Israel Mystery Photo #18

Israel Mystery Photo. Tour Guide Fun Joel Haber.

You Either Know This or You Don't. Period.

Firstly, I need to apologize about how long it has been since my last post. Been very busy, but that’s no excuse for neglecting you, my faithful readers. I’ll try to be better.

I’m happy that everyone who responded to the last Israel Mystery Photo correctly identified the location as Beit Shean. It means I accurately identified the photo as an easy one to figure out, and it also means that many of you have been to one of the more significant and impressive archaeological sites in Israel.

The current Mystery Photo will be a bit more difficult to identify. I don’t think anyone will be able to figure it out from context. Rather, I think it is going to be one of those pictures that you’ll identify if you’ve been there, and will have no clue if you haven’t. So don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize it.

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Israel Mystery Photo #15

Israel Mystery Photo -- Tour Guide. Tourguide. Joel Haber. Fun Joel.

Where in Israel can you find this?

I am truly in full-on study mode now, with my written licensing exam in exactly a month. So my next post after this will likely be Part 3 of my series about the exams, in which I will tell you how I’ve been going about studying/preparing for the exam.

But first, I need to address the last Israel Mystery Photo. As I predicted, it was easier and many of you recognized it or figured it out. And those who did not get it right at least made logical guesses. I hope that this mystery photo is also something many of you will figure out!

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Top 10 Things to Do in Jerusalem – Part 2

Jerusalem Summer Street Fair. Live Band.

A band playing at one of Jerusalem's Friday afternoon summer street parties.

For the first three entries in this post: Jerusalem Top 10 – Part 1

Continuing the list:

4. Get Some Culture

Jerusalem has a thriving cultural scene, full of great music, art and crafts. And especially through the summer season (which really lasts about half the year here), there are tons of festivals that can satisfy myriad interests.

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Israel Mystery Photo #14

Israel Mystery Photo. Tourism. Tour Guide. Joel Haber.

This one shouldn't be THAT hard...

I am shifting into serious study mode now, and the Jewish holidays are also affecting my schedule, so please bear with me if my posting is slow! Still, I am trying to get some posts out, and view them as review for my studies as well.

I thought that since the last Mystery Photo was of a somewhat famous building in Tel Aviv, that more people would’ve guessed right. But alas not. I guess most of my Tel Aviv friends don’t make it into some of the quieter parts of the city, preferring to focus on the hustle and bustle of the party life there! But there is a lot to see in Tel Aviv when exploring this country’s modern development.

So I hope that you’ll at least know that I am trying to make these somewhat less challenging! I think that the current photo should be recognizable to those who have been there, and also might be something that people could figure out due to contextual details.

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Israel Mystery Photo #11

Tour guide. Tourguide. Israel. Fun Joel. Mystery Photo.

Where in Israel is this?

I’m fairly certain that almost anyone in my tour guide course will recognize this week’s Israel Mystery Photo, because it is from a site that once you’ve been there, it sticks in your mind. It is very memorable. But it is also, unfortunately, not as commonly visited as perhaps it should be. So I’ll be very curious to see how many people outside of my class recognize it.

Last week’s photo post got many correct answers as well. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in modern Jerusalem, a city I know and love. So I’m happy to see that many of you recognize it as well.

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Israel Mystery Photo #9

Mystery Photo Israel tourism tour guide tourguide Fun Joel

Let's hear your guesses on this mystery photo!

Been a busy week for me, so I apologize for the delay on this Mystery Photo, but I hope that won’t ruin the momentum I’ve been building with these: more comments/guesses each week. Keep ’em coming gang! I love seeing your guesses on these!

I liked the responses to last week’s photo. A nice mix of correct answers, and almost correct answers. The picture was in fact from the baptistry of the Northern Church (more on that later) from the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat. Ilana was the first with the correct answer, and Aaron and Steven both got it right as well, with Steven giving the most complete and detailed answer. (By the way, for those who read Steven’s comment, stay tuned for a review post soon on the excellent materials from Biblical Backgrounds, his company.)

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Israel Mystery Photo #7

The next Israel Mystery Photo

Yet another mystery: where in Israel was THIS photo taken?

My previous Israel Mystery Photo seems to have struck a good balance. 2 correct answers, and one incorrect, but the incorrect was a decent guess from a first time commenter, Sharone. And Shmilty finally got a right answer! Happy for you buddy. Of course, Aaron once again got it right. That man is like a machine, I tell you.

But yes, the correct answer to last week’s photo was indeed the Tower of David in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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A Tour of Crusader Caesarea

Moat of Crusader City of Caesarea

The moat and walls of Caesarea's Crusader-era city.

When most people visit Caesarea, the beautiful Israeli coastal city between Netanya and Haifa, they focus on its history and archaeology in the Herodian (early Roman) and Byzantine periods. While most visitors walk right through the heart of the Crusader era city, they barely pay any attention to it. But the truth is that Caesarea has some of the best remains in Israel through which to gain an understanding of the architecture of the late Crusades, and of the impact that this slice of history had on the land of Israel.

I remember the first time I visited Caesarea (a few years ago), I started as most people do at the southern end of the National Park, near the Roman-era Theater. We toured through most of the Roman and Byzantine areas, and then approached a large, walled-in area. As we passed through the wall, I saw a large open space with lots of green grass. Inside of these walls I also found a number of stores and restaurants, which probably contributes to the area being overlooked within the archaeology at Caesarea. True, the walls are virtually impossible to miss. But when the inside has a lot of modern stores and eateries, it is easy to overlook the history, despite the benefits of this mix.

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What Is… A Pillbox?

Pillbox Bunker. Jerusalem. Israel. Derech Hevron. British Mandate.

British Pillbox Bunker in Jerusalem, on the corner of Derech Hevron and Asher Viner

Now I know some of you are seeing the title of this post and thinking, “Isn’t it just something you put pills into?” And right you are, moreso than you know. Because while I am referring to a modern architectural feature all over the land of Israel, the pillboxes I am talking about also relate to what you’d see at a pharmacy. The pillboxes I’m talking about though are British pillboxes — military bunkers which you are sure to encounter on virtually any tour of Israel.

And while I am describing pillboxes, I’ll also tell you about another related structure from the same era that similarly dots this country: the Tegart fortress.

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Sample 1-Day Jerusalem Itinerary

The Catholicon (Greek Orthodox sanctuary) of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

One of the fun things that I do as I prepare to become a tour guide in Israel is practice! It helps me learn to plan a tour, make it flow seamlessly and learn such things as timing, reading the audience, use of visual aids and organization of material. So it is really a very necessary aspect that, while not an official part of my tour guide studies, I still take quite seriously.

A few weeks ago, I took two women around for a day-long walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem (mostly). They were two friends, one of whom was Jewish and one of whom was Christian, though neither was particularly religious. The Christian was here on her first trip to Israel, while the Jewish woman lives here, though not in Jerusalem. My goal for the day was to expose them to the sheer wealth of history that fills Jerusalem, as well as show them the diverse cultures and religions that are found here. Ultimately, I wanted them to see what a beautiful, complex and historic city I live in. I thought it might be interesting and useful to describe the itinerary we had for the day.

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