Egyptian Ruins Near Ashdod, Israel

Ancient Egyptian scarab beetle and vulture wings
Ancient Egyptian scarab beetle and vulture wings (Image: Images)

Located near Ashdod, Israel, are several historically fascinating ancient Egyptian ruins. The Egyptians ruled this region throughout the Bronze Age for over three centuries and were responsible for constructing fortresses and citadels that demonstrated their power. However, due to latter empires that sought control of the sites as well recent turmoil in the region, most of these ancient Egyptian ruins have been destroyed. Despite this turbulent history, many ancient sites have since been excavated and scatter the region between 20 to 50 miles from Ashdod. It is recommended that visitors hire a car in order to explore the ruins thoroughly -- by exploring the region at a gentle pace, visitors will be better able to take in the culture and history of the ancient Egyptians.

Tel Aviv

The coastal city of Tel Aviv is located 20 miles north of Ashdod and is home to Egyptian ruins dating back to the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. As a city situated on the Mediterranean Sea, the port of Jaffa has historically remained a strategic site, formerly controlled by the ancient Egyptians. Visitors to the city have the chance to explore the ruins of an Egyptian citadel constructed under the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II during the time of the Exodus.

Gaza Strip

Travel 20 miles from Ashdod to the Palestinian Territory of the Gaza Strip to visit several ruins that tell of former Egyptian empires. Tell es-Sakan is considered the most important of these sites in Gaza, and it is the oldest of the Egyptian fortresses located outside of Egypt. Several of these sites have only been partially excavated, and as work to restore these ruins continues in the future, it is possible that more ancient constructions will surface. However, urbanization in the region is threatening to destroy the ancient sites.

Tel Afek

The ancient Fortress at Tel Afek is located approximately 40 miles from Ashdod, an ancient city that was previously ruled by multiple empires. Although the largest remaining structure is a Turkish fort, it was originally constructed on top of five ancient Egyptian palaces. These acted as homes to the governors who ruled during the Bronze Age, elaborate palaces that depict an era of decadence and glory. During excavations along the western inner wall of the fortress, the most recently built palace was uncovered, dating back to the latter part of the Bronze Age.


A little further afield is Tharo, situated around 50 miles south of Ashdod, close to the Egyptian border city of Rafah. This spectacular site was first discovered in 2007 and is thought to be the largest fortified city of ancient Egypt. The giant fortress spans around 31 acres in a complex of structures and buildings that date back more than 3,000 years. Initially, it acted as a strong barrier to the East, and today, complete with sculptures of Pharaohs, tells of the city’s former power.

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