If you are looking for family friendly, tourist attraction which is also an important and impressive historical site, then Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park is just what the doctor ordered. The park is actually two parks:
- Tel Afek (Antipatris) with its Ottoman fortress overlooking the Yarkon springs
- Yarkon Springs: including the British Mandate pumping station and sensational yellow water lily.
This post will introduce you to historical Tel Afek.
A family friendly trail leads from the upper Yarkon Stream near Tel Afek and continues to the Yarkon sources. Length of tour: 2 hours-all day. Best season: Year-round. Other facilities and attractions:playground with equipment, basketball court, volley ball net, ping-pong tables, picnic tables, barbecues, physical fitness trail, ecological education center.
- April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M.
- October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M.
- Last entry one hour before above closing hour
- Education Center: 03-903-3190
- Afek compound 03-903-0760
Entrance fee required.
Accessibility:The area has wheelchair-accessible trails and picnic tables. Visits to the fortress, the Canaanite and the Roman ruins are accessible with assistance.
Antipatris was a city built in the site by Herod the Great, and named in honour of his father, Antipater II of Judea. Almost nothing is left from that period, save the name. The city was destroyed in 363 CE by an earthquake. What we see is the Ottoman fortress ( Binar Bashi) built in its place in the 16th century. The local Arabs called the local village Ras al-Ayn, now the name of the neighboring city, Rosh HaAyin in Hebrew.
How to get there:
The Afek entrance is on the Petah Tikva-Rosh Ha‘ayin road (no. 483) between Kibbutz Giv‘at HaShlosha and Kibbutz Einat. The Rosh Ha‘ayin train station is near the Tel Afek entrance; Dan buses 27, 7, 17 and 93 also stop at this entrance.
British Mandate pumping station
Yarkon spring water was once pumped by the British to Jerusalem. Tour of the pumping station by calling the Mekorot water company: 03-938-8961.
Pump Station Lake
Oldest photos of Tel Afek
Ottoman Fortress, Binar Bashi
Built in 1571
The Ottomans added defense towers in each corner to the remains of the Crusader wall foundations. The largest tower was the Octogonal Tower.
Octogonal Tower and defense ports
Egyptian Governor’s Residence