Bet She`arim Travel Guide

  • Bet She`arim
    by mindcrime
  • view over Zezreel valley
    view over Zezreel valley
    by mindcrime
  • Things to Do
    by mindcrime

Bet She`arim Things to Do

  • Beit She’arim National Park

    Next to the town is Beit She’arim National Park, an interesting archeological site of an ooold Jewish necropolis (Besara in Ancient Greek) from the roman period with more than 30 ancient rock-cut jewish tombs, they are carved out of soft limestone. There’s a footpath that connects many different caves with some of them open to the public where you...

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  • Alexander Zaid monument

    At the top of Beit She’arim is the Alexander Zaid monument. Alexander Zaid (1886-1938) was born in Siberia but moved to Ottoman Palestine in 1904 when thousands of jews from Russian Empire immigrated there. Three years later was one of the founders of the jewish clandestine and in 1909 a founder of the defense organization Hashomer to protect...

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  • Alexander Zaid's Monument

    On a hill overlooking the Jezreel Valley stands a statue of a bold, muscular young man mounted on his horse. He seems alert and ready for action, inspecting the vast valley with his eyes. This is the statue of Alexander Zaid (1886-1936), a legendary figure in recent Israeli history.He was born in Siberia in 1886 and immigrated to the Land of Israel...

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  • The Most Important Ancient Necropolis

    During the 3rd and 4th centuries AD Beit-She'arim was a very desirable place to get buried in: a thriving town which used to be the seat of the Sanhedrin (the Council of the Elders), where the great Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nassi, who compiled the Mishna (codex of Jewish laws) chose to be buried.As a result, a magnificent necropolis was built in...

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  • The Ancient Synagogue

    Ancient Beit-She'arim was a thriving Jewish community between the second and fourth centuries AD. On the hill, above the famous necropolis, you will find the remains of the town's synagogue right next to the road.Arches, walls, capitals all attest to the former glory of this synagogue and this community.The site is always accessible, 24 hours a...

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  • Cave of the Coffins

    This is the largest of the excavated caves in the National Park. It is 75 meters in length and width with many rooms branching off the main corridors. You will find very beautifully decorated coffins. These decorations mainly show animals like bulls, eagles and fishes. There are several coffins with inscriptions, many refering to Rabbis. I enjoyed...

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  • Cave of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi

    In this cave you will find the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi which turned the site of Bet Shearim into the important burial cave town. On the way to the grave of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi you will pass tombs of other Rabbis. There were candles burning in the cave and I decided to wait a little as I heard a woman praying in the chamber of Yehuda Hanassis...

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  • Cave of the Ascents

    This cave structure has twelve rooms all together. It is built quite impressively into a narrow rock gap and has two levels. There are several inscriptions around the cave of which one says in Hebrew: 'This is the last resting place of Yodan son of Levy, Levy is in Eternity, at peace, may the grave remain worthy of Yodan son of Levy'.It is possible...

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  • The Lulavim Cave

    This is the cave of the Lulavim, which means plam branch referring to engraved palm branches on the wall inside of the cave. There is an inscription on the lintel of the door which says: 'Lord, remember Thy servant Sarcadus'. It is possible to go inside the cave, which is pretty dark.

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  • Cave of the Lone Sarcophagus

    The Cave of the Lone Sarcophagus had a front wall with an arch. As original plan the cave was a coffin burial, but arcades were added and more burial places hewn into the rock. One decorated coffin was found in the cave. There is an opening on the right of the cave from where you can look down into the Cave of the Coffins.

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  • Sarah's Cave

    Above one of the doors there is an inscription in greek: 'The burial place of Theodosia, also called Sarah, from Tyre'. The name shows Phoenician origins.

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  • The Mausoleum

    The 'Mausoleum' are the remains of a squared building which served as a foundation for a stone memorial.

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  • Structure of Benches

    This structure of benches is located ontop of the 'Cave of the Coffins'. It served as a meeting place to commemorate the dead.

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  • Unexcavated Cave

    The Unexcavated Cave has a broken door, which indicates that grave robbery took place here. These stone doors are typical here.

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  • Large Cistern

    The cistern ('Large Cistern') served as burial site. Many vesels made of glass and pottery were found here aswell as coins from Byzantine periode.

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  • Cave of Itzak Zaira son of Shimon

    The 'Cave of Itzak Zaira Son of Shimon' is said to be a typical group of tombs for Bet Shearim. It has a courtyard which is reached by stairs and has 4 rectangular tombs. The facade has a stone door imitating a wooden door.

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  • Burial Coffin Detail - Writing (ancient...

    Here in this picture you can see some ancient Hebrew, the letters are read from right to left, so at the far right the first letter is Kuf, the second is Yud and the third is Resh....the other two I could not make out so I am not sure what is written here, the name of the person who was at one time buried here or a name of town or blessing.

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  • Burial Coffin Detail - Wreath?, Fruit...

    Here is what again looks like a simple U shaped wreath along with fruits and flowers...also you can see the abstract geometric design around the top of the coffin.

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  • Burial Coffin Detail - Wreath

    A simple design of a wreath, similar to what you can see on the doors of many people at holiday time in the USA.. I wonder if in addition to the Jewish burials here there were a few Christians who wanted to be buried near the Rabbi HaNanasi who was considered by many to be not only a religious scholar, but also at his death a holy man.

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  • Burial Coffin Detail - Fighting Animals

    Here again you can see what appears to be two styilized animals fighting, alligators, sea monsters or whatever, apparently over the item placed between them.

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  • Burial Coffin Detail - Two Boars

    The range and detail to be found at Beit Shariem is as different and varied as the people buried there. Here on the side of this burial coffin you can see what to me looks like two boars .

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Bet She`arim Transportation

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo
    road to Alexander Zaid monument 1 more image

    by mindcrime Written Feb 11, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beit-She’arim is located in the lower western Galilee near Kiryat Tiyvon on the main road to Nazareth, 100km N of Tel Aviv, 25km SE of Haifa, 20km W of Nazareth.

    By car
    Off road no. 75 between Hatishbi and Hashomrim junctions, on road 722, 10 minutes from the center of Kiryat Tivon.

    by bus
    Egged bus 826 from Tel Aviv to Nazareth or bus 301 from Haifa to Afula.

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Bet She`arim Off The Beaten Path

  • Martin_S.'s Profile Photo
    Alexander Zaid, Beit Shariem, Israel

    by Martin_S. Written Jul 1, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Alexander Zaid whose staute you see here was one of the originators of the group known as "The Guard" (HaShomer). This group was formed to protect the isolated and sparsely populated Jewish settlements here before the state of Israel was formed. These settlements were being constantly attacked by Moslem raiders from the surrounding towns and villages, the raiders were well armed and the Jewish settlements had almost NO arms. The Guards of Alexander Zaid saved many, many lives by providing a deterrent to these raiders. Here is what I found on the internet:

    Zaid, Alexander (1886-1938)
    Alexander Zaid, pioneer and founder of HaShomer, 1886-1938
    Born in Siberia, Alexander Zaid moved to Vilna at the age of 13 and subsequently joined the Zionist labor movement. In 1904 he was one of the first pioneers of the Second Aliyah to reach Eretz Yisrael, working in Rishon LeZion and Petah Tikvah. He was wounded by Arabs in Zikhron Ya'akov, and then moved to Jerusalem where he worked as a stonemason.
    In 1907, he was one of the founders of a secret defense organization which was at the originis of the HaShomer organization. HaShomer was established in Kfar Tavor in the Lower Galilee in 1909. He devoted himself to the organization until his death.

    In 1916, Zaid joined a group of HaShomer members who settled in Upper Galilee in what was to become Kfar Giladi. He stayed there for 10 years and then moved to nearby Tel Hai, and then to Sheikh Abrek in the Jezreel Valley to take charge of guarding the neighboring settlements for the Jewish National Fund. He was repeatedly faced with dangerous situations, but never abandoned his position, even when he was wounded by Arab rioters in 1932.
    He was killed by Arabs while he was on guard duty in 1938. A statue of Zaid on horseback with a commanding view of the Jezreel Valley was erected at nearby Givat Zaid.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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Bet She`arim Favorites

  • Beit Shariem - Sarcopagai room

    It was very interesting to see this room where the sarcopagai were still in the process of being cut from the material of the cave wall itself. As the cave was dug deeper and deeper, as more and more chambers were added, the workers would cut the sarcopagai out as they dug the caves. Then they only had to wait for someone to come along and die so...

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  • Beit Shariem - inside a burial cave

    Inside one of the burial caves you can see the "chamber" where the body was laid down in its final resting place. This is a period before the use of coffins and the size of the chiseled out "chamber" was determined by the actual size of the body to be placed there.

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  • Beit Shariem - Door detail, cave...

    Here you can see one of the burial caves that has not yet been excavated. The door has broken off its hinges and leans into the chamber. The chamber has, over time, become filled with debris all of which needs to be cleaned out during excavation.

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