What You Need To Know

Ashdod is the sixth-largest city in Israel, located in the Southern District of the country, on the Mediterranean coast where it is situated between Tel Aviv to the north (32 kilometres (20 miles) away) and Ashkelon to the south (20 km (12 mi) away). Jerusalem is 53 km (33 mi) to the east. Ashdod is Israel’s largest port, accounting for 60% of the country’s imported goods. The city is also an important regional industrial center. Modern Ashdod covers the territory of two ancient twin towns, one inland and one on the coast, which were for most of their history two separate entities, connected though by close ties with each other. This article is dealing with both these historic towns and other ancient sites now located within the territory of modern Ashdod. The first documented urban settlement at Ashdod dates to the Canaanite culture of the 17th century BCE, making the city one of the oldest in the world. Ashdod is mentioned 13 times in the Bible. During its pre-1956 history the city was settled by Philistines,Israelites, colonists coming in the wake of Alexander’s conquests,Romans and Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks. Modern Ashdod was established in 1956 on the sand hills near the site of the ancient town, and incorporated as a city in 1968, with a land-area of approximately 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi). Being a planned city, expansion followed a main development plan, which facilitated traffic and prevented air pollution in the residential areas, despite population growth. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Ashdod had a population of 217,959 in 2014, with an area of 47,242 dunams (47.242 km2; 18.240 sq mi)

Area: 47.24 km²
Population: About 218,000

 

Currency

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  • The currency in Ashdod is Shekel (₪, ILS, NIS). You can find ATM’s along the city.

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Economy

Ashdod is one of the most important industrial centers in Israel. All industrial activities in the city are located in northern areas such as the port area, the northern industrial zone, and around the Lachish River. The port of Ashdod is the largest port in Israel, handling about 60% of Israel’s port cargo. It was mainly upgraded in recent years and will be able to provide berths for Panamax ships. Various shipping companies offices are also located in the port area which also is home to an Eshkol A power station and coal terminal. The Northern industrial zone is located on Highway 41 and includes various industry including an oil refinery, which is one of only two in the country. The heavy industry zone located south of the Lachish River was once the main industrial center in Ashdod. Recently, however, leisure facilities have moved into the area. There is still some industry here, however, such as a Teva Pharmaceutical Industries plant, construction components producer Ashtrom, and Solbar a soybean oil producer. Ashdod is also home to Elta, a part of Israel Aircraft Industries where radar equipment, electronic warfare systems, and ELINT are developed.

 

Government

Ashdod was declared a city in 1968. The Ashdod City Council has twenty-five elected members, one of whom is the mayor. The mayor serves a five-year term and appoints six deputies. The current mayor of Ashdod, Yehiel Lasri, was last elected in 2008 after Zvi Zilker has been in office continuously since 1989. Within the city council there are various factions representing different population groups. The headquarters of the Ashdod Municipality and the mayor’s office are at city hall. This new municipal building is located in the main culture and business area.

 

Language

Hebrew, the language of the Bible, and Arabic are the official languages of the State of Israel. Hebrew (and Arabic too) is written from right to left.

 

Religion

Over 95% of Ashdod’s population is Jewish, over 30% of whom are religiously observant. Despite this, the city is generally secular, although most of the non-Jewish population is a result of mixed marriages. About 100 families are affiliated with the Pittsburg Hasidic group, established here in 1969 by Grand Rabbi Avraham Abba Leifer and continued today by his son, Grand Rabbi Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer. Ashdod has many synagogues serving different streams of Judaism. The city is also home to the world’s largest Karaitecommunity, about five thousand strong. There is also a Scandinavian Seamen Protestant church, established by Norwegian Righteous Among the Nations pastor Per Faye-Hansen.

 

Sports

Ashdod’s football team, F.C. Ashdod represents the city in Ligat ha’Al, Israel’s Premier League. The club is known for its successful soccer school. The city’s top basketball team is Maccabi Ashdod. The men squad plays in First League, Israel’s First tier league, and the women squad Maccabi Bnot Ashdod plays in top division. Ashdod plays host to many national and international sporting tournaments, including the annual Ashdod International Chess Festival. The city has a cricket team, a rarity in Israel. It is run and organized by citizens of Indian descent. Ashdod’s beaches are a venue for water sports, like as windsurfing and Scuba diving. The Ashdod Marina offers yachting services.

 

Urban development

The modern city of Ashdod city was built outside the historic settlement site, on virgin sands. The development followed a main development plan. The planners divided the city into seventeen neighborhoods of ten to fifteen thousand people. Wide avenues between the neighborhoods make traffic flow relatively freely inside the city. Each neighborhood has access to its own commercial center,urban park, and health and education infrastructure. The original plan also called for a business and administrative center, built in the mid-1990s, when the city population grew rapidly more than doubling in ten years. Three industrial zones were placed adjacent to the port in the northern part of the city, taking into account the prevailing southern winds which take air pollution away from the city. The plan had its problems, however, including asymmetric growth of upscale and poorer neighborhoods and the long-time lack of a main business and administrative center. The city was planned for a maximum of 250,000 inhabitants, and an additional area in the south was reserved for further development. In 2012, a plan to build an industrial zone on part of the Ashdod Sand Dune was approved. The plan calls for a hi-tech industrial park, events halls, and coffee shops to be built adjacent to the train station. It will cover 400 dunams (0.4 km2; 0.2 sq mi), including 130 dunams of built-up space, with the rest of the area being preserved as a nature reserve. In addition, the Port of Ashdod is undergoing a massive expansion program, and a private hospital will be built in the city.

 

Transport

Road

Ashdod is located on the historic Via Maris. Highway 4 was developed following this route along the southern sea shore of Israel; it serves as the main connection to the north, towards the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, and to the south, towards Ashkelon.Ad Halom junction was planned as the main entrance to the city from the east. Ashdod Interchange was opened in 2009. The interchange continues the freeway section of Highway 4 further south, by removing the traffic light at this junction, and also added grade separation with the railway. The other main road in the area is Highway 41 which served the city from the start of its modern history. This road runs from west to east towards Gedera and it is the main transport link to the port of Ashdod and the industrial zones, and connects to Highway 4 with an interchange. In late 2012, Ashdod won a NIS 220 million grant from the Israeli Transport Ministry to improve public transportation and decrease private car use. According to the municipality’s plans, a 20-kilometer ring of road arteries will be given priority in public transportation. These arteries will carry four bus rapid transit lines. In the city’s more crowded areas, such as Herzl Boulevard or the western part of Menachem Begin Boulevard, a public transportation lane will be paved in the center of the road. In other areas, the right-hand lane will be reserved for public transportation. Buses will also be given priority at traffic lights; electronic devices will allow a bus to signal its approach, causing the light to turn green. In addition, an electric-powered bicycle rental network will be set up, and 22 kilometres (14 miles) of bicycle paths will be paved in the city.

Train

The passenger railway connection to Ashdod opened in 1992 after the renovation of the historical railway to Egypt. Ashdod railway station is on Israel RailwaysBinyamina/NetanyaTel AvivAshkelon line and it is located near Ad Halom Junction. The station was upgraded in 2003 when a new terminal building was built. The station building is modern, but proper road access to it was only organized on September 23, 2008, when a new road to the station was opened. There is also heavy freight traffic in the area. Port of Ashdod has its own railway spur line as well as a special terminal for potash brought from the Sodom area and exported abroad.

Buses

A new central bus station opened in 1996. It serves as the terminus both for inter- and intracity lines. The central bus station is attached to the City Mall. Intercity bus lines connect the city with most population centers in central and southern Israel. Following is the list of bus companies serving routes at the central bus station

 

Weather

Ashdod has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers, pleasant spring and fall, and cool, rainy winters. As a seaside town, the humidity tends to be high many times year round, and rain occurs mainly from November to March. In winter, temperatures seldom drop below 5 °C (41 °F) and are more likely to be in the range of 10–15 °C (50–59 °F), while in summer the average is 27 °C (81 °F). The average annual rainfall is 510 mm (20 in).

 

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