Trying to get to the dig? Israel has lots of options for public transportation all over the country and you will probably use a bus, train or shared taxi (sherut) at some point in your visit. Like anywhere, some places are more directly accessible than others—so you’ll be well served to do some research or ask for some advice before you travel. Since some of you have specific travel plans that will require you to reach the dig site on your own, we have put together some bus information for you. Please read carefully because there are a lot of names, numbers and other details in these directions!
Of course, you know the site which we are digging is called Tel Kiriath-Jearim! But there are some modern town names that you will need to keep in mind as well:
- We are staying at The Monastery of the Ark of the Covenant which is located at the edge of the village of Abu-Gosh, which is an Arab village. (It’s famous for its hummus!)
- Adjacent to Abu-Gosh, there is an Orthodox Jewish town called Kiryat Ye’arim—like our site, just spelled differently.
If you need public transportation to take you from/to the monastery there are a few options available. There are many bus options from all parts of the country to Jerusalem. The main bus company in Israel is called Egged, and you can search routes in English here: http://www.egged.co.il/Article-782-Schedule-Information.aspx
From Jerusalem to the Monastery
- In addition to Egged, there are a few smaller bus companies, and one of them is called Superbus. Line 189 will take you from Jerusalem close to the entrance to the Monastery. It stops within the town Kiryat Ye’arim itself—in the link below, the pin labeled 16 is probably the shortest walk—maybe 15-20 minutes. (The Monastery is on the road you can see on the map above the pin labeled 19—you can see it marked with a cross.) You can see this route here: (https://www.bus.co.il/otobusimmvc/Line_Places_By_ID/8574888?StartPlaceID=123279&EndPlaceID=983210&StartPlaceTime=07%2F02%2F2017%2016%3A45%3A00)
- The same bus company also runs Line 185, which has more stops along its route, and therefore, will most likely take a little bit while longer to bring you to the site. However, it has two stops just near the roundabout at the entrance to the monastery. This is a shorter walk to the grounds of the Monastery than from the town of Kiryat Ye’arim. Stops 8 or 9 in the link here are what you want: https://www.bus.co.il/otobusimmvc/Line_Places_By_ID/8573719?StartPlaceID=626988&EndPlaceID=1076689&StartPlaceTime=07%2F02%2F2017%2017%3A00%3A00
To and From Abu-Gosh
- You’ll remember that the Monastery is just on the edge of the village of Abu-Gosh. The main entrance of the village is located right on Route 1, which is a major highway connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and so many inter-city bus lines stop at the Abu-Gosh station. It is a 10-minute taxi ride to the Monastery from there. A bus route with a stop at “Hemed Junction” is what you want to look for—that’s the name of the Abu-Gosh station stop. You can search Egged routes online in English or, once here, you can check at major bus stations and terminals for bus route information.
Another kind of semi-public transportation in Israel is a shared taxi/service taxi called a sherut. You can find sherut drivers outside the airport arrivals hall, near gates 01-03, who are taking passengers to all sorts of destinations in the country. The benefit of a sherut is that, unlike public transportation that does not operate during the Sabbath (from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening), they run 24/07. These run between cities and from/to the airport, but also within Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other destinations. For more information on the sherut taxis, check out this website: https://www.touristisrael.com/taking-a-sherut-in-israel/6670/
For more general information on how to get from/to Ben Gurion airport, including information on the train, you can check out official Israel Airports Authority website: http://www.iaa.gov.il/enUS/airports/bengurion/Transportation/Pages/default.aspx