Ashkelon Travel Guide

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Ashkelon Overview

Ashkelon is a coastal city in the Southern District of Israel. It is located on the Mediterranean coast,about 50 kilometres south of Tel Aviv, and 13 kilometres north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age. In the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Egyptians, the Israelites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Hasmoneans, the Romans, the Persians, the Arabs and the Crusaders, until it was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1270.

The arab village named Majdal Ascalun was established close to the national ancient site in the 16th century under the Ottman's rule.
In the year 1918 , the village of Majdal became a part of the Brittish Occupied Enemy Terrtory Administration and in 1920 became a part of the Mandetory Palestine.
In 1948 the Israeli independence was against the Arabs accured and Majdal was the forward position of the Egyptian Expedition Force that was based in Gaza.

The village was occupied by Israeli forces on 5 November 1948, by which time most of the Arab population of 11,000 were forced to leave. Jews moved into the area later that year. The Israeli town was initially called Migdal Gaza, Migdal Gad and Migdal Ashkelon. In 1953, the nearby neighborhood of Afridar was incorporated and the name "Ashkelon" was readopted to the town.
By 1961, Ashkelon was ranked 18th among Israeli urban centers with a population of 24,000.

Ashkelon Khan and Museum contains archaeological finds. The Outdoor Museum near the municipal cultural center displays two Roman burial coffins made of marble depicting battle and hunting scenes, and famous mythological scenes. The remains of a 4th century Byzantine church with marble slab flooring and glass mosaic walls can be seen in the Barnea Quarter Remains of a synagogue from this period have also been found A domed structure housing the 13th century tomb of Sheikh Awad sits atop a hill overlooking Ashkelon’s northern beaches A Roman burial tomb two kilometers north of Ashkelon Park was discovered in 1937. There are two burial tombs, a painted Hellenistic cave and a Roman cave. The Hellenistic cave is decorated with paintings of nymphs, water scenes, mythological figures and animals.

edited from wikipedia.

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