DISCOVER BEER SHEVA
Beer Sheva - the capital of southern Israel, the capital of the desert, places associated with Abraham's history, the Old City, the Negev Museum of Art, Allenby Park, and the Bedouin Bazaar.
Beer Sheva ("well of the oath") is a city in southern Israel where, according to the Bible, Abraham dug a well to water his flocks and, with an oath, confirmed his alliance with Abimelech, king of Gerar. Since 2005, the city has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are two versions of the historical well's location: one of them - the so-called "well of Abraham" - became official, but many researchers still believe that Abraham and Abimelech met on the territory of a mound near the city's eastern border. The second well is deeper than the first...
Abraham (and later Isaac) dug wells here, according to the Bible; here Abraham allied with Abimelech, king of Gerar, sacrificing seven sheep as a sign of loyalty. Both of these events are responsible for the name "Beer Sheva." There is now a museum on the site of the legendary well. Beer Sheva is in the Northern Negev, 81 kilometers from Jerusalem, 115 kilometers from Tel Aviv, and 240 kilometers from Eilat. If we count the city's age from its first mention in written sources, namely the Torah, it is around 3700 years old.
"Beer Abraham" ("Abraham's well") is located near the city's historic center, at the intersection of Keren ha-Kaemet and Derech Hebron streets. A tamarisk tree stands next to the well in memory of Abraham's tree, which was planted here.
In the archaeological world, Beer Sheva is also known for two unique ivory figurines from the Eneolithic period discovered on the banks of the Beer Sheva stream, indicating that they existed nearly 2000 years before Abraham appeared on the historical stage.
The importance of the city's location in ancient times was decisive. Beer Sheva, on the other hand, has always been on the border between settled settlements and the desert, with a symbiotic relationship between nomads and shepherds. So, from Abraham's time to the present, Beer Sheva has served as a transportation hub, controlling the roads to the Red Sea, Egypt, and Palestine. As a result, bloody battles erupted from century to century for control of this critical strategic point. Both the Egyptians and the Romans, as well as the Byzantines and the Crusaders, shed blood here. Endless wars did not help Beer Sheva's population growth, and the city ceased to exist in the 13th century. However, during the Turkish rule in 1900, Beersheba began to be rebuilt as the administrative center for Palestine's southern territories. During the bloody battles, troops of the British Empire led by General Allenby drove the Turks out of Beersheba in 1917, and there is now a cemetery in the city for Australian soldiers who died in the battles (Beersheba was taken by units formed from the inhabitants of the British dominions). The British Empire left Palestine in 1948, and Beersheba became part of Israel during the Israeli War of Independence.
Excursions around Beer Sheva introduce you to the history of the city and are called "Our ancestor Abraham" and "Beer Sheva, ancient and modern." They cover the period from the time of Abraham to the rise of the state of Israel. The route "From Beer Sheva to Haran" was developed jointly with the Turkish Embassy. The long route through Arad, Beersheba, Jerusalem, and Hebron is called the "Land of Abraham".
Going on a tour of the ancient synagogues, you can get acquainted with the customs of life of different religious communities. The peculiarities of the attitude to water in the desert formed the basis of the “Wells of Beer Sheva” route. During the tour, you can see wells from different eras. The Art Center for Ethiopian Jews can be visited on a guided tour of the Child of the Queen of Sheba. The tour includes a meeting with a child from the community.
In ancient times, there was a Jewish city on the Beer Sheva hill, as evidenced by the remains of buildings on the mountain. Tourists can scoop water from the well and try to make stones from the mud for construction, as they did in ancient times.
The mosque, built-in 1906 by the second governor Asif Bey, has a unique history. The funds allocated by the authorities for the construction were insufficient. This was due to local contractors who fled with the money. Asif Bey introduced a special tax for local tribes of 400 lire and hired new contractors from Jerusalem. For the completion of the construction, the governor received an award and a promotion. The beauty of the mosque contrasted with the provincial look of the city, and back in 1946, this mosque was the main mosque in the Negev. The Negev Museum of Art is located in the former home of the second governor Asif Bey.
Allenby Park: Over a century of history, this one of Israel's oldest public parks has silently witnessed many dramatic events. The monument to General Edmund Allenby installed in it is one of the main attractions of old Beer Sheva.
The first attempt to organize a park on this site dates back to the early twentieth century, shortly after the city was founded by the Ottoman authorities. In 1906, trees were planted and paths were marked by the order of the mayor of Asif Bey at the house of the ruler (now it is occupied by the police). Unguarded green spaces quickly trampled herds of sheep and goats, and the park fell into disrepair.
In 1915, by order of the Turkish governor in Palestine, Cemal Pasha, the park began to be restored. This time it was decided to follow all the rules of landscape gardening, and Jewish gardeners, graduates of the Mikve Israel school, were involved in the landscaping work.
The new park was a wooded rectangle with a marble pillar in the center. Four paths connected by a circular alley led to the memorial dedicated to the victories of the Turks over the British in Gaza (March-April 1917). The park was guarded by a watchman who drove away livestock and hunters for scarce wood. The defeat in Gaza led to a change in command of the British forces, led by General Edmund Henry Allenby (1861-1936). Under his leadership, a new offensive was prepared against the positions of the Turkish army, and on October 31, 1917, Beer Sheva was occupied by the Australian cavalry. Having opened the way for the British to Jerusalem, the Battle of Beersheba largely predetermined the course of hostilities in this sector of the front.
A few years after the operation, the British decided to erect a memorial bust of Allenby, who by that time had been elevated to the rank of field marshal. Since then, the park has been named "Allenby Park".
Allenby Park is located at the crossroads of Herzl and Haatzmaut Streets. For nonresidents arriving by train or bus: from the station square, go behind the building of the "HaNegev Canyon" shopping center to the Eli Cohen intersection, then turn to Herzl Street.
In addition to the listed attractions of Beer Sheva itself, it is important to remember that the city serves as a convenient starting point for tourist trips to places such as Yatir Forest and Lahav Forest, the crater region and the Negev Mountains, the Dead Sea, the Arava Desert, and Bedouin villages.
For such a tourist pleasure, it is worth staying in Beer Sheva for at least one day (or several days) to return to the comfort of a modern city after rich impressions of the trip.
So, if you have decided on a profound acquaintance with the capital of the Israeli south - Beer Sheva and other historical and tourist sites in the area, check out the possibilities of staying in city hotels. For example, one of them:
Hotel Golden Tulip Negev 4 * (ex. Paradise Negev Hotel) (Golden Tulip Negev 4 *) - is located in the city center, in the heart of the capital of the Negev - Beer Sheva. The modern twelve-story marble building, connected to the shopping complex, is located next to the University. Ben Gurion and the city's new shopping center. The hotel provides excellent facilities for recreation and entertainment. Golden Tulip Negev, provides first-class services and has great advantages that will not go unnoticed by guests.
In general, you can find all the details about recreation, excursions, and new attractions in the new information center recently opened in the Old City of Beer Sheva: Sheva, in particular.
Center opening hours: Sunday - Thursday from 8:00 to 16:00, Friday - Saturday - from 10:00 to 14:00. Details by phone: 08-6464900
The old town in Beer Sheva will also be of interest to vacationers. It was built in the 19th century by Turkish and German architects.
The Negev Museum is home to an art collection. Ben Gurion University has two art galleries and a history museum. The Israel Air Force Museum exhibits aircraft models from various countries, many of which are still in service. Abraham's Well is a popular tourist destination. A trip to the Bedouin bazaar will be fascinating. It has been held since the Ottoman Empire's days. Today, the bazaar is open every Thursday beginning early in the morning. The city zoo, which is the largest in the south of Israel, will pique the interest of children.
The ruins of an ancient city from the 10th century BC are located on the Tel Sheva hill, 15 kilometers from Beer Sheva. The Tel-Beer-Sheva National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) has now been established on this site. Beer Sheva was a major Canaanite and later Jewish trading post on the caravan route from Palestine to Arabia. The sanctuary of God, built by Isaac, as well as hydraulic structures, the ruins of a Roman fortress, and a pagan temple, have all been preserved here. There was a massive palace on the hill during King Herod's reign.
It is also worth taking a walk around the Old Town. The restored Smilansky Street is full of old buildings, shops, restaurants, and bars.
5 km west of Beersheba is the Israel Air Force Museum (tel: + 972-7-906428, fax: + 972-7-906314), which displays Israeli air force aircraft from different times. Working hours: 8: 00-17: 00, Fri 8: 00-13: 00, Sat - day off.
The Negev Museum, which is housed in the residence of the Turkish governor in the Old City, has an interesting collection of works of art. The Negev Brigade memorial, built to commemorate the brigade that captured Beersheba during the War of Independence, is located on a hill to the west of the city. A magnificent view of the city and its surroundings opens up from here.
In Negev's capital, a new City Park was recently opened. As part of the city improvement project, this is yet another wonderful gift to the residents and visitors of Beer Sheva. The mayor of Beer Sheva, Rubik Danilovich, the vice-mayor, lawyer Igor Ovshievich, and the famous American philanthropist Larry Goodman, who provided financial support for the park's creation, all attended the opening. In Sderot Rager, opposite the municipality, is an islet of greenery and sparkling water. The fountains shimmer in various colors and shades in the evening, creating a spectacular show.