Our first stop in Ramla was the White Tower. Built in 1318 by the Sultan Marmeluke Al-Kamil Nasreddin Mahmoud, its main purpose was to serve as an observation point. With 111 steps to the top, the lookout at 30 m gives you a beautiful panoramic view from the sea to the Judean hills.
Our second stop was the Pool of Arches which is considered to be one of the most significant buildings left from the time of Abbasid caliph rule. With its beautiful Moslem architecture it has survived more than 1,200 years, including earthquakes which destroyed large parts of Israel. Although it was originally built as an underground water reservoir, today it's a great place to go to enjoy a row through its maze of underground canals.
Next stop was the Ramla market, one of the most colorful and beautiful marketplaces in Israel. Operating since the end of the Ottoman period it's over 100 years old and is a wonderful shopping and culinary experience. After being teased with flavors of Turkish burekas, local cheeses, and delicious Tunisian sandwiches we were finally taken to an authentic Bukhari restaurant where we continued to feast and enjoy from a large selection of salads, pickles, meats and other delicacies.
Our last stop was Hirya, the waste treatment center for the Dan region (Tel Aviv, Holon, Ramat Gan, Bat Yam, Bnei Brak, and Givatayim). Established in 1952, it originally served as a landfill for rubbish. However, once it reached a massive height of 60 m, and spread over an area of 450,000m², its 16 million cubic meters of waste was deemed a negative environmental impact so in 1998 it was closed. Although still being a dump site of more than 2800 tons of waste every day, the original landfill has been rehabilitated into an ecological "green" park of literally lush green grass, English gardens, streams and lakes, and is now known as Ariel Sharon Park - a great place for picnics, fresh air and incredible views of the Dan region.
Combine that with the revolutionary system for naturally decomposing waste and producing electricity, innovative recycling methods being used to create efficient energy, water for irrigation, organic manure, and garden furniture, it has become the largest environmental movement in Israel and a huge source of pride for the Dan Municipality…. and justifiably so.