Kiryat Shmona, Israel’s northernmost city, nestles in the Khula Valley, in the heart of one of the most beautiful nature and tourism regions. The city is named in memory of the eight fallen heroes of the 1920 battle over nearby Tel Khai (Shmona is the Hebrew word for eight).
Kiryat Shmona was founded in 1949 on the ruins of the Arab village of Khalsa, as a transit camp for immigrants who worked mainly in farming, and over the years the city was built and industries developed there. There are currently a number of successful manufacturing plants in Kiryat Shmona, although the city serves mainly as a commercial and tourism center for the surrounding communities.
The southern entrance to Kiryat Shmona is at the bottom of Manara cliff, the site of Israel’s longest scenic cable car (1,900 meters), which takes visitors up the high cliffs to Kibbutz Manara. The site has a breathtaking observation point overlooking the Khula Valley and the surrounding area, a restaurant, hiking path, activities for children, a challenging sports center with a climbing wall and the longest omega in Israel, with the steepest slope in the world (!). Visitor can also rappel down a 42-meter cliff face ride on an all-terrain bicycle trail with bicycles that can be rented on site.
Shehumit hill rises on the east side of Kiryat Shmona, offering an panoramic view of the city and the northern Khula Valley. Not far from here is the municipal Golden Park, built on both sides of the route of the Ein Zahav (Golden Spring) Stream. At the center of the park are broad lawns and small forest of poplar and Syrian ash trees. A flour mill from the Ottoman Period (1517-1917) still stands beside the stream, and in the north part of the park there is a small mosque made of checkered basalt and chalk stone, a remnant of the Arab village. The mosque now houses a museum of Kiryat Shmona’s history, including a photographic exhibition from the city’s early days and an audiovisual program documenting the city’s development. The old inn near the city center is an ancient building that once served as a castle. The inn is made of chiseled stone adorned with arches and has a small courtyard and a theater in the center. This building is now used as an arts center and hosts various events.
Kiryat Shmona offers tourists guest rooms, restaurants, shopping centers and entertainment, and surrounding the city are many streams and natural and historic sites, including Khurshat Tal National Park, the Khula Valley Nature Reserve, the Tel Dan Nature Reserve and Tel Khai.