For those who enjoy 'unofficial' sites, the
small castle of Cafarlet, at Moshav Ha'bonim is a nice
place to visit, especially if you combine it with some
other sightseeing in the area. The Moshav lies on the
coast between Caesarea and Atlit. Its beach is known as
one of the country's best – so a visit here is
definitely an opportunity to enjoy a swim – have a nice
oceanside picnic or simply take a leisurely walk on the
beach, which is part of a nature reserve. The more
adventurous among you can even go skydiving (there is a
skydiving school right on the beach).
Cafarlet is located three kilometers from the
ocean and eight kilometers from Atlit (site of Chateau
Pelerin, the only
fortification that was never
captured by the enemy). It is also three kilometers from
Merle (at Dor), another Crusader stronghold.
This is a small square castle, which is by no
means spectacular, but Crusader devotees are bound to
enjoy it. There is however something quaint about
the site – which is not part of national park (hence it
is also free). It sits atop a small hill at Ha'bonim
What is unique about the castle is that
unlike other square castles, Cafarlet features rounded
guard towers – the remains of which are still clearly
visible. Though small, they are more reminiscent of the
rounded guard towers that can be found in Europe than of
the typical square towers that can be found in square
castles elsewhere in the Holy Land.
During the 12th century Cafarlet
was part of the Principality of Caesarea. The Templars
bought the castle and the surrounding land in 1213, but
by 1255 it was conquered by the Moslems.
For those interested in more recent history,
nearby Kibbutz Nahsholim is home to an old glass factory
(known in Hebrew as, Ha' Mizgaga), that was established
in 1894 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild – to manufacture
wine bottles for what at the time was the newly evolving
wine industry. This particular spot was chosen – due to
the abundance of sand needed to produce the glass.
However, this factory whose manager was Meir Dizengoff
(who later went on to become Tel Aviv's first mayor),
did not survive for long - the rampant malaria
ultimately led to its closing. Today, the building
serves as museum of underwater archeological finds.
Cafarlet is located at Moshav Ha'bonim.
Directions: Driving from Tel Aviv toward
Haifa, take coastal road # 2. After Zichron Ya'acov,
take the exit to Route #7011, (toward Fureidis).At
the stoplight take a left onto Route # 4. Drive until
you see the sign for Ha'bonim (on the left). Turn left
and follow the road all the way to the end (you'll cross
over a bridge that goes over the coastal road). As you
cross the bridge you will see a brown sign to Ha'bonim.
Take this right, only if you want to reach
beach/nature reserve. Otherwise, continue straight and
enter the Moshav. At the entrance bear left and go up
the hill and you’ll see a water tower on the right. On
the left there is an older looking building (which is a
library), take a left and park at the edge of the small
parking lot (you'll be facing the Carmel Mountains).
Walk down a small path, take a left and the small castle
will immediately be visible.
For those interested in visiting the old
glass factory, Ha'Mizgaga at Nasholim:
04/ 639-0950 TEL
Hours:Sunday-Thursday 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM, Friday, 8:30 AM
– 1:00 PM, Saturday, 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM.
Entry fees: Adults, 15 NIS/pp,
Children/Senior Citizens, 8