Sometimes it’s difficult to create a trip which appeals both to young and old. One of the best places in Israel which appeals to all is Beit Guvrin – Maresha National Park. This area has a very long history and has seen many cultures come and go.
Maresha was originally a Judean city during the First Temple period (10th – 6th century BCE) and nearby Beit Guvrin was inhabited during the Second Temple Period (late 6th century BCE) and even into the Middle Ages. The site is mentioned in the Bible in connection to King Solomon’s son and heir - “And Rehoboam...built cities for defense in Judah...Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph” (2 Chron. 11:5-8).
The area was inhabited by Jews, Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines and the Christian Crusaders of course.
What makes Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park a fun place to visit is all the caves, and there are all kinds - there are very large caves where pigeons were kept, caves where people were buried decorated with amazing artwork, caves where olive presses were used to make oil and caves for storage. Some of the most impressive caves however are what are known as Bell Caves – huge man-made caves. What were they used for – we’ll I can’t give away everything – you’ll just have to come on a tour and find out for yourselves.
And that’s not all. The Romans built a fortress here, a mini-colosseum for gladiator fights even a Roman bath for their soldiers. Next door are the remains of a Crusader Church which was later turned into a mosque!
If you want to get your hands dirty (and probably everything else) you can participate in a program called
“Dig for a Day” where for a couple of hours, you join up with others to help excavate caves yet unexplored – this is great for kids of all ages. Everyone finds something when sifting through the material dug up.
So, if you are looking for some adventure, let me take you to this great site.