"Iris Hill" National Park is located at the southern part of the coastal city Netanya, one of the most popular Mediterranean Resorts in Israel, situated 20 miles to the North from Tel Aviv.
Like many other today' famous and popular places in Israel, Netanya' history started as almost a bad joke! The city was established in 1929 by a tiny group of the young immigrants from Russia. These people had lots of zeal and enthusiasm but no money. And so, they approached a New-York multi-millionaire and a famous Zionist, Nathan Straus, who was also a nephew of Levi Straus "the jeans".
Nathan Straus told them that he would be ready to sponsor the new town if it is called by his name. And the young people happily registered the new town as "Netanya". Straus was happy but still refused to spend a cent, but it was too late, and the name of the town was preserved. This is how the cornerstones of the first 10 houses were laid in later 1929.
Today Netanya is a prosperous city of almost 220,000 people, and atill it also has two National Parks within the city limits.
New Neighborhood of Netanya and Iris Hill
One of these parks is called Dora pool. This is one of the largest and most famous pools in Israel and it has been beautifully preserved. Another one is called "Iris Hill", and this is a place we shall talk about.
One of over 400 National parks of Israel, which altogether protect more than 2,500 species of indigenous wild plants, Iris Hill is famous for its beautiful Coastal Irises flowers.
Coastal or Dark-Purple Iris is a protected flowering plant with so called showy flowers, which attract animals and insects to carry out the pollination. Iris takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species.
Coastal Iris at Iris Hill
And indeed, the spectacular colors and unusual shapes of the Coastal Iris attract thousands of visitors daily, during the blossom period in March. The striking purple color is a dominant feature of the Coastal Iris, though its varieties may include pink, red and even black, and a yellow mutation (missing its red pigment.
The site is relatively small, about 50 acres in all, and it's a very pleasant place for a flower walk. During the blossom period, the whole area of the sea-side dunes is covered by the dense and tremendously beautiful carpet of the irises and different other flowers.
The beauty of the flowers at the Iris Hill National Park
Sandy walking paths cross the Reserve in different directions to permit the best view of the flowers. Along the paths posters with the descriptions of different plants are installed. This is done to ensure that the visitors will not only enjoy the flowers but will also know them better.
Iris Hill is beautifully located at the top of the sea-side cliffs and is surrounded by the new residential neighborhoods of Netanya from three other sides. This harmonious combination of the nature and modern life is the best example of a combined preservation and development program of which Israel is so proud.