Tel Bet She'an has been excavated over the past twenty years and is, in our opinion, worth the detour.
The city had good access to water and was near a crossing place on the Jordan River - still used. The uncovered city centre has some fine remains of baths, market, public buildings, temples and roads. Most of it is byzantine; there are remains of christian churches found. The city - dating from the stone age and in the 12th century BC an outpost of Egypt - was destroyed by an earth quake in de 8th century. Perhaps because the river also changed course, the city was not rebuild. Now it is sometimes as if the quake was yesterday.
Main visits: the baths, the round market places (?) with mosaiques, the streets with columns, the theatre and - very good views and an egyptian stele - the mountain.
The excavations & restoration of the Roman city at Bet Shean is one of the best we've seen anywhere. The streets & theater are perfectly retored.
The Greek goddess of fortune Tyche. This mosaic was actually stolen from the sites. It was found in pieces and needed to be assemlbled back.
Earthquakes destroyed most of Beit Shean, then called Scythopolis in 749CE. These photos graphically show some of the destruction. Floors upheaved, things tumbling this over that, columns toppled and looking like the local bowling alley of the GODS.
Fondest memory: The last photo shows me at Beit Shean with my partner in travel "crime", my wife Zohara. She is often kind enough to suffer through a day scrambling through ancient ruins, even though she does not enjoy it so much, to let me satisfy my hunger for history.
Favorite thing: The Sigma is a semi-circular area with shops or rooms on one side. Many of the rooms are decorated with mosaics and tiles with geometric shapes, animals and even one of Tyche the guardian goddess of this city. What the use of the rooms or shops were is not explained.
The main street where everything came together, the "center" of town, the Broadway of Beit Shean.
Palladius was the name of the governor of the area and the story goes that the archeologists found an inscription telling about construction during his term, so they named the street after him.