Beer Sheva

History, vibrant nightlife, and a unique young atmosphere, in the southern multicultural city of Beer Sheva, a great off-the-beaten-path city to visit.
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Beer Sheva: capital of the desert

Beer Sheva, the biggest city in Southern Israel, offers visitors a great opportunity to avoid the crowds and see an authentic multicultural Israeli city. With a rich history and interesting historical sites, alongside great nightlife, a developing food scene and special desert vibes, visiting Beer Sheva is a great experience for anyone.

Beer Sheva is a unique city that has been rapidly growing and developing lately. With a big young community that revolves around the popular Ben Gurion University, as well as a diverse, multicultural older population, it is a great blend of the old and the new, making it a great place to visit for those who want to see some other sides of Israel, outside the touristic and busy Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Here are all of the important things to know before your visit to Beer Sheva.

The Story of Beer Sheva

Beer Sheva, the fourth biggest city in Israel, has an impressive and ancient historical heritage. For thousands of years, the city has known upheavals, wars, and battles, but maintained its position as a central city in Southern Israel, and continues to develop and grow today.

The origin of the name Beer Sheva is drawn from the Bible, from the story of Abraham. In the book of Genesis, it is written that Abraham gave seven sheep to Abimelech, king of Gerar, in exchange for a well he dug in the area, and made him his ally. That’s why the place is called Beer-Sheva, as in Hebrew it means the well of seven. Besides the Book of Genesis, Beer Sheva is also mentioned in the Book of Joshua, as one of the main cities belonging to the tribe of Shimon.

The Old City of Beer Sheva is the only city in Israel that was built by the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the Land of Israel for about 400 years. During the First World War, the city became an important logistic center and its population increased fourfold. The first airport in the Land of Israel was established near it at the time.

On October 31, 1917, the city was captured by General Allenby’s British forces after repeated failures to penetrate the Ottoman border in the Gaza area.
In Beer Sheva, there is a military cemetery for the martyrs of the First World War where there are graves of British, Australian, and New Zealander soldiers. Right next to it, you’ll find a monument that was inaugurated in 2002 in memory of the Ottoman soldiers.

Today, there are 215,000 residents in Beer Sheva, making it by far the biggest city in Southern Israel.

Best places to visit in Beer Sheva

Tel Sheva

Tel Beer Sheva National Park, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, is a living evidence of the settlement in this area during the biblical period. These ancient ruins were an important settlement right on the edge between the inhabited land and the arid desert at the time. The ancient settlement was established at the meeting between Beer Sheva River and Hebron River and included incredibly impressive water facilities, including a 69 meter/226 feet-deep well and a huge underground water reservoir.

During your visit here, it is highly recommended to see the reconstruction of the altar with the four horns that is located here, as well as the palace, the city gate, and the observation tower from which you’ll get a great panoramic view of the entire area.

Beer Avraham (Abraham’s well) visitor center

In Abraham’s Well visitor center, you will get a chance to hear the biblical story of Abraham – the world’s first peacemaker, the spiritual father of the three major monotheistic religions, and the well-known host in whose tent God’s angels stayed. The visitor center includes experiential displays in advanced 3D technologies, which make the visit here a unique interactive experience. The Visitor Center was established in ancient Beer Sheva in the area where, according to research, stood the original well of Abraham, which is the origin of Beer Sheva’s name.

Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures

The Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures in Beer Sheva presents a variety of historical and modern works of Islamic ] culture. The museum aims to raise the public’s awareness of the value of the artistic and cultural traditions of the Middle East region in general and Islam in particular. The museum is located inside an old Ottoman mosque, which essentially serves as the first and most impressive exhibition in the museum. In its courtyard, you’ll see archaeological findings from the time of the Muslim rule over the Land of Israel.

In the central hall, changing exhibitions are presented, with an emphasis on cross-cultural encounters of traditional Islamic culture with external traditions and with contemporary art, encounters that produced reciprocal effects and fascinating results.

The Bedouin market

The Bedouin Market in Be’er Sheva was founded in 1905 as a place to exchange goods. Today, the colorful market offers its visitors plenty of authentic and oriental souvenirs in the form of clothes, decorative objects and art, housewares, carpets, spices, and more. The market is open every Thursday from early morning and is a great place to experience the unique Bedouin Culture.

The old city of Beer Sheva

The old city features numerous sites to see and is a very pleasant area to wander around. Here, you can see plenty of street art and graffiti and unique street lights, alongside old and modern buildings, showing the city’s rapid growth. In addition, the old city is a great place to enjoy the popular nightlife and restaurants of Beer Sheva and feel the energy of the young, vibrant city.

 

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