites when they first came to Israel. Baal-worship returned to the Northern Israelite kingdom during the reign of King Ahab in a syncretic form, when his wife Jezebel, who was the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, attempted to bring Baal worship into the northern kingdom. This was fiercely opposed by the prophet Elijah. His struggle to reverse the situation, including a show-down with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, was uphill and not fully successful.
The Canaanites first settled in Israel in the 3rd century BCE and the Phoenicians were possibly an off-shoot of them. Joshua may have encountered this people when he conquered the land of Canaan. Some of their cities are mentioned in the book of Joshua although their inhabitants are not distinguished from other Canaanites. Their territory was allotted to the Israelite tribes, although it is doubtful that they were ever able to displace them. King Solomon had a friendly relationship with King Hiram of Tyre and he provided him with help in the construction of the Temple by providing cedar and cypress timber, which was floated to Jaffa, and skilled craftsman.
The Phoenicians are credited with developing the alphabetic writing system as an alternative to the cuneiform script then prominent in the Near East and which became the basis of Western alphabets. This was a tremendous advance for civilization since it permitted a general literacy to develop that was not possible with the complicated cuneiform pictorial language. Most examples of the Phoenician alphabetic script have been found in Babylos (this city being about 30 Km north of the modern city of Beirut), the earliest being dated to about the 15th century BCE and most from the 10th century BCE.
Yet some have questioned whether the Phoenicians should really be credited with this discovery. The first examples of the proto-Canaanite script from which the Phoenician script developed were found in the Sinai desert at a site called Serabit el-Khadim and have been dated to the Middle Bronze age between the 18th to 16th centuries BCE. Moreover, the Israelites were a literate society to some degree when they arrived in Canaan with Joshua at the beginning of the 14th century and it is doubtful that the Ten Commandments would have been given in hieroglyphics as no one would have been able to understand them. An alternative suggestion, therefore, is that this alphabet was developed from hieroglyphics by the Israelites when they lived in Egypt and they brought it to Canaan. The Phoenicians immediately appreciated the value of this script for their trade and adopted it. This would have been relatively easy as they spoke the same language and would have used the same consonants. From here it spread to the Greek world and they were the ones who added vowels to the alphabet using Hebrew/Phoenician symbols that were not of use to them.
Nearby places of interest
You are only short distance by foot or by car from the HaMizgaga Museum in Kibbutz Nachshalim. The building is from 1891 and was once a glass factory built by Baron Edmond de Rothschild for making bottles for his wines. This was his first industrial venture in Palestine and was unsuccessful. The story is covered in one of the exhibit rooms and further elaborated on in the short movie shown. There are also displays of archeological findings from the tel and port and a description of the history of Dor throughout the ages. Also, a display on the manufacture of the purple dye techeles from the murix shellfish. Directions: Enter “The Mizgaga Museum” into Waze. It is open Sunday to Thursday 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m., Friday 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and Saturday for groups only. Their phone number is 04 639 0950. Admission is 30 NIS and 15 NIS for children 5 to 18 and seniors. This is their website.
You are also only a short distance from Dor Beach. In fact, you can easily walk there from the far observation point. This is a nice beach for many reasons. There is no entrance fee or parking fee. There are WCs, a changing area, cold showers on the beach and a kiosk. There are many shaded wooden structures that can be used at no charge. A lifeguard overlooks the area. The rock formations from the beach to the sea mean that the entire area is protected from waves. The entrance to the water is also somewhat shallow for some distance, which is convenient for kids.