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Apollonia (Tel Arsuf)

Apollonia National Park, or Tel Arsuf, is the ruins ancient city located on a cliff overlooking the sea in Herzliya a short drive from Tel Aviv.

The city was created by the Phoenicians who called it Arshuf, after their god Reshef. Here, they produced purple dye and traded with the countries.

During the Hellenistic period, the Greeks identified Resheph with Apollo, and so they called it Apollonia.

In the Roman period the city grew and developed, as evidenced by the villa discovered in the south of the site.

It was during this time that the city grew in size and importance, and a harbor was constructed.

During the Byzantine period, Apollonia – then called Sozousa – reached the peak of its prosperity and was the urban center of the entire region.

The city had facilities for processing agricultural produce, an extensive glass industry, and an active port.

Following the Muslim conquest in the 7th century CE its name was changed to Arsuf, it was surrounded by a wall, and in the center, a market street was built.

The city fell into the hands of the Crusaders who built a fortress in the north and it became a Crusader stronghold.

It had a gate with semicircular towers on either side and large halls around an open courtyard.

The fortress had three sets of walls, surrounded by a broad moat, and a protected harbor was built on the breakwaters at the foot of the cliff.

In 1265 the city was recaptured by the Muslims and the city was never inhabited again.

However, in 1942 a British police station was established at the site.

With the establishment of the state, the Naval Command was briefly housed there.

In the eastern part of the park, factory produced explosives was built on the remains of the city.

It taking up about two thirds of the area of the fortified city and extensive areas in which there are archaeological remains from the Byzantine period.

The Apollonia National Park was built to integrate naturally with the site’s ancient ruins and natural landscape and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hiking trails have been added as well.

Visit Apollonia

While you it is possible reach the park by bus, it is easiest to reach by car.

For visiting hours and entrance fees see the Apollonia National Park webpage.

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