"Bet Guvrin (Jerusalem Hills)" Israel Things to Do Tip by leffe3

Israel Things to Do: 781 reviews and 1,392 photos

Bet Guvrin National Park is located where the Judean hills meet the coastal plain. Soft limestone rock of the area enabled caves to be carved into the rock, providing a unique underground water storage system to be developed which facilitated civilisation to prosper.

Bet Guvrin is the most important site (there are many similar places dotted round the locale). Its height was the Hellenistic period of 4th century BC, when it was known as Tel Maresha. Carved caves for water storage and amazing underground dovecotes are still to be found (doves were raised for rituals and their droppings used as fertiliser). Lack of the remains of outter buildings, other than dividing walls and small wall-niches, suggest that there no outter buildings, and that the people also lived underground.

The city was destroyed in 40 BC and replaced by the Aramaic town of Bet Guvrin ('House of Men'). More carving of caves followed, creating an underground network of workshops and homes. Also on the site are beautiful wall paintings inside the Sidonese burial chambers of Tel Maresha. Thus, at first sight, there seems, with the exeption of the view, little to see.

Opening times: 8am - 5pm (April - September): 8am - 4pm (October - March)

Entry fees: NIS 23 (children NIS 12).

Directions: On Route 35 between Bet Shemesh and Kiryat Gat
Phone: (07) 681-1020 or (07) 681-2957
Website: http://www.parks.org.il/ParksENG/company_card.php3?NewNameMade=45&from=116&CNumber=509499

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 23, 2006
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