Beit Guvrin - Maresha National Park

About this place

Beit Guvrin became the primary settlement in the area, as we learn from the writings of Roman historian Josephus Flavius. The city continued to thrive as a Roman ruled Jewish city until the destruction of the Second Temple (70 AD) and the Bar-Kochva Revolt (132-35 AD). Under the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus the city became Eleutheropolis and was declared a “city of freemen” and became a municipality. 

The Byzantine period saw Christian churches built in Beit Guvrin and under the following Muslim rule most of the caves were created. During the Crusader period the Byzantine St. Anne’s Church was rebuilt (1136 AD). Each of these civilizations has left their mark. The site can be visited at any time of the year although in the spring you can see the blossoming wild flowers. Expect to spend about 1.5-2 hours here. The park is open April to September 08:00-17:00 and October to March 08:00-16:00. The trail and picnic areas are wheelchair accessible. For more details check-out the Israel Nature and Parks Authority website.

We will visit the Bell Cave, which is hard surfaced rock quarried downward in the shape of the bell. We also see here rock inscriptions from the early Arab era from the seventh to the tenth era.  We continue to the Sidon Cave (a series of impressive burial caves with rock paintings, that throw light on the lifestyle and artistic craft styles of the Hellenistic period. Continue to the Roman Theater where gladiator fights took place in the sand arena.

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