When entering Zichron Ya’acov for the first time I was struck with how atypical the town appeared. We were greeted with the giant water tower (above) with the image of Baron Rothschild peering down on us as he is surrounded by bunches of wine grapes, a gentle hint of what waited ahead for us.
The main street named Rehov Hameyasdim (also known as Wines Way, is about four city blocks long. The popular area is closed off to traffic and is filled with shops selling all kinds of things including jewellery (sic), food, spices, bread, clothing, etc. many made by local artists.
There is also plenty of history to be found in Zichron Ya’acov. The original village was settled by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the man in the water tower.In 1883, Baron de Rothschild took over running the village and began planning to find the right agricultural crop to grow. Grape growing and wine making were found to be the most successful. Huge wine cellars were carved into the surrounding mountains and are still in use today by the Carmel Mizrachi winery. Which we did not visit and is another reason to return to the area.
The commercial area did not really excite us as it reminded in many ways of small towns back home on Long Island catering to tourists and shoppers alike. What we found most interesting was the part of Rehov Hameyasdim that reflected the long storied past of this community. Walking down the old part of the street we began to really see the history of this town.
We came across a winery located in a shed/garage behind a small house. The owner would not allow us to look at his wine making equipment. Not sure why but he didn’t.
There was an apparently abandoned synagogue…
and abandoned residence dating back to 1833…
and even what is left of a small farm.
An old cemetery containing many of the graves of the original settlers in the area, as well as those who have recently died, is located at the top of the street…