Travel to Ashkelon

Ashkelon or Ashqelon is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, 50 Km (40 minutes by bus) to the south of Tel Aviv. Ashkelon is one of the oldest cities in Israel and has history that goes back more than 5,000 years. Ashkelon is especially famous for its history as one of ancient Philistines major cities and in the biblical story of Samson. The ruins of many civilizations such as the Canaanites and Byzantines are located underneath the city. Many artifacts that have been recovered in archaeological digs are on display around the city. Good samples can be seen in the national park and in Afridar center. The city has been part of Israel since the 1948 independence war. Since then, the city has become a center for several waves of Jewish immigrants ("olim"). Newcomers from Iraq, Morocco, the ex-USSR and Ethiopia are the majority population. Since most of them came with little or no money, the city socio-economy status has generally been low. In recent years, its seaside location has attracted wealthier populations. But the occasional rockets that have been launched towards Ashkelon from Gaza in recent years have put a new damper on its growth. On the south-facing windows of newly constructed apartment buildings, you can see sliding metal covers designed to minimize the damage caused by bombardments. Note that the beach line in Ashkelon is by far cleaner than the ones in the central region of Israel, and there are few lovely hotels along it.