Baron Rothschild and the Story of Zichron Yaakov
On your way to or from the Carmel Mountain, make a stop at the small town of Zichron Yaakov, popular among Israel tour participants both for its beauty and for its extensive, colorful history.
Start your tour with a stroll through the town center, to soak up the atmosphere of the stone streets and the original and reconstructed houses from the 19th century. The town was first built in 1882 with funds provided by Baron Edmund de Rothschild, "The Benefactor," who contributed to the founding of many communities in the Holy Land. The founders of the town cultivated vineyards and in 1889 founded what is now the Carmel Mizrahi Winery, Israel's largest wine brand in terms of output.
Explore the new Carmel Wine & Culture visitors' center to learn about the history of Israeli winemaking and to see the winemaking process up close. The center includes a film screening room, a barrel room and two specialist tasting rooms. Stop in at the wine shop and the restaurant after you have finished your tour.
During World War I, Zikhron Yaakov served as the headquarters of the Zionist NILI organization, which provided the British with intelligence information that ultimately helped them conquer the land from the Ottomans. The Beit Aharonson Museum tells the story of this organization and its members, who were eventually caught by authorities and came to an unfortunate end.
The nearby Museum of the First Aliyah is dedicated to the first modern Jewish immigration to Israel. The colorful characters of the immigrants are brought to life through sculptures, and the sights and sounds of the early 20th century are brought to life with multimedia presentations.
Last on your tour should be a visit to the Ramat Hanadiv Botanical Gardens, the landscaped green spaces surrounding the tombs of Baron Rothschild and his wife Adelaide. The elegant, formal park features lawns, trees and roses, among other plants. The entire complex is surrounded by more than 1,000 acres of protected forest. To fully enjoy the gardens, stroll along one of the themed routes marked in the booklet available from the information desk.