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Introduction

Ashdod is the fifth largest city in Israel, about 30 kilometres south of Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean coastline. Ashdod has a long history, and was inhabited in the times of the Bible by the Philistines. When the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites, they brought it here before being forced to return it. However, few traces remains nowadays of the ancient city.

Modern Ashdod is known for its diverse population, with each wave of Jewish immigration represented. Jews from former Soviet Union make up roughly a third of the city's 235,000 residents. Ashdod is also home to large numbers of Moroccan, Georgian and Ethiopian Jews, along with recent arrivals from France and Argentina. It also has the third largest charedi (ultra-Orthodox) population in Israel, after Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.

Ashdod is on the meeting point of the yellow sand dunes from the south, the green lowland from the east (including the small Lachish river), and the blue Mediterranean Sea from the west. Therefore you can find a surprising diversity of natural sights in one city.

The city is a young one, re-founded 50 years ago and grown dramatically during the last two decades. It is well planned and maintained, and its beaches and south regions are very beautiful. It regularly finds itself in highest places in rankings of the most beautiful and well-designed cities in Israel.

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Sights and Activities

  • Givat Yonah (Jonah's Hill). Named after the prophet Jonah, who is believed to be buried here. It is the highest point of the city (around 150 m above sea level) with the city lighthouse on top of it.
  • Lachish Park. Park along the southern bank of the Lachish river, which reaches the Mediterranean Sea here. In addition to the usual park facilities, it has a small zoo, and is a popular spot for birdwatchers.
  • Ashdod Yam ruins. The ancient port of Ashdod was here (the ancient city was further inland). You can see a large fortress several meters from the coastline. It was built in the 7th century and used until 1260. The fortress is impressive to see, but fenced off and you cannot enter it.
  • Ashdod Museum of Art, 8 Derech Eretz, ☏ +972 8 867-9742. Su M W Th 9AM-4PM, Tu 9AM-8PM, F 10:30AM-1:30PM. It's in the MonArt center, and has 13 exhibition halls. In an architectural echo of the Louvre, the entrance to the museum is through a glass pyramid.
  • Musical Fountain. Summer time: Su-Th 8:30AM, 9:30AM, 10:15AM; Sa 9AM, 10AM. Winter time: Su-Th 6:30AM, 8:30AM; Sa 8:30AM, 9:30AM. A fountain in the Ashdod Sea Park close to the beach. Inspired by the Magic Fountain in Barcelona, this fountain puts on an impressive sound and light show several times each evening (except Friday night and when there is rain).
  • Corinne Mamane Museum of Philistine Culture. You might think that "Philistine culture" is an oxymoron, but this museum showcases the culture of the ancient Philistine people as discovered by archaeologists. Ashdod was one of the five main Philistine cities in the Biblical period.
  • Ashdod Sand Dune. The only surviving sand dunes in central Israel are located in the national reserve between southeast Ashdod and Highway 4 (the road to Tel Aviv). The largest dune is about 35 meters high and 250 meters long. In the reserve there is also preserved wildlife (mostly deer, rabbits, birds and jackals). Entrance is free.

#* Ad Halom Memorial Park (lit. No-Further Memorial Park) (East Ashdod, near the southern entrance to the city by road 4). During the 1948 Israel Independence War, the Egyptian army invaded Israel. This park marks the northernmost point they reached before being forced to retreat by Israeli forces. There are memorials (including one to fallen Egyptian soldiers, erected after a peace treaty with Egypt was signed), the old bridge around which the battle was fought, and military relics from the battle.

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Getting There

By Plane

Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport is nearby.

By Train

Ashdod Ad Halom railway station. There is a train every 30 minutes from Tel Aviv, with connections to most other Israeli cities. As the train station is outside the city, you will have to take a local bus from there to get to anywhere interesting in town.

By Bus

Buses run to Ashdod from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, and other places. Most routes begin/end at the central bus station, which is centrally located and has a shopping mall.

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Getting Around

By bus, taxi ("moneet" in Hebrew), or minibus ("moneet sherut").

Ashdod has a very developed system of bike routes and flat terrain, so renting a bike would be an ideal option for bike lovers. Keep in mind that it can be very hot in summer.

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Eat

A lot of restaurants, especially along the beach. Cheap snack meal starts from about ₪15. A full meal in a mid-level restaurant will be around ₪40-100.

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Drink

Although you'll find plenty places to drink, and a decent variety of pubs and clubs, Ashdod nightlife serves mostly the locals.

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Sleep

There are two hotels near the northern beach area. Prices around ₪250-300 per day for one person, meals not included. A big hotel was recently built near the south beach.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Israel is a technologically advanced society, and internet cafés are widely available in most cities and towns. The regular price for paid internet cafés is about 15 shekels per hour but you can get it for about 10 shekels in some of the more local places. Free Wi-Fi access is common in cafés (check individual articles). All branches of 'Aroma Espresso Bar', 'Arcaffe', 'Café Café', 'McDonalds' and 'Yellow' convenience stores have free Wi-Fi access, though in some you will have to approach the staff for a password.

Recently, the "Jerusalem Wi-Fi" project started. This government started project aims to cover the entire Jerusalem area with Wi-Fi although at the moment the only areas covered are in the city center. A similar project has started in Tel Aviv and in Karmiel in the north. Some other cities are following suit.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international country code for Israel is 972. Emergency numbers include 100 (police), 101 (ambulance) and 102 (fire). 112 is supported in mobile networks.

Currently Israel offers support for all the available networks including GSM/UMTS (Pelephone, Cellcom and Orange), CDMA (Pelephone) and iDen (Hot Mobile). In any case, you must check with your carrier about the roaming option and the compatibility of your device in advance. A valid suggestion otherwise is to turn off data services.

You can rent a cellphone for use in Israel either before your trip or once you arrive from several firms. You can also rent smartphones with sim cards included sometimes for lower than the cost of renting just a sim card. Vendors such as Israel Phone Rentalsoffer the advantages of a sim card rental without having to worry about bringing your own phone to Israel. If you have a GSM cellphone without a SIM-lock, you can buy a SIM-card. Prepaid SIM cards are available at Pelephone (Talk & Go), Cellcom (Talk Man) and Orange (Bigtalk) phone stores throughout Israel. Almost all shopping malls will have a Pelephone, Cellcom or Orange kiosk or store.

There are many public phones scattered around. Public phones can be always found at hotels, post offices, central bus stations and train stations. These phones use a Telecard, which, today, is a pre-paid calling card that works only with pay phones and can be purchased at post offices and some stores, as well as ordinary calling cards. Some phones also accept credit cards, usually those in hotels and post offices.

Post

The Israel Post is the national postal service of Israel and generally has fast, reliable and affordable services. Efficiency means that letters and postcards send by airmail just take about 3-7 days within Europe, a few days more to the USA and Australia. Express Mail Services (EMS) is available, with which you are guaranteed to have the postcard or letter delivered within 72 hours anywhere in the world. You can buy stamps at post offices, or newspaper stands/kiosks or some souvenir shops and hotels. The main post offices are usually open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Sunday to Thursday and 8:00am to 2:00pm on Friday, though some might keep longer hours. Branch offices and post offices in smaller towns keep shorter hours, usually with a break from 12:30pm to 3:30pm, and on Wednesday and Friday only during the morning. Parcels can be send by the regular post offices or with companies like TNT, UPS, FedEx and DHL.

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This is version 7. Last edited at 12:29 on Jul 5, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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