Shavei Zion offers a site of historical and archaeological importance, albeit off the beaten track, but worth the short detour on your way to Rosh Hanikra or Ghetto Fighters’ House at Lohamei Hagetaot.
Shavei Zion is a “moshav shitufi” (cooperative village) on the Mediterranean seacoast of the Western Galilee, established on 13 April 1938 as a “Tower and Stockade” settlement. Many of the Fifth Aliyah settlers came from the German town of Rexingen, Wuerttemberg.
Byzantine Church Mosaic Floor
A Byzantine church was found to the west of Shavei Zion along the beach that leads from Acre to Tyre. The church was dated to the 4th century and was identified as part of a Roman/Byzantine village “Nea-Come” (New village). The excavations were led by Moshe Prausnitz and the findings include mosaic floors and walls as well as remains of Artesian aquifer well. The mosaics are decorated only with geometric carpets, without figurative objects.
In addition to the Byzantine church, north-west of the village are ruins of the tel (mound) of an ancient Cannanite and Phoenician city.
There is a shallow, natural harbor in the inlet of Nachal Beit-Haemek and a deep water natural harbor located offshore among the submerged Kurkar (sandstone) rock islands.
Two milestones were found near the site – 300M east of the church and another one was located on the south-east. They are marked the 4th and 5th miles from Acre to Tyre (309 and 310 of the Roman Acre-Syrian road). The milestones are on display in Shavei Zion.
The site has a fence which is easily opened. There is no entrance fee. Parking is free. Do not walk on the mosaic. You must walk on wooden sidewalks around the site to view the mosaics.
IDF Marine Commando Disaster Memorial
The Israeli navy ship “Kidon” (Javelin) is part of the memorial site to 12 IDF Seals that were killed in Lebanon. The shipwreck is situated in the sea about 3 km from the shore at the depth of 26 meters.
- A terrestrial memorial was erected in the southern part of Shavei Zion beach in 1999, commemorating this operation.
- In 2008 a monument, in the form of bat wings, was sunk proximate to the missile boat’s deck. Each wing carries six chairs with the names of the fallen. This is a popular diving site.
Tombstone of Acre Prison break fighters
Seven of the Acre Prison break fighters killed during the operation are buried in Shavei Zion cemetery.