Bet Guvrin Things to Do

  • The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin
    The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin
    by iblatt
  • The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin
    The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin
    by iblatt
  • The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin
    The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin
    by iblatt

Most Recent Things to Do in Bet Guvrin

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    The Tel

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 12, 2011

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    In the center of the area of ancient Maresha you will find the Tel, a fortified mountain. There are ruins of towers and protective walls. On the Tel you have a great view over the region towards the Hebron Mountains. Like much in the park also these structures date back to the 3rd to 2nd century BCE.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Tel, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Tel, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Tel, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Tel, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Garden Cave

    by gubbi1 Updated Mar 12, 2011

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    The Garden Cave is a combination of a cave with a yard in which you will find fruit plants.
    Unfortunately this cave has no desciption on the flyer that is handed out when entering the park. You will not be able to enter the cave, but walk through the inner yard. Have a look at the photos which I took here in the yard.
    Have a look here where you step, I am not sure about snakes.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Garden Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Garden Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Garden Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Garden Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Garden Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Church of 'Sandahanna'

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 12, 2011

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    Originally the church was named with the latin name 'Santa Anna', which was mispronounced 'Sandahanna' in Arabic. This became the Arabic name of the ancient Maresha in Arabic. The church was built during the Byzantine periode and later renovated by the crusaders, but as you see only a part has remained. You will be able to see these remains already from far, while walking from cave to cave.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Santa Anna, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Santa Anna, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Santa Anna, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Santa Anna, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Santa Anna, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Sidonian Burial Caves

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 12, 2011

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    Not only during the life people used their caves, but also for the dead there were caves in which they got burried. The formally beautifully decorated Sidonian Burial Caves have several tomb niches. In one of the two caves (item 8) many paintings and an inscription have been restored. It is fascinating to see what kind of animals are shown here. There are lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes and other.
    In the other cave (item 9) two nice paintings with musicians have been restored.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Sidonian Burial Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Sidonian Burial Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Sidonian Burial Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Sidonian Burial Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Sidonian Burial Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Underground System

    by gubbi1 Updated Mar 12, 2011

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    The most impressive caves in ancient Maresha are in my opinion hidden at the item 7 of the parks sites. It is a whole underground system of rooms and cisterns with a columbarium and an olive oil plant. The path you follow leads through small openings and iron bridges through the caves. Partly I had the feeling that I got lost as no end was in sight, so much is to see here. In former times these different cave rooms where seperate dwellings and not interconnected. The underground system originates from the 3rd to the 2nd century BCE.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Underground System, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Underground System, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Underground System, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Underground System, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Underground System, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Dwelling House

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 10, 2011

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    The Dwelling House are ruins of a building that was used as dwelling and trade place in the Hellenistic Periode. Originally it had two floors. Below you can descent to the cisterns, which you will surely find impressive due to their size. Walking through them you will pass through a hole in the wall leading to a neighboring cave that was used as a storage.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Dwelling House and cisterns, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Dwelling House and cisterns, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Dwelling House and cisterns, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Dwelling House and cisterns, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Dwelling House and cisterns, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Bath Cave

    by gubbi1 Updated Mar 10, 2011

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    The Bath Cave consists of two small rooms in which people could take a shower. A hole in the wall with a small channel transports the water from a neighboring room into the shower. This allows to keep distance between the bather and the person taking the shower. It is believed that the Bath Cave was used in rituals. More than twenty caves like this have been discovered in the ancient Maresha.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Bath Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Bath Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Bath Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Bath Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Bath Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Olive Oil Plant

    by gubbi1 Updated Mar 10, 2011

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    In cave 5 you will find an olive oil plant. Olive oil was a major income source in the ancient town of Maresha. About 22 olive oil plants have been discovered in Mareshas underground sofar. It is quite impressive to see what people have constructed into these caves.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Olive Oil Plant, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Olive Oil Plant, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Olive Oil Plant, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Olive Oil Plant, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Olive Oil Plant, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Columbarium Cave

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 9, 2011

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    Pigeons were an important good in the ancient times. They supplied meat, eggs and fertilizer (dung), but were also used for religious purposes. To keep them, columbariums were built giving space to them to lay eggs and to bring up their small ones. The Columbarium Cave with its 2000 niches is the largest columbarium found in Israel. It is built like a double-cross and was used to hold pigeons until the end of the 3rd century BCE. Afterwards it was used as storage.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Columbarium Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Columbarium Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Columbarium Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Columbarium Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Polish Cave

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 9, 2011

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    This cave received its name as during the Second World War in 1943 Polish soldiers visited the place and cut the words 'Warsaw, Poland' with the Polish eagle into a pillar of the cave. Originally the cave was a water cistern made during the 4th to 3rd century, then later converted into a columbarium in which pigeons were hold.

    Get to the Parks webpage here...

    Polish Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Polish Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Polish Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Polish Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Polish Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Bell Caves in the Beit Guvrin National Park

    by iblatt Written Apr 15, 2009

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    The ancient city of Beit Guvrin existed between the late-Hellenistic period and the late-Byzantine period. The ruins are located within the Beit-Guvrin - Maresha National Park.

    The Bell-shaped caves are man-made quarries, dug during the Byzantine and early Islamic periods. The workers first dug a narrow hole in the hard nari rock layer, and soon reached the soft chalk layer. They then dug deeper and deeper while widening the base of the cave. This led to the formation of Bell-shaped caves, with a narrow opening in their ceilings.

    On a hot summer day it is pleasantly cool inside the caves, and the sun entering through the small hole in the ceiling creates interesting light and shade effects.
    You can still note the marks of the carving tools in the walls.

    The ceilings of some of the caves have collapsed over the centuries, creating open spaces surrounded by white chalk walls with interesting shapes. A paved path (also suitable for disabled people) connects these ancient caves and leads to the larger bell cave.

    The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin The Bell cave path in Beit Guvrin Bell cave in Beit Guvrin Bell cave in Beit Guvrin
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  • Bregman's Profile Photo

    Beit Guvrin National Park

    by Bregman Updated Aug 5, 2006

    This national park has hundreds of caves, some used for human dwellings 3000 years ago. For centuries, the locals took advantage of the soft chalk rock in the area and dug hundreds of caves for different uses such as: storage, burial place, columbarium, shelter, etc.

    Nowadays some of the bigger bell caves are used for weddings and other events.

    The main sites of the parks are:

    Bell Caves - A series of 80 big caves, some are more than 15 metres high. The builders made a little hole in the hard rock of the surface, about 2 metres deep, and then continued digging into the soft rock below, expanding as they went down to create a bell shaped cave.

    Sidonian Caves - Hellenistic burial caves from 2nd-3rd centuries B.C. The wall paintings of the caves were restored.

    Columbarium - As the names suggests this cave was used for growing pigeons. It is built in the shape of a double cross.

    Columbarium Bell Cave Beit Guvrin Sidonian Cave
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  • Beit Govrin National Park

    by oshatz Updated Nov 10, 2004

    Beit Govrin National Park is situated in the Judean plain region. The area consists of limestone hills, a soft stone comparatively, which enables easy quarrying. Due to the softness of the rock, many caves were carved in the surrounding hills in the course of the years, transforming it into a mysterious underground labyrinth.

    Bell Cave
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    Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park

    by Jackiekg Written Jun 19, 2004

    Bet Guvrin National Park is on the Beit Shemesh-Kiryat Gat road opposite Kibbutz Bet Guvrin. (Also spelt 'Beit Govrin')

    This photo was taken inside "The Polish Cave" one of the numerous caves in this National Park. It was given this name by visitors because in 1942 this cave was visited by Andres soldiers of the Polish army and they carved the words 'Warsaw' and 'Poland' on the column. Notice the niches carved out for pigeons who were breed for food and their droppings used for fertilizer. History in this Park goes back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C.E.

    The Polish Cave
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    Bet Guvrin, Bell Caves, Part 2

    by Martin_S. Written Nov 22, 2012

    A few more photos of the Bell Caves to give you an idea of the diversity of colors and shapes. The last photo here shows very clearly the bell shape.

    Bell Caves of Bet Guvrin, Israel Bell Caves of Bet Guvrin, Israel Bell Caves of Bet Guvrin, Israel Bell Caves of Bet Guvrin, Israel Bell Caves of Bet Guvrin, Israel
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