A cliff-top national park surrounding a ruined Crusader city
Apollonia National Park, located north of Hertsliya Pituah on the coastal plain, contains the remains of a Crusader city, which has been excavated in recent years. The Crusader fortress that is the centerpiece of the visit to the park was built between 1241 and 1265, and is impressive testimony to the strength of the city in its day.
In 2003, World Monuments Watch declared Apollonia endangered by development, one of 100 such sites around the world so-named in that year, including the Great Wall of China and the city of Batsra in Syria. The full list of sites can be found on www.wmf.org
The park, an island of peace and tranquility in the tumultuous central coastal plain, contains two brief touring routes. One follows the cliff and is suitable for experienced hikers. The other is a level route suitable for wheelchair-users, other mobility-challenged visitors and strollers.
One highlight at Apollonia National Park is the Roman villa, visible from the lookout point, where a sign reveals a three-dimensional plan of the building. The heart of the visit is the cliff-top Crusader fortress overlooking the Mediterranean. The fortress, which contains a number of rooms and a collection of authentic ballistae balls, is surrounded by a wide moat.
The lookout balcony at the top of the fortress provides a spectacular view of the coast from Hadera in the north to Ashdod in the south.
Guided tours can be reserved at the Yarkon Education Center, 03-903-3130.