In 2005, the Israeli Institute of Archaeology initiated a program for the development of Ancient Lod. Numerous organizations and individuals contributed to the formation of the program, among them the Ministry of Tourism, the Israeli Government Tourist Corporation, Architects Saadia Mandel and Giora Solar, and others.
The project is planned in three tiers:
• Development of an archaeological park
• Development of Tourism
• Development of the current urban landscape at ancient Lod
• Turning Lod into a significant tourist attraction in central Israel
• Utilize tourism to improve Lod’s reputation as a city by:
o Developing Various tourist attractions of an international standard
o Presenting Lod’s Historic and Archaeologic treasures
o Presenting Lod’s Centers for the three monotheistic religions
• Ensuring community involvement in the process to inspire local pride
• The community will be involved in all parts of the project including planning, execution, and managing.
• We will focus on social conservation as well as physical conservation
• Founding a sustainable management body for the ancient city
• Developing a modern park according to international standards
• Ensuring that the park will serve the people of Lod and blend organically into the urban fabric
• Developing an archaeological park, where excavations will be conducted for several months each year
• Receiving the rights to specific properties from the municipal authority to promote their development ?
• Generating a socio-economic growth for the local population.
• Inspection of open public spaces as well as private properties
• Density of the monuments in the landscape
• The monuments’ layout in the landscape
• Facilitating movement between the various tourist attractions
• Integration into the urban fabric
• Continuous neglect of the surrounding areas and lack of national investment in the city
• The city suffers from a negative reputation among its inhabitants and in the country at large
• Until recently the city suffered from an ongoing absence of local municipal leadership,
• As a result, the population distrusts the municipal and governing institutions
• Vandalism is common in the ancient city area
• Social conflicts between different sectors of the population
• The ancient city and its area are in a state of ruin (unlike Ramla)
All of the above hinders private investors and entrepreneurs
* St. George Church- a central site on the pilgrimage trail
* el-Omri Mosque- a Mamluk building, with ancient relics
* Synagogue- will be reconstructed and integrated into the park alongside the church and the mosque
* The Mosaics- with the generous donation of Mrs. Shelby White, a mosaic museum is to be constructed near the original location of the mosaic.
Additional mosaics are known to exist in the vicinity, thus a national mosaic park could be developed
* Khan al-Hilu- has the potential to become a commercial and/or a cultural center managed by private developers according to municipal guidelines. The building requires additional conservation and reconstruction work.
* The Hasuna Oil Press – has the potential to be used as a unique traditional technology center including a visitor’s center and a store selling products made in traditional techniques. The building requires additional conservation and reconstruction work.
* The Arches Building- could be developed as a restaurant. The building requires additional conservation and reconstruction work.
* Masbanat al-Far- could house a display of traditional soap production while the rest of the building could be used for commercial and cultural activities serving the visitors to the ancient city. The building requires additional conservation and reconstruction work.
* The Souq (weekly market)- will be housed in a roofed space that could be used for cultural activities when the souk is not active. Since Lod flourished during the roman period, we recommend including Roman forum elements into the Souq’s design.
* Restaurant alley- constructed with the architecture of the ancient city in mind
* Open Theatre – for the local population as well as the entire area
* Chicago Community Center – will be renovated and integrated in design and character with the ancient monuments and will preserve its vital role in the community. In addition, it will house an exhibition of archaeological finds from the area and the auditorium will be used to present displays and installations about Lod
* Open spaces – Archaeological work will be carried out in the open spaces throughout the year. Excavations will be conducted in collaboration with local schools as well as with students from Lod’s vicinity. New finds may be incorporated into the archaeological park while open areas will be left for public use.