Lying at the southern end of Mount Carmel between the towns of Zikhron Ya'akov and Binyama is a beautiful garden oasis called Ramat Hanadiv. This living memorial is a natural gem dedicated to the life of Baron Edmond Rothschild. This man's name is synonymous with the experience of Israel since his financial contributions assisted vastly in the aesthetic development of this country. Almost anywhere beautiful that you will go in Israel has Rothschild's name hidden in it somewhere. His contributions singlehandedly changed the surface of Israel from a unlivable desert no-man's land to the vibrant, developed and thriving nation that it is today. He is considered a national hero. To memorialize his existence, this breathtaking arboretum was developed as his final resting place.
Just the other day, I had the chance to visit Ramat Hanadiv in person with my ulpan when we took a group field trip up north. We visited a few destinations which I will be covering over the next few posts. Each stop was unexpectedly influential and moving. Because I have a soft spot for gardens, as you know, I chose to cover this visit first.
Ramat Hanadiv is divided into two sections: the Memorial Gardens and the Nature Park. The Memorial Gardens beckon guests into a place of rare tranquility. You can stroll the pathways here among exquisitely designed gardens and breathe in their pleasant fragrances. A gracious combination of European formality and Mediterranean-style plantings, the Gardens reflect the Baron de Rothschild's legacy of dignity and modesty.
It is here in the Memorial Gardens that you will find the crypt of the Baron and his wife Adelheid where you can pay your respects to the man who changed the face of Israel. In order to be buried here, Rothschild's body had to be carried by ship from France to Israel where it would find its final resting place. He was given a funeral fit for royalty, symbolizing his impact on the nation.
Though we did not make it to the Nature Park on our visit, rest assured that visitors may enjoy many pleasurable pursuits in that portion of Ramat Hanadiv as well. You will find circular hiking trails, beautiful observation points, Mediterranean scenery, ancient settlements and hidden springs amidst fields of greenery.
Ramat Hanadiv has also been known to be a bird watcher's paradise. Here birds of prey are prepared for their release back into nature in order to assist in the reestablishment and preservation of the fauna of Israel.
The photos up until this point (with the exception of the first) have been selections from Ramat Hanadiv's educational website (see here), however, please now enjoy some more personal photos from our day trip to Ramat Hanadiv:
If you haven't yet been to Ramat Hanadiv, put it on your list. Not only is it magnificently beautiful, but also, it is educational and inspiring. Going there really instilled in me an appreciation for the man who is and was Edmond Rothschild, a person so significant to Israel's history. It is no wonder that his sons chose to memorialize him in perhaps Israel's loveliest landscape.With ocean views in front of you and an endless green landscape behind you, you would never know you were in the middle of the desert that is Israel if you were plopped down into this lush garden.