Whatever the word Latrun signifies is secondary, however its dominant position on the road to Jerusalem makes this site a strategic location for controlling the Holy City. Some of the bloodiest battles from Biblical times to the establishment modern of Israel have been fought in its soil. Today, Latrun is also an important Christian site, mainly because of the famous Trappist Monastery and the city of Emmaus in its vicinity (where according to New Testament, Jesus appeared to two of His disciples after resurrection, Luke 24:13) . The other major attractions in Latrun include the Israeli Armored Corps Museum and the Mini Israel Park. The Armored Corps Museum or Yad La Shiriyon (in Hebrew) is a British fort, turned into a tank museum and a memorial for Israel’s fallen soldiers. Mini Israel is a miniature model of the whole Israel depicted in 1:25 scale. Opened in 2002, the park consists of 350 buildings, 30,000 figures, 500 animals, plants and 15,000 trees, 4,700 cars, 100 motorbikes, 14 trains, 3 helicopters, 32 aircraft, 175 ships and 230 trucks all incorporated in the most accurate proportion and scale (data from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latrun).
I have been hearing for a long time about the Trappist Monastery of Latrun, its silent monks, vineyards, olive orchards and the fabulous Ayalon valley. Recently I happened to know from a friend that one can easily reach Latrun through public transport. Courtesy my friend; I started by 7.15 am from campus, took the Egged bus 470 from Beer Sheva at 8.15 am to Jerusalem and got down at Latrun stop around 9.30 am. After visiting all the sites mentioned above (except for the Mini Israel Park) returned campus at 4 pm through Egged 470 from Latrun (1.45 pm).