History of Nahariya

early days in Nahariya israel
Visitors who come to vacation in Nahariya will find that, in addition to the area's beauty and relaxing atmosphere, they will appreciate the region even more as they learn  about the region. 

Ancient History  

Nahariya takes its name from a stream of the Ga'aton River ("Nahar" in Hebrew means "river"). The water source has served as a draw for settlement over thousands of years as evidenced by the ruins of a Canaanite temple which were discovered near the present-day municipal beach. This temple, archaeologists believe, was dedicated to Asherath (Astarte), the Canaanite goddess of the sea and dates to approximately 1500, roughly 200 years before the Exodus of Egypt and the Children of Israel's entry into Canaan.

Historians know little about the inhabitants who lived in the region during this era. The city lies on the path of the ancient trade route, the Via Maris, that linked Syria, Egypt, Anatolia and Mesopotamia. It's proximity to Acre, a major port city, would indicate the probability that the area was continuously inhabited. A Byzantine-era Church was built in what is today the heart of Nahariya -- a mosaic floor of the Church can still be seen, depicting flora and fauna as well as scenes of work and hunting.

Modern Settlement

Modern settlement of the town began in the 1930s with early Jewish immigrants who envisioned an agricultural-based community in the region. The land was bought from a landowner in Beruit by Joseph Levi and partners in the 1890s but there were delays and the first settlement only occurred in 1935. The residents quickly realized that agriculture was not productive but the town proved to be a popular location for 5th Aliyah immigrants, Jews who were fleeing Nazi Germany. Many of these settlers were drawn to the potential that Nahariya offered as an industrial center. These early German immigrants established the economic base that, together with tourism, has given the town its European character and made the city the charming, neat, well-kept and industrious northern Israel vacation city that it has become today.


Nahariya and the State of Israel

Nahariya was originally not intended to be part of the State of Israel but intense lobbying by early founders and residents enabled them to convince the Peel Commission, which was responsible for drawing up the borders of the proposed country, to include the region within Israel's boundaries.

During the years of the British Mandate the Western Galilee was often the site of illegal "Aliyah Bet" ships which attempted to bring in Jews who were fleeing Europe. The Nahariya residents cooperated by helping the refugees to land and hiding them from the British police until they could be smuggled deeper into the country.

From the beginning Nahariya has been a city of immigrants. Following the creation of the State of Israel the town absorbed thousands of new immigrants -- refugees from Europe, North Africa, Asia and many other locations. Many of these early immigrants lived in "ma'abarot" -- refugee camps -- outside of the town's limits but were slowly absorbed into the city as new housing was built and new industries opened.  

Tourism in Nahariya

Tourism has always been an important part of the local landscape. The balmy climate along with the natural beauty of the area and the clean, well-kept beaches have made the town a natural venue for people who are looking for a relaxing northern Israel vacation. Israelis and international tourists alike have been coming to enjoy a vacation in Nahariya since its founding in 1935. The city has developed an infrastructure that creates a warm and welcoming environment for day visitors as well as for visitors who come to spend several days or even more in the town. There are a wide range of hotels in Nahariya from which to choose, including several budget hotel in Nahariya options as well as mid-priced Nahariya hotels and luxury beachfront hotel in Nahariya alternatives.

There are many options for an easy and affordable vacation in Nahariya, regardless of schedule or budget.