Hadera: A Power House and Power Couple
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
I attended a tourist convention just before Passover at Hadera, a city located midway between Tel-Aviv and Haifa, organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Municipality of Hadera. I myself was curious to hear what there was to do in Hadera since I had always thought of it as a sleepy suburban town. Boy was I mistaken. I came out all fired up and returned two days later with my daughter and her friend during the Passover school vacation in order to try out one of the trails.
See some rooftop photos from the convention:
My title is related to two of the many attractions available in the city. The power house’s visitors center that is active year-round is undergoing renovation and will be re-opened in October 2018. In addition, an interesting observation led to a new tourist attraction, a shark observation point since apparently sharks are attracted to the power house and since their peak season is in winter, I hope to write a separate post about the power house sometime round Q1 2019.
The power couple on the other hand is related to the rich history of Hadera. Yehoshua and Olga Hankin belonged to the first wave of settlers that took place between 1882-1904 (The First Aliya). Yehoshua was a Zionist Activist and gifted negotiator who used his talents to purchase lands leading to an overall lifetime achievement of ~650,000 Dunam (=650 km2), including lands in Rehovot, Hadera the Jezreel valley and more. His wife Olga, was a very educated woman at the time. As a trained midwife she used her connections with the established families of the region to support her 13-year younger husband’s zealous land purchasing activities. A tour in Hadera takes you to some of the locations related to them.
Hadera has lovely parks and beaches, but I’m afraid I left them for a future post. Till then, you can look up HaSharon Park, Hadera River Park and Gador Nature Reserve for a few additional options.
Trip Itinerary Options
A guided historic tour of the Olga Neighborhoods and ‘Beit Olga Hankin’
Major points to visit on the “Eucalyptus Trail” historic route
The founders garden ‘Gan Hameyasdim’
The first kiosk
The first school in Hadera ‘Ehad Ha’am’
The Feinberg House
The Khan Hadera Museum
I’ve chosen to write about major points because at the moment the trail is mainly in Hebrew aside from a few locations that either offer English options or that do not require explanation.
The Founders’ Garden ‘Gan Hameyasdim’
Address: On the corner of Rothschild St. and Weizmann St. You can enter from either one.
The founders’ garden was designed by the sculptor Dani Karavan with the intention of paying tribute to all those who contributed to the city, the founders and the fallen soldiers. The garden is built around a long avenue of palm trees planted by the founders with a memorial home ‘Beit Yad Lebanim’ (the building with the tree coming out of the roof) and a large monument of columns for the fallen soldiers on one end and a preserved well and beautiful fish pond symbolizing the early swamps on the other hand. It’s a beautiful starting point, no explanations needed. We shared our sandwiches with the fish.
Address: 70 Herbert Samuel St.
It’s mainly a fruit and vegetable market, but we actually enjoyed the closed stalls the most because the shutters are painted with murals and are great for selfie photos.
The First Kiosk
Address: Shderot Amir Mei-Tal corner of Ehad Ha’am St.
In Hadera, not only did they restore the first kiosk, they reactivated it! You can get soda from a real soda fountain, freshly squeezed fruit juice and light snacks. The girls were not impressed with the historic feature, so they got the freshly squeezed juice and I was left with ordering non-diet soda for the photo, so I got a mix of all flavors: apricot, pineapple, raspberry and grape. In the end, I even enjoyed it. The kiosk is located next to avenue with interesting sculptural elements named after Lt. Colonel Amir Mei-Tal who grew up in Hadera and was killed in Lebanon.
The First School in Hadera ‘Ehad Ha’am’
Address: 12 Ehad Ha’am St.
The first school, named after the Zionist leader ‘Ehad Ha’am’ was founded in the 1920s by the High Commissioner Herbert Samuel and today serves partly as an educational museum and partly as a meeting room for the municipal council. The children of the neighborhood now use newer classrooms built next door. With respect to English, the museum has bilingual plaques or you can reserve a guided tour. The film and interactive games have yet to be translated into English.
The Feinberg House
Address: 34 Jabotinsky St.
I was going to write about the 'NILI Organization' elsewhere, but since Avshalom Feinberg was a key member of the 'NILI Organization', I can’t help but mention them. The 'NILI Organization' was a Jewish espionage network that tried to assist the British in their war against the Ottoman empire. The network was active throughout 1915-1917 and Avshalom Feinberg played a major role in its operations.
I was surprised by the beauty of his restored parent’s homestead with its intricate hand-painted wall decorations in each room and heavy European furniture in the middle of the swamps. The museum contains several original family objects. You can reserve a tour in English including a film in English that tells the story of the Feinberg family and Avshalom in particular. Additionally, there is a café next on the house grounds, but I didn’t try it during this visit.
Address: 74 Hagiborim St.
‘Khan’ means inn and that’s exactly what this 140-year old building was. The first settlers who purchased land via Yehoshua Hankin’s mediation in 1891, came from the Ukraine and did not know that the Ottoman empire did not allow settlers to build homes. Thus, the first 30 families found themselves living together in this wayside inn for five years till the Turks changed the law. A tour of the Khan is fascinating because today the multiple rooms are used for displaying life in Hadera throughout the decades starting from the first settlers and up to a lifesize ‘transit camp’ tin hut and food-stamp booklet, each room with original artifacts from its era. The Khan Hadera Museum is adjacent to The Great Synagogue that was built on its premises between 1936-1940 for 1100 people. It’s open when prayers are active so I missed it this time, but if you arrive on time, you can see the beautiful stained glass windows.
Another nice thing about this museum for you is that it offers group tours (15 or above) in English that include both a guide and an actor. If you are a very small group, you can take a self-guided tour with an English pamphlet, but if you are near 15, you can negotiate the group offering. Also, the film has an English version. In either case, it is recommended to let the museum know in advance that an English version will be required so that they have enough printed materials and the film set up.
The ‘Olga Neighborhoods’ and ‘Beit Olga Hankin’
During the convention, we took a guided tour throughout the neighborhoods and met Lewis, a local resident since 1957. He told stories about life in Hadera and how the city developed over time with great enthusiasm and love.
Our tour ended at a place you can visit by yourself, ‘Beit Olga Hankin’. Yehoshua built this beach house for Olga, but she passed away before it was complete. Today it serves as a dairy kosher restaurant and is a lovely place with an excellent sea-view. Regardless, it’s a great place to end the day with coffee and a walk on the beach.
Tour Reservation Phone: 04-6343296
‘Beit Olga Hankin’ Address: 1 Menachem Begin St.
‘Beit Olga Hankin’ Phone: 04-6214424.
Aside from ‘Beit Hankin’, there are ‘Rafi Batzomet’, ‘Opera’, ‘Brisket’, ‘Shipudei Olga’, ‘Pasta Loco’, ‘Theta’, ‘Sami Bakikar’, ‘Coffee Feinberg’, ‘Haroeh BaCafe’, ’80 rest’ and ‘Benny HaDayag Kfar Hayam’.
My gorgeous rooftop photos were taken from the 22nd floor terrace of the ‘Ramada Resort Hadera Beach’ hotel, where the convention took place.
I spent two days in Hadera and will surely come back.
This is what it looks like on the map:
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