Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park in Jerusalem

The Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park in Jerusalem covers around 1,250 acres of rolling hills in the Judean Lowlands. The hills, which are roughly 400 meters above sea level, are primarily composed of chalk covered with a harder rock called the “Nari”.  It has a thin layer that could be use as roofs for caves.  The thick layer of soft limestone below is easy to dig. Hundreds of caves were dug in its surroundings causing uneven intricacy. Aside from digging caves, they were able to make burial dovecotes, hideouts, burial caves, quarries, industrial amenities and storerooms.

During the Crusader period, Bet Guvrin was an influential city.  Beit Jubrin, an Arab village was created among its remains and was neglected in 1948 during the War of Independence in Israel.

Bet Guvrin is found between Bet Shemesh and Kiryat Gat on route 35, parallel to kibbutz. Many wonderful sites can be seen in the park. Some of the must-see caves include the bell caves, which were quarried downward in a shape of a bell, the maze cave that has a structure of around 30 interconnected caves, the Columbarium cave used for raising doves. The Sidonian burial caves which were from the Hellenistic period that highlights the restructure of wall paintings located at the base of Tel Maresha is also impressive. The Roman Amphitheater is definitely a place you should visit.  It was originally built for gladiator fights to entertain people. Guests could see the seat of the ruler, the arena and the area where the wild animals appear.

You can bring a car to reach most of the sites. Using a map, the places are very easy to locate.  Marked trails are found through the park.  Lots of climbing and walking are involved; therefore, it is not accessible for wheelchairs.

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