If you enjoy visual art of any kind, then you must make sure to visit the village of Ein Hod while on your gap year in Israel.
The artist village is located at the bottom of Mount Carmel and in addition to beautiful views of the Mediterranean, it is home to many of Israel’s finest living artists. The village itself is extremely pretty. Built using stones from the Christian Crusades and the Ottoman Empire, its small winding streets are lined with sculptures, and there are more art galleries and studios to visit than you could possibly manage in a day.
Marcel Janco, a Dada artist, founded Ein Hod in 1953. He moved there with a number of other artists and together they built a series of workshops and studios. Technically, the village did exist prior to that, as it was abandoned in the War of Independence, however, they established it as an artist village. The initial group of artists managed to create a life for themselves without any financial support from the government, and it is still going strong today. In fact, 10 Israel Prize winners have come from Ein Hod and there are hundreds of families now living there.
Tragically, the village suffered a great deal of damage in the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire. Not only were homes destroyed, but together with them a huge amount of artwork was lost, as well as museum pieces, and more. While it is impossible to put a value on what was lost, in true Israeli spirit, the village has since rebuilt itself and today it is thriving.
As you explore Ein Hod, you will come across shops selling artwork, jewellery, clothes, pottery, and more. If you visit the Ein Hod Gallery, you will find prints, photographs, glass and metal designs, ceramics, and more on display. Luckily, not all was lost in the fire, and historically important works can be found in the gallery together with works by contemporary artists.
While Ein Hod is primarily a village of visual artists, it doesn’t entirely ignore other art forms. There is an amphitheatre where concerts and shows are regularly put on, and some of Israel’s leading musicians have performed there, such as Shalom Hanoch, Ivri Lider, Mati Caspi and Kutiman. Furthermore, it isn’t unusual to find street theatre performances, and these can take many different forms.
Some of the galleries are truly surprising, such as the Nisco Museum of Mechanical Music. It is home to a huge collection of music boxes and strange instruments that the museum’s founder, Nisan Cohen, has collected from across the world. Visitors will see some truly amazing pieces that are truly unique.
Of course, it being Israel, there are plenty of places to eat as you explore the village. There is something for almost every taste, ranging from simple burgers and salads, to Argentinian food, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, and more.
Ein Hod is one of those places that could almost only exist in Israel. Be sure to pay at least one visit to this amazing village while on your gap year in Israel; we are sure that you won’t regret it.