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

Best Rated Things to Do in Bet Guvrin

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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.

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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.

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    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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    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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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    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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    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.

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    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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    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.

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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.

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    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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    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.

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    Bell Caves round walk

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 12, 2011

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    The Bell caves can be visited on a roundwalk that leads you through a beautiful landscape formed by rocks of lime stone. The footpath starts at the parking of the Bell Caves. The landscape itself (probably almost completely former lime stone quarries) is worth to come here. From the path you have access to the impressive Bell Caves.
    The parking is off the area of the ancient Maresha, so to come here you will need to repark you car!

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    Bell Cave Complex 1

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 12, 2011

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    There are two main complexes of Bell Caves here in the park. The first complex is not as accessible as the second, but already gives an idea of the massive size of these ancient lime stone quarries. For much of this complex the access is blocked due to the stability of the lime stone structures. Metal bars have been deployed to stabilize the rock, but you will also pass collapsed caves.

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    Bell Cave Complex 2

    by gubbi1 Updated Mar 12, 2011

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    The second complex of the Bell Caves is accessible and will amaze you with its size. Before arriving here I though the Bell Caves are smaller holes in the ground of maybe 4 or five meters in height and maybe 4 meters wide, but I haven't imagined such huge structures in which people almost 'disappear'. There are branches of footpathes leading you through these wide caves. You will learn why these quarries have become shaped as they are. At the beginning only a hole was made in the ground. From it the limestone was taken. Once the people got deeper in the ground they started to take the limestone in a circular way. Bringing the stones up to the surface was done by using ropes. With increasing deepness the diameter became larger and larger giving it this typical bell shape. The method had the advantage that the quarries were relatively stable, the people stayed in shade and the limestone did not dry out. The limestone was used in the region aswell as in Bet Guvrin itself.
    Most of the caves that you will find now have a height of about 14 meters, the highest has 25 meters!

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    Inscriptions --- Allah

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 12, 2011

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    In the Bell Caves you will see several inscriptions on the walls that are very old. Some of them are high up on the walls, some quite easily reachable.
    One inscription shows the word 'Allah' in arabic. A sign will show you the place.

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    Allah in Bell Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Allah in Bell Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Allah in Bell Cave, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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    Inscriptions --- Christian Symbols

    by gubbi1 Written Mar 12, 2011

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    Beside some arabic inscriptions you will also find several christian symbols on the walls. Some look like that the places were used for religious purposes. Unfortunately there are no signs regarding the history of these inscriptions, but maybe nothing is known.

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    Rosette in Bell Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Rosette in Bell Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Cross in Bell Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Cross in Bell Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL Cross in Bell Caves, Bet Guvrin NP, IL
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