Places to visit in Petah Tikva, Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon

Israel National Trail Segment: Petah Tikva to Tel Afek Antipatris Park – A Scenic Hiking Experience of Jan 20, 2024


Hiking along the Yarkon River in central Israel, from Petah Tikva to the old railway station in Rosh HaAyin, offers a picturesque and historically rich experience. This trail winds through scenic fields and orange groves, unveiling unique moments of both history and nature. Key attractions along the route include old mills, the concrete house, Kfar Baptistim, and two national parks: the Yarkon River Sources and Tel Afek Antipatris. Along the trail, there are two rest areas for hikers to relax and enjoy the region's inspiring natural beauty and captivating stories.

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Author & Co-authors
Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
16.04 km
6h 12 m
Places with media

On Saturdays, when buses pause their rumble, this station transforms into a haven for parked cars, while on weekdays, it's a nexus easily reached by the pulse of public transport, beginning a journey by the Yarkon's gentle flow, towards Petah Tikva's distant urban dance, all framed in dawn's soft glow.

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The middle course of the Yarkon River near Yarkon Cemetery is a blend of natural flow and reclaimed water, reflecting a dynamic history and ongoing efforts for ecological balance. This section sees about 2,000 cubic meters of water flow per hour, combining the upper section's source water with varying degrees of purified reclaimed water. The water quality, although improved, still undergoes regular sampling and monitoring, especially for boating activities. The river's banks are adorned with a mix of natural vegetation and the area, despite challenges, is part of the Yarkon National Park, which offers lush landscapes and a variety of flora and fauna.

Dew's Delicate Dance: A Morning Walk Along the Yarkon River Trail" evokes a serene and picturesque scene. It suggests a peaceful morning stroll along the Yarkon River, where the gentle presence of morning dew adds to the natural beauty of the trail. This title encapsulates the essence of a tranquil journey along the river, highlighting the subtle interplay of nature's elements in creating a calming and rejuvenating experience.

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The Yarkon River trail is dotted with lone buildings, remnants of its rich agricultural past, shadowed by ancient trees. Amongst this historical landscape, the "Hubeza" or common mallow (known in Arabic as "خبيزة" - Khubeza) flourishes. This resilient plant, valued since antiquity for its edible qualities, is linked to survival during hard times, and its Arabic name translates to 'bread,' reflecting its sustenance role. The Yarkon River's middle stretch is a testament to both cultural legacy and ecological restoration efforts.

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The Yarkon River trail, which weaves along Route 5, a major highway crossing Samaria, features underpasses that accommodate both the trail and agricultural machinery. These underpasses allow for seamless passage beneath the roadway. The concrete walls of these underpasses have become informal canvases for graffiti artists. While this practice isn't officially sanctioned, there haven't been significant measures taken against the graffiti, making these underpasses unique spots of spontaneous urban art along the trail.

Along the Yarkon River trail, one can discover old buildings that were once used as packing halls for oranges about a century ago. These structures are remnants of a time when the area was abundant with orange groves. From here, crates of oranges were transported to the ports of Tel Aviv or Jaffa, eventually making their way to Europe.

The Yarkon Valley, once marshy and challenging for agriculture, has undergone significant transformations. Today, the evidence of its marshy past is still visible, with soil drainage remaining imperfect. However, the region has shifted from its historical focus on orange groves to now predominantly cultivating wheat, adapting to the area's unique environmental conditions.

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The Yarkon Valley's agricultural tradition, echoing from its orange plantation past, continues today with a heartwarming custom. Fruits, often oranges, are left unharvested in the fields for travelers like us to enjoy. This practice, deeply rooted in ancient traditions, reflects a timeless agricultural ethic where some produce is left in the fields or orchards for passersby to consume. This gesture of sharing with travelers not only nourishes the body but also sustains a sense of community and connection to the land's history.

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Pecan nuts, known for their rich taste and nutritional value, have an interesting history that connects to their presence in Israel. The word "pecan" originates from an Algonquian word used by Native Americans, referring to nuts that required a stone to crack. The pecan tree, a large deciduous species, produces a fruit technically known as a drupe, not a true nut.

Commercial growth of pecans in the United States didn't begin until the 1880s, although wild pecans were well known and enjoyed as a delicacy before this time. Pecans require a lot of water, especially during the growing season, and depend heavily on irrigation systems for optimal growth. They are one of the most recently domesticated major crops, with a significant portion of global production coming from the United States and Mexico.

The introduction of pecans outside their natural range is traced back to the late 18th century, when Daniel Clark, Jr., from New Orleans, sent a box of pecans to then-Vice President Thomas Jefferson. However, it wasn't until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that pecans were cultivated more systematically and extensively.

As for Israel, while the specific details of pecans' introduction and cultivation aren't clearly outlined in the sources, it is evident that pecan trees, like many other non-native crops, would have been brought in and adapted to local agricultural practices over time. Given Israel's advancements in agricultural technology and irrigation, it's plausible that pecans would be a part of the diverse agricultural landscape in the region.

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Shilo Stream, winding its way from the Samarian hills to the Yarkon River, spans 50 kilometers. In the winter months, it transforms into a vibrant watercourse, characterized by robust flows and occasional flash floods, creating a captivating natural display. This stream, although seasonal, is significant, contributing about a quarter of the Yarkon River's drainage basin.

Emerging from the Shilo Valley, 700 meters above sea level, in a region steeped in historical and geopolitical complexities, Shilo Stream navigates through a landscape marked by contention. Its upper reaches meander close to the Israeli West Bank barrier, traversing areas under varying degrees of Palestinian and Israeli control, necessitating cautious exploration, often with armed accompaniment for safety.

The stream's ecological value is profound, forming a natural corridor that links the Samarian highlands to the coastal plains. The water's distinctive white-brown tint is a result of its journey past chalk quarries, a testament to the area's rich geological activity. As it meanders westward, it merges with Mazor Stream near the southern foothills of Migdal Tzedek National Park, close to Rosh HaAyin, before joining the Yarkon River.

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The site contains the remnants of a flour mill's water channel, which was operated near the village of Parokhia. This mill was run by the half-African slaves of the Bedouin Abu-Kishk tribe. In the past, this location featured a flour mill, and now it is marked by a new footbridge over the Yarkon River, which is part of the Israel National Trail. This bridge is constructed on the remains of an Ottoman bridge, which was part of the ancient road from Jaffa to Tulkarm and Nablus. The Yarkon River, once a wide and deep river, flowed beneath this bridge. The path from Jaffa reached the Yarkon, hugging its southern bank, and crossed the river at this point. During World War I, the Ottoman army demolished this bridge to prevent the British forces from advancing.

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The life of the Parokhia flour mill station, located about two kilometers downstream from Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Rabbah's mill on the Yarkon River, was dramatically altered by the emergence of competition from the sheikh's more favorably situated personal station. Operated by the Bedouin tribe Abu Kishk and their half-African slaves who resided in the nearby village of Far'uniya and primarily earned their living through agriculture, this mill was a vital resource for the local community. It was powered by the strongest currents of the Yarkon River at this point, utilizing around five pairs of millstones for grinding.

Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Rabbah, upon establishing his own mill, began efforts to limit the tribal use of the Far'uniya mill, arguing that their water usage detracted from his mill's grinding capabilities. He even resorted to sabotage, leveraging his good relations with the Ottoman authorities to do so without consequence.

The mill was ultimately destroyed during World War I when the Ottoman army blew up the Yarkon bridges to hinder the advancing British forces, preventing them from crossing the river. The stones from the demolished mill were repurposed by the residents of the Arab village of Far'uniya for building homes, paving roads, and for the Turkish army. Today, only a power switching station of the Electric Company marks the site of the old Far'uniya village and its flour mill, with no remnants left to indicate their exact locations or the water channel that once fed the mill. Originally, there was consideration of building a power station at this site due to the strong water current, but ultimately, the Reading Power Station was built at the Yarkon estuary instead.

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The site of the former Far'uniya mill, by the banks of the Yarkon River, offers an idyllic spot for a significant break along your route. It's a perfect place to brew a cup of coffee or tea, embracing the tranquil morning ambiance. As you sip your drink, you can savor the fresh morning air, mingling with the rich aroma of coffee. The surrounding landscape, adorned with towering eucalyptus trees and verdant fields, provides a picturesque backdrop that invites relaxation and contemplation. It's an opportunity to pause and appreciate the natural beauty and historical significance of the area, creating a moment of peace and connection with the environment.

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Walking the Yarkon River trail in winter offers a uniquely beautiful experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges. This season, while visually stunning, transforms the path into a muddy, almost swamp-like terrain. The key to enjoying this route during winter is to embrace the conditions. Be prepared for a lot of mud and areas that might resemble a bog. It's essential to wear appropriate footwear that can withstand muddy conditions and to have a mindset ready for an adventurous, albeit messy, journey.

The winter landscape along the Yarkon River is a sight to behold, with the stark beauty of bare trees, the crisp air, and perhaps the gentle mist rising from the water. However, navigating through the muddy terrain requires a bit of courage and a willingness to get dirty. It's all part of the experience of exploring nature during this damp season. Remember, the mud and the challenges it brings are temporary, but the memories of traversing this beautiful, natural setting in its winter cloak will last much longer.

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In the early 20th century, the Yarkon River was a vibrant, clean waterway, teeming with life and central to local agriculture. However, over the years, urbanization and industrialization led to pollution and a significant decrease in water quality. Today, the Yarkon is undergoing efforts to restore its ecological balance, but it still faces challenges from urban runoff and residual contamination. The transformation of the Yarkon reflects the broader environmental impacts of modern development.

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This man-made river threshold, designed as a crossing point over the Yarkon River when the flow is gentle, creates a picturesque scene. Tall, lush reeds and overhanging eucalyptus trees grace its banks, adding to the beauty of this almost hidden urban oasis in the Sharon region. Known as the "Hidden Waterfall," this spot, despite its proximity to the city, offers a serene escape, especially popular during the summer months. The tranquil sound of water flowing over the threshold, combined with the rustling of reeds and the whispering eucalyptus leaves, provides a natural respite, a surprising find amidst the urban landscape.

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The Yarkon River, flowing through the Sharon region, offers a hidden sanctuary amidst its urban surroundings. Here, the enchantment lies in the dense thickets of whispering reeds, creating secret pathways that invite exploration. The tranquility of the area is further accentuated by the gentle rustling of eucalyptus leaves, which tower over these hidden trails, offering a shady retreat. This natural haven, nestled so close to city life, becomes a mystical escape, where the peaceful flow of the river and the secluded paths provide a serene contrast to the bustling urban environment. This secret world within the reeds, often missed by the casual observer, is a testament to nature's ability to thrive and enchant, even in the most unexpected places.

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The Abu Rabbah Mill, the largest of the five flour mills operating along the Yarkon River since the Ottoman era, was a significant landmark in its heyday. Established by Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Rabbah in the 1880s, it functioned until the onset of the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. The mill's prominence was bolstered by the installation of two modern German turbines in 1913, which replaced the old wooden wheels, significantly enhancing its efficiency.

The mill's strategic importance grew in 1917, following the withdrawal of the Ottoman Turks and the destruction of the Yarkon bridges. As it became the only transit bridge over the river, the mill's value increased substantially. It operated exclusively from 1936 to 1948, benefiting from its modern equipment and accessible roads.

However, the mill ceased operations during the War of Independence and was permanently closed in 1959 due to the Yarkon-Negev project. Despite this, the mill underwent a transformation in 2003. It was renovated and restored as a historical site, turning into a popular spot for visits and picnics in a pleasant, shaded area by the river. Today, it stands as a testament to the historical and agricultural legacy of the region, reminding us of the area's rich history and the changes brought about by both political and environmental shifts.

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Near the Abu Rabbah Mill, a bridge crosses the Yarkon River, allowing visitors to access the picturesque northern bank. This area unfolds into a beautiful peninsula, making it an ideal spot for picnics and camping. The location's charm lies in its tranquility and scenic beauty, offering a perfect setting for outdoor activities. The lush greenery, the gentle flow of the river, and the historic backdrop of the mill combine to create a serene and delightful corner for relaxation and enjoyment in nature. Whether for a leisurely picnic or a peaceful camping experience, this spot by the Yarkon River provides a unique escape into a natural haven within the region.

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The Nile Tilapia found in the Yarkon River is a species with a notable presence and historical significance. The name "tilapia" is derived from the Tswana word 'tlhapi,' meaning "fish," and the genus was named by Scottish zoologist Andrew Smith in 1840. These fish are characterized by their laterally compressed, deep bodies and an efficient feeding system that includes a second set of jaws for processing food.

In the Yarkon River, the Nile Tilapia is one of several species that have adapted to the changing environment. While the Yarkon River has faced pollution and ecological challenges, especially after the 1950s, efforts have been made to rehabilitate it, and the presence of these fish indicates a degree of ecological recovery. The Nile Tilapia in the Yarkon are part of the river's complex ecosystem, which includes a variety of fish and other wildlife.

The area around the Abu Rabbah Mill on the Yarkon River is particularly notable for outdoor activities. During the winter, the region's rough terrain can be navigated using high-clearance vehicles like jeeps, making it an ideal spot for adventurous off-road exploration. The presence of tilapia and other species adds to the ecological richness of the area, making it a fascinating destination for nature enthusiasts and recreational visitors alike.

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The red soils found in the Yarkon River area are rich in iron oxides, lending them a distinctive reddish color. These soils are generally derived from the weathering of crystalline and metamorphic rocks in areas of high rainfall. They contain large amounts of clay and are typically acidic, which can sometimes lead to a lack of sufficient nutrients. Despite this, the red soil is fertile and ideal for citrus cultivation. However, in the winter, the area's rural roads can become impassable due to mud, making travel challenging. This characteristic red soil is partly due to iron oxide, which is transported to the region from Africa through the Nile and along the eastern Mediterranean coast.

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Overlooking the wheat fields, the Yarkon Interchange connects Highway 5 (Cross Samaria Highway) and Highway 40. This key junction, near Hod HaSharon and northwest of Rosh HaAyin, was opened in May 1997 and facilitates seamless travel in the area. The interchange offers uninterrupted passage on Highway 5 via a bridge, with traffic lights on Highway 40. Named after the nearby Yarkon River, it's a crucial node for regional transport, linking major roads and supporting the flow of traffic in this agriculturally rich and historically significant region.

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The flooded underpass beneath the highway presents an unpredictable and potentially hazardous situation. Its depth varies greatly, sometimes being only ankle-deep, but other times it can be as deep as waist-level. This inconsistency makes it a challenging and uncertain path, where travelers must be cautious and prepared for varying conditions. The unpredictability of this submerged route underscores the need for vigilance and preparedness when navigating such areas.

Sure! Another Route 5 underpass leads to a beautiful section of the Israel National Trail along the Yarkon River. It's rich in nature, history, and culture. You can hike, bike, and enjoy wildlife. Explore history and local traditions. Perfect for a memorable journey.

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In the past, it was commonly believed that straightening the bends of the river improved drainage and land use efficiency. Consequently, during the construction of the nearby "Trans-Shomron" Highway 5, the natural meandering course of the river was altered by blocking it with earth and rubble.

Today, the accepted practice is to restore the river's original meanders. In 2007, during the widening of Highway 5 and the rehabilitation of the Yarkon River, the Yarkon River Authority, in collaboration with the National Roads Authority and the Keen Kayemet Lelsrael, reconstructed the lost meander.

This restoration effort involved clearing and removing rubble, preparing roads and trails, planting riverside vegetation, and establishing woodland areas. It was part of a larger ecological rehabilitation project aimed at restoring the ecological balance of the Yarkon River.

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In 1912, against a backdrop of intrigue and mystery, "The Concrete House" emerged in Petah Tikva, a symbol of architectural innovation in the heart of Israel. This structure, the first of its kind in the region, was born from the vision of Bezalel Jaffe, a man whose life was as enigmatic as the house he built.

Bezalel, brother of Leib Jaffe, was not just a builder; he was a key figure in the Zionist movement in his native Grodno. His involvement with groups like Benei Moshe and his establishment of a modernized ḥeder showcased his commitment to education and a new vision for the future.

However, his journey extended far beyond Grodno. As a delegate to early Zionist Congresses, Bezalel played a vital role in organizing the Zionist movement in Lithuania and in publishing Zionist literature in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian.

In 1909, his path led him to the land of Israel, where he assumed the directorship of the Geulah company for land purchase, following Meir Dizengoff's resignation. Under Bezalel's guidance from 1910 to 1925, the Geulah company not only extended the boundaries of Tel Aviv but transformed it into a bustling city.

"The Concrete House" itself held secrets within its walls, housing modern centrifugal pumps powered by diesel engines, a technological marvel of its time. Yet, the structure became entangled in a web of intrigue and hidden documents, raising questions about its true purpose.

Bezalel's legacy extended to introducing modern irrigation to Petaḥ Tikvah in 1912, utilizing the waters of the Yarkon river. He stood among the few who defended the yishuv during its challenging times under Turkish authority during World War I.

After 1918, Bezalel continued to shape the destiny of the region. He played a vital role in organizing the yishuv's Provisional Committee and served as the president of the Jaffa-Tel Aviv Jewish community.

Enjoy a tranquil break in the shade of eucalyptus trees at the historic "Concrete House." Surrounded by these majestic trees, it's a place to reflect on the past. You can relax, immerse in history, and connect with nature, creating a unique and memorable experience.

Meandering through the dense reed thickets, the path winds its way, providing an enchanting journey.

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Eucalyptus trees thrive along the riverbanks in Israel, particularly the Yarkon River. Their introduction dates back to the late 19th century when Sir Moses Montefiore, a British philanthropist, encouraged the planting of these trees for their fast growth and ability to absorb swampy areas. The eucalyptus groves not only beautify the landscape but also serve as a practical resource, providing wood and oil. These trees have since become an integral part of Israel's environmental and historical heritage.

The presence of numerous mills along the riverbanks is evident through structures like this one. These mills played a crucial role in harnessing the river's power for grinding grain, a testament to the historical significance of milling in the region.

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The Baptist Village in Israel is located near Petah Tikva, close to Tel Aviv. While the comprehensive history of this village isn't fully detailed in the available sources, it appears to have been established around 1955 and was originally an orphanage. Over the years, it transformed from an open space used for farming into a place with facilities including a baseball field and a softball field. This transformation occurred after the 2nd intifada in 2002 when safety fences were erected around the village. Interestingly, the Baptist Village is now a significant spot for baseball in Israel, hosting games for the Israel Association of Baseball and serving as a practice ground for national teams.

Despite its current association with baseball, the village remains a place of quiet and reflection, in line with its original intent as a retreat. It’s noteworthy for its unique blend of a quiet retreat space and a sports facility, embodying a mix of cultural and recreational aspects.

The history of the Baptist Village began in 1950 with the preparation of the land for the establishment of the village. The initial plan was for it to be an agricultural settlement for about 50 people, including a school for religious studies. The Baptist Village was officially founded in 1955 by the "Baptist Convention in Israel," a group of Jesus believers, Zionists, and lovers of Israel from the United States, belonging to the Baptist stream. They transformed an orphanage from Nazareth to a 40-dunam area intended for the establishment of the village.

In 1962, the village was described as having modest one-story houses, one of which was two-storied. Nearby, there was a large swimming pool, surrounded by cabins, farm buildings, and fields stretching to the banks of the nearby Yarkon River. In its early years, the place served as an orphanage. Later, a school was established in the village. In 1962, the school had about 30 students in four classes and a preparatory class. In addition to regular studies, guided by seven teachers (some from the United States and some Jewish from Tel Aviv), the students worked in the village's agricultural farm, which included 200 dunams with vegetables, an orchard (50 dunams), and a cattle shed with several dozen heads of cattle. The students learned Hebrew, Arabic, and English, and received musical education. Most of the students were Arabs, but there were also Jewish students or children of Jewish fathers. The Ministry of Education did not recognize the school. By 1970, three families lived in the village. The school closed in 1972, and that same year, a camp was organized in the village, leading to publications by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel warning against missionary activities.

The village also served as a gathering place where Israeli Baptists congregated weekly for Sabbath prayers, and it included accommodations for pilgrims.

Since 1964, the village has been included in the jurisdiction of the city of Petah Tikva, despite being an enclave within the area of the Southern Sharon Regional Council.

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Yarkon National Park in Israel offers a beautiful natural experience, combining history with nature. The park is divided into two main areas: Afek and the Yarkon springs area. In the Afek area, you can enjoy attractions like the Antipatris Fort, paddling pools, and a recreation area suitable for picnics and barbecues. The Yarkon springs area features a walking path along the Yarkon River, showcasing historic agricultural facilities like the Al-Mir flour mill. This area also has a camping site for overnight stays.

The park is easily accessible, and there are ample parking spaces available. It's open from 8:00 AM to 17:00 PM (16:00 in winter) from Sunday to Thursday and Saturday, and on Fridays from 8:00 AM to 16:00 PM (15:00 in winter). The entrance fee is 28 NIS for adults, 14 NIS for children, and 24 NIS for students. The ticket grants access to both areas of the park on the same day.

If you're looking to explore further, there are gates connecting the different compounds of the park, but it's advised to contact the Israel Nature and Parks Authority in advance as sometimes these gates are closed. For those who prefer hiking, the Israel National Trail passes nearby, offering an alternative route around the park.

For a more comprehensive experience, consider visiting both the Afek area and the Yarkon springs, each offering a unique glimpse into Israel's natural and historical beauty.

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The Al-Mir Flour Mill, situated in Yarkon National Park near the Yarkon river, represents a significant historical and agricultural landmark. Operating during the Ottoman period, it bears the name of the nearby 19th-century Arab village Mir. The mill was part of a complex water management system, with an ancient dam diverting river water to it, highlighting its importance in local agriculture.

The surrounding area, once the site of the village of al-Mirr, holds a rich historical narrative. Established during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839), al-Mirr was located on the southern bank of the Al-'Awja River. Notable for its enduring structures, including a Turkish bridge, the village's history is traced back to the late Roman or early Byzantine period, with the mill and dam existing since these times. These structures were repaired in the Crusader era and were operational in the Mamluk period, as evidenced by 14th-century coins found during excavations.

The tumultuous events leading to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war significantly impacted al-Mirr. On February 3, 1948 at the time of civil war in British Palestine, its inhabitants, fearing Jewish attacks after some civilian Jewish transports were attacked by Arabs in several places in Palestine, abandoned the village. Some briefly returned on February 15, only to permanently flee a month later. This exodus of al-Mirr's inhabitants was part of the larger 1948 Palestinian exodus, on which about 700,000 Palestinian Arabs left their villages fearing retribution for atrocities and pogroms against Jews, or as later claimed, under the pressure of the Jewish army. An undeniable and important fact to note is the expulsion of about a million Jews from Arab countries following the proclamation of Israel and the establishment of independence. The causes and consequences of the Palestine Israeli war of 1948, including the abandoning villages like al-Mirr, continue to be subjects of historical debate and are integral to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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The papyrus plant in the Yarkon Springs Park is a tall perennial grass of tropical swamps. It is structured in three tiers, adapted to its habitat in the swamp: its roots are in the ground, its stem in the water, and its head in the air, above the water's surface. The root is perennial, while the other parts are annual (they die each year, and new ones sprout in their place the following year). From historical sources, the papyrus plant was an ancient source of writing paper, especially in Egypt. The papyrus is also mentioned in the story of Moses in the ark, regarding the ark that his mother, Yocheved, built: "But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile" (Exodus 2:3).

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In Yarkon Springs Park, there are quiet backwaters filled with water lilies and a significant population of catfish. These serene spots, often away from the main flow of the river, provide a peaceful and picturesque setting. The water lilies add to the beauty and ecological diversity of the area, creating a habitat for various aquatic species. The presence of a large number of catfish indicates a healthy aquatic environment, as these fish are known for thriving in well-balanced freshwater ecosystems. These areas in the park not only offer a visual delight but also contribute to the ecological richness of the region, making them a key feature of the park's natural landscape.

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This railway and its bridge have an interesting history. The bridge was built as part of the railway line initiative to enhance transportation efficiency, particularly for the citrus fruit growers in Petah Tikva. They aimed to transport fruit to Jaffa more effectively. The construction of this railway was driven by the needs of local agriculture and was funded by PICA (Palestine Jewish Colonization Association), founded by Baron Rothschild. The labor force consisted of Jewish workers from the Joseph Trumpeldor Labor Brigade.

The bridge itself, dating back to British Mandate times (1921), was built to facilitate the transportation of citrus fruits from Petah Tikva to Jaffa. This railway line was a significant development in the early 20th century, reflecting the evolving needs of the region's agricultural sector and its integration into broader economic networks.

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The concrete construction near the Yarkon Railway bridge is a historical guard post associated with the Petah Tikva to Rosh HaAyin railway, particularly significant during the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939. This period was marked by widespread unrest and conflict in the region.

Historically, after World War I, Rosh HaAyin emerged as a station on the Haifa-Quneitra railway line. This development spurred the desire to enhance the transportation of citrus goods directly to Egypt, leading to the construction of the railway line from Petah Tikva to Rosh HaAyin.

The pillbox near the Yarkon Railway bridge is a historical military guard post. This small, concrete fortification was part of a strategic effort to protect the railway line connecting Petah Tikva to Rosh HaAyin.

The name "pillbox," rather than relating to medicine, originated from a linguistic mix-up in Hebrew. The original English term "Field Box" was mispronounced as "Pil Box," with "pil" meaning "elephant" in Hebrew. This naming ironically reflected the structure's large and robust nature. Pillboxes like this one served as defensive positions for the railway guard against Arab rioters and were a part of the “Railway Notary Corps.” These structures, with their compact and sturdy design, were crucial in maintaining the safety and operational continuity of the railway during a period of significant upheaval and conflict in the region.

The Yarkon Railway bridge, which spans the Yarkon River in the Yarkon National Park, is a part of a historic railway line in Israel. The Yarkon Railway, known in Hebrew as מסילת הירקון (Mesilat HaYarkon), is a double-track railroad that follows the course of the Yarkon River in central Israel. It extends about 15 kilometers, connecting the Coastal Railway with the Eastern Railway.

The Yarkon National Park, particularly around the Yarkon River, features rehabilitated swamps with diverse aquatic plants like water lilies. These efforts are part of a larger ecological restoration to revive the river's natural habitats and reintroduce native species.

Rosh HaAyin's industrial area, marked by glass and concrete buildings, contrasts sharply with the natural scenery along the Israel National Trail. This juxtaposition highlights the city's economic development alongside green, open spaces with wheat fields, offering a unique blend of urban and rural landscapes in the region.

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Along the Israel National Trail, hikers can find a mix of free and paid camping sites. Free sites, often with minimal facilities, are marked with signs and located near nature reserves. Paid sites, managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, offer more amenities like toilets and showers. "Trail Angels" also provide unique lodging, offering basic facilities to hikers. These options combine to enhance the trail experience, blending simplicity with occasional comfort.

The Yarkon River Authority is dedicated to preserving the river's natural ecosystems. They focus on reintroducing native species, like the Blue Water Lily and Yarkon Bream fish, and managing water resources to rehabilitate the river's ecosystem. Efforts include monitoring rare species like the softshell turtle, highlighting their commitment to ecological restoration in the Yarkon River area.

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The eastern entrance to Tel Afek National Park, part of the Yarkon National Park, is a key point for accessing various pathways around the central pond area. While specific details about the eastern entrance and the pathways around the pond are not extensively detailed in the available sources, this entrance is likely a starting point for exploring the park's attractions.

Visitors entering from the east can expect to find trails leading to significant sites such as the water-lily pond, the Antipatris Fort, and the British water pumping station. The water-lily pond, in particular, is a notable attraction, enchanting visitors with its extensive river vegetation and impressive flowers. The pathways around this area provide a scenic route through the park, allowing visitors to explore the rich natural and historical aspects of Tel Afek.

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The restoration and management of the pond in Yarkon National Park, particularly near Tel Afek, highlight significant ecological efforts. One of the main challenges was dealing with an invasive species, the Australian Paperbark Tree (Melaleuca), which was originally introduced to stabilize sands and improve the landscape but later spread rapidly, outcompeting local flora. Recognized as an invasive species, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority has been making continuous efforts to control its spread and replace it with native vegetation.

Efforts have also been made to reintroduce the Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea caerulea) to the Yarkon, particularly to the Einat Stream. This perennial aquatic plant, with its striking blue-white flowers floating on the water surface, had disappeared from the Israeli wild by 1976. Seeds of the plant were collected and, through significant effort, it has been successfully reintroduced.

Additionally, the Authority undertook substantial works to transform a drainage canal into a living stream. This involved extensive earthworks to modify the straight, deep canal into a meandering stream with terraced banks and flow impediments. These changes have helped create a more natural stream structure. Local, sometimes rare, plant species were planted along the banks, replacing invasive species and restoring the area's native biodiversity.

This concerted effort by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority demonstrates a commitment to restoring and preserving the natural habitats within Yarkon National Park, ensuring a thriving ecosystem and a return to the Yarkon's historical landscape.

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The Tel Afek Antipatris fortress, located in the Yarkon National Park, is a site rich in history. The fortress itself was built between 1572-1574 during the Ottoman period and is known as "Binar Bashi," an Arabic corruption of the Turkish name Pinar Basha, meaning "fountainhead" or "head of the springs" (in Hebrew – Rosh Ha’Ayin). The fortress is often mistakenly referred to as Antipatris Fort, after the Roman city that previously existed in the area.

The primary function of this fortress was to guard the Afek Passage, a strategic route connecting the hills of Shomron with the sources of the Yarkon river. This pass was an important part of the ancient Via Maris, which traversed the length of the country, circumventing the marshy region. The fortress's location and construction reflect its strategic importance in controlling access to the vital water sources and trade routes of the region.

In addition to its military significance, the area around Tel Afek Antipatris fortress is known for its natural beauty and ecological diversity, making it a popular spot for both historical exploration and enjoying nature.

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The Tel Afek Antipatris fortress, located in the Yarkon National Park, has a fascinating history that stretches back to ancient times. During the Hellenistic period (4th-1st Century BC), the city at this location was known as Pegae, meaning "springs" in Greek. It served as a border city with Judea, collecting taxes from traffic across the pass. This period saw the city come under the control of the Judea Hasmonean Kingdom from the Greek Seleucids.

The area where the fortress stands has seen a succession of powers, from the Babylonians to the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Herod the Great, in the Roman era, expanded and renamed the city to Antipatris in honor of his father. The site also played a role in the revolts against the Romans and underwent significant developments during the late Roman period.

The fortress as it stands today was constructed during the Ottoman period in the 16th century, built atop the earlier layers of historical structures. It was designed to protect a vital pass and also served as a hostel for caravans. This structure, a testament to the varied historical influences in the region, is now part of the Yarkon-Tel Afek National Park, a site of archaeological, recreational, and natural significance.

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The southern tower of the Tel Afek Antipatris fortress and the line of sight to the Migdal Tzedek fortress emphasize their historical role in guarding the strategic pass. Visitors can view this line through an eyepiece, providing a tangible link between these two historically significant fortifications. The visual connection between these fortresses highlights their joint role in controlling access to the vital water sources and trade routes along the Via Maris during different historical periods, from the Hellenistic to the Ottoman era.

The Tel Afek Antipatris fortress and the Migdal Tzedek fortress have a rich and intertwined history, highlighting their strategic importance in the region. The Tel Afek Antipatris fortress, originally known as Pegae during the Hellenistic period, was a significant city that collected taxes from traffic crossing the pass. In the Roman era, Herod the Great renamed the city Antipatris in honor of his father. This site reached its peak during the late Roman period and was later fortified by the Ottomans in the 16th century as a large Khan (hostel) named Binar Bashi.

Migdal Tzedek, on the other hand, became prominent as an Arab manor house during the Ottoman period. The fortress offers a variety of walking trails and provides spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes, including the Sharon Plain and foothill communities. Its strategic location and architectural features, like the accessible south-east tower which can be visited by guests, underscore its historical significance.

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As you exit the main courtyard of the Antipatris fortress and move along its outer walls, the discovery of a significant pavement from a Roman street unfolds a story of historical continuity and architectural wisdom. The presence of this Roman pavement signifies the layers of history embedded within the site. It suggests that the Ottoman builders, who constructed or renovated the fortress in the 16th century, recognized and perhaps even leveraged the existing Roman infrastructure.

This practice of using pre-existing structures as foundations or guides is not uncommon in historical architecture. It demonstrates a practical approach to building, where new constructions are integrated with the old, thus preserving the continuity of the site's history. In the case of the Antipatris fortress, the Ottoman builders' decision to build alongside or directly over the Roman street highlights their respect for and confidence in the durability and strategic design of the ancient Roman constructions.

The coexistence of Roman and Ottoman elements at the Antipatris fortress thus becomes a symbol of the passage of time, the layering of cultures, and the continuity of human ingenuity in architecture. It speaks to the enduring nature of historical sites as palimpsests of various epochs, each contributing its unique chapter to the ongoing narrative of the location.

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The British Water Pumping Station in the Tel Afek area of the Yarkon National Park is a significant historical structure from the British Mandate period in Palestine. This facility was part of a broader water supply system that was instrumental in conveying water to Jerusalem. The process began with the collection of water from the Rosh Ha’Ayin springs. This water was then transferred to filtering pools for cleaning, followed by chlorination. Once treated, the water was stored in an underground reservoir and subsequently pumped to Jerusalem.

The British water supply system from Rosh Ha’Ayin to Jerusalem, constructed during the British Mandate period, included multiple pumping stations along its route. This ambitious engineering project, aimed at solving Jerusalem's chronic water shortage, featured pumping stations at Rosh Ha'Ayin (Ras al-Ein), Latrun, Sha'ar HaGai (Bab al-Wad), and Saris, the latter of which was replaced by the Israeli village of Sho'eva, named after the pumping station. The system utilized advanced pumping technology to force water up the mountainside to Jerusalem and was operational until the 1948 War of Independence when it was cut off by the Jordanian Arab Legion.

The physical remnants of this system in the Afek area include the pumping station itself, as well as the sinking and filtering pools, and the chlorination structure. Additionally, buildings opposite the station, which served as offices and residences for the British soldiers who guarded it, are now used by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. This setup was not only crucial for Jerusalem's water supply but also forms an integral part of the area's history, blending seamlessly with the natural and archaeological significance of the Yarkon National Park.

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Yarkon National Park is a popular destination with various facilities, including picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy picnicking in designated areas, complete with tables and ample space for relaxation. The park is also home to beautiful springs and ponds, such as the Yarkon bream pool and the water-lily pond. These natural water features add to the park's beauty and provide habitats for various aquatic species. The park attracts a diverse range of visitors, from families and nature enthusiasts to tourists, all drawn by its unique combination of historical sites, natural beauty, and recreational facilities.

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At the entrance of Yarkon National Park, near the picnic area, there's a charming attraction – a small waterfall. Although not very large, this waterfall adds a picturesque and tranquil ambience to the park. It's a popular spot for families, especially for children who enjoy playing in the water. The proximity of the waterfall to the picnic area makes it a perfect spot for families to relax and kids to have fun. This feature enhances the park's family-friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal place for a day in nature.

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The old railway station building from the 1930s is a fine example of the architectural style of that era. Its construction involved using bricks, with the bricks themselves sourced from a brickyard in Tel Aviv. The building was then faced with white limestone, a common practice that added a distinctive aesthetic to the structure. This method of construction, combining brickwork with limestone facing, was typical of the period and reflects the architectural trends and building techniques used in the region in the early 20th century.

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Established in 1915 as "ראס אל-עין," the Rosh HaAyin train station emerged under Turkish rule in Israel, during the eastern railway line construction, later serving in the British Mandate. In 1920, its expansion facilitated citrus export from Pardes Hanna, and in 1937, a collision involving two freight trains occurred there. Throughout World War II, it supported British camps nearby and was bombed by the Haganah in 1946. Captured by the IDF during the War of Independence on July 13, 1948, the station operated until 1993 when passenger lines closed due to the new Ayalon railway.

Reopened on June 3, 2000, as part of the Tel Aviv-Rosh HaAyin line, it shut again after the Tel Aviv-Kfar Saba line opened, making way for Rosh HaAyin North station in 2003. Plans to revitalize it as part of Israel Railways' electrification were approved in 2012, intending to connect it to the Rosh HaAyin-Lod line.

In 2016, reopening as part of the eastern railway was approved, including a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Highway 6. Its revival was key to a housing plan agreement with Rosh HaAyin Municipality. However, due to 2021 budget constraints, plans for the station's renewal and additional project stations were altered to enhance railway speed and efficiency.

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