Jerusalem is by no means the only biblically significant location in Israel. Southern Israel, for instance, not only awes visitors with the natural beauty of its landscape, but also offers an interesting combination of modern cities and well-preserved Biblical sites that make it an excellent travel destination. Here are some of the biblical sites in southern Israel you shouldn’t miss.
The City of Be’er Sheva (also known as Be’er Sheba)
Located in the Negev Desert southeast of Tel Aviv, the city of Be’er Sheva is the sixth largest in Israel. In the Book of Genesis, Be’er Sheva appears as the site of God’s revelations to the patriarchs, and symbolizes the southern boundary of Israel. Today, visitors can admire old remains from the 11th to the 12th centuries BC, including a deep well that belonged to the Tribe of Simon, most of which were excavated in the early 1970s. Known as Tel Be’er Sheva, the archaeological site highlights the city’s long history and rich heritage. It should also be noted that the city is home to the Ben Gurion University, named after the prime minster of Israel.
The Biblical site of Mamre, sometimes referred to as the Terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, after a chief who helped rescue Lot from his kidnappers, is the place where Abraham set up his tents and raised a shrine to pray. It is also here that he learned of Sarah’s pregnancy with Isaac. In 2010, Mamre reopened to Jewish visitors after being closed to them for more than 20 years.
The Sea Port Ashkelon
Dating back to the Bronze Age according to some sources, the coastal city of Ashkelon appears in the Bible as one of the major cities of the Philistines, together with Gaza, Ekmor, and Gath. The city used to belong to Judah’s tribe, but over the years it was conquered by outsiders many times. Today, visitors to Ashkelon can admire not only the city itself, but the six national forests and parks nearby. Several other minor biblical sites are in the region as well.
There is so much to see and admire in southern Israel that it can be difficult for travelers to schedule their trip. If you want to see southern Israel but are not quite sure where to get started, we can help you structure your trip so that you won’t miss any of the major Biblical sites in this beautiful region. Contact us to find out more.