Marathons are in full swing in Israel, which recently played host to the International Tiberias Sea of Galilee Marathon on January 8 of this year. Coming up next is Israman, taking place from January 27-30, 2016. This grueling competition, ranked as one of the top 10 most challenging triathlons in the world, takes place in the coastal resort town of Eilat. The Tel Aviv Marathon kicks off on February 26 and on February 6, The Ein Gedi Experience will take place, a half marathon held at Masada. The Jerusalem Marathon takes place on March 18, drawing in more than 20,000 runners. The 23rd annual Herzilya Women's Triathlon happens on May 5, and the second ever Bible Marathon will be on October 21.
INTERNATIONAL ARAD DEAD SEA GRAN FONDO: MARCH 3-5, 2016
The International Arad Dead Sea Gran Fondo will take place at the Dead Sea from March 3-5, 2016. The Gran Fondo (Italian for "the big race") is a challenging cycling event that takes place at the lowest point on earth. The ideal weather conditions of Israel's mild winter combined with the spectacular desert scenery make this an incredible race. The goal of the Gran Fondo is to fill the gap between team cycling challenges and professional cycling competitions.
The Sounds of the Old City Festival will be held for its fifth year from March 28-31, 2016, taking place from 7PM to 11PM each night. The festival, which is free and open to the public, offers a glimpse into the vibrant local musical traditions present within Jerusalem's Old City. Bands and local musicians will perform in the streets of the Old City, each playing music unique to the quarter and area in which they are performing.
EXPLORE THE OLD CITY OF ACRE BY DAY AND FEAST WITH ROYAL KNIGHTS BY NIGHT
Visitors to the Old City of Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can now truly step into the past at the Acre citadel. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, visitors are invited to join King Richard the Lionheart and his wife in a royal feast and ball. Held in the Crusader Hall, built during the time the Crusader Knights ruled the area, visitors will be able to feast on a traditional banquet inspired by the Middle Ages. To complete the experience, guests must eat using their hands and the meals are served by singing waiters dressed in costume. Following the feast, visitors can watch a royal jousting tournament.
Legendary singer-songwriter Sir Elton John has announced that he will be performing in the HaYarkon Park, Tel Aviv on May 26, 2016 as part of his Wonderful Crazy Night Tour to promote his new album of the same name. This will be the fourth concert in Israel for the British singer. Other performances in the works include pop sensation Sia, famous for her hit song "Chandelier," who is scheduled to play in Tel Aviv at the end of May, and legendary band Foreigner at the Caesarea Ampitheater on June 14 and 15.
TEL AVIV'S NORMAN HOTEL NAMED "WORLD'S BEST NEW BOUTIQUE HOTEL"
Tel Aviv's Norman Hotel was recognized as the World's Best New Boutique Hotel in December 2015. The Boutique Hotel Awards described The Norman "as a fusion of 1920 grandeur and contemporary elegance, steeped with historic charm, whilst at the same time providing high-tech sophistication and comfort inside...all the bedrooms are uniquely designed with high ceilings and spacious bathrooms. To top off the experience, the staff offer exceptional service, and go the extra mile to make guests feel at home. With an efficient and courteous manner at all times, and great attention to detail, they really do ensure guests have the perfect, intimate stay at The Norman hotel."
At the annual pre-Christmas reception held for the heads of the Christian churches and communities, ambassadors and diplomats, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin noted that: "For the first time in history, after thousands of years of religious bans and restrictions in the Holy Land, today every believer can enjoy complete freedom of worship here. The State of Israel is committed to maintaining freedom of religion and to facilitating access for every believer to the holy sites."
Photo Credit: Daphna Tal
THE DEAD DAISIES IN TEL AVIV
Famous Australian-American rock band, The Dead Daisies, stayed at the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel for eight nights in December when they were in town to play two concerts. Band members include Richard Fortus (guitarist for Guns N' Roses) and Darren Reed (singer for Axl Rose). The musicians were welcomed in beautiful suites overlooking the Mediterranean.
Pictured above: John Corabi, Richard Fortus, Marco Mendoza, Dan Tel Aviv General Manager Etai Eliaz, Darren Reed, Brian Tichy
NEW EXHIBIT AT ISRAEL MUSEUM JERUSALEM DISPLAYS 2ND-CENTURY BRONZE PORTRAITS
On display through June 30, 2016, Hadrian: An Emperor Cast in Bronze, concludes the Israel Museum's celebrations of its 50th anniversary. The exhibit is among a series of special exhibits highlighting masterpieces from sister institutions loaned in tribute to the museum, including the British Museum and the Louvre. Three bronze portraits of the Emperor Hadrian (117 - 138 CE), one of the boldest and most accomplished rulers of the Roman Empire, have been brought together for the first time for this exhibit.