Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
The Beit Guvrin caves and the ancient town of Maresha in central Israel have been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a heritage site yesterday (Jun. 22) during its 38th World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar.
The manmade caves, known for their unique ‘bell caves’, represent the “land of a thousand caves” in the Judean lowlands, scattered over an area of about 100 square kilometers.
The Beit Guvrin and Maresha caves join the White City of Tel-Aviv, the Biblical Tels of Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba, the Incense Route and Desert Cities in the Negev, the Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee, Masada the Old City of Acre and the Carmel caves as the eighth site to be recognized as a UNESCO Heritage site in Israel.
The World Heritage List includes 1,001 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
Dr. Zvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, stated after the announcement: “We are delighted that our professional opinion to declare the caves of Beit Guvrin as a World Heritage Site has been adopted by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. Much work has gone into preparing the case by officials and many others, which has eventually led to this success. Thanks to the large number of caves and their various types, as well as the duration for which they were used, spanning nearly 2,000 years, this special site has won recognition as an outstanding site of global value. ”
UNESCO crowned the Beit Guvrin caves as ‘a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves’: “This ‘city under a city’ is characterized by a selection of man-made caves, excavated from the thick and homogenous layer of soft chalk in Lower Judea. It includes chambers and networks with varied forms and functions, situated below the ancient twin towns of Maresha and Beit Guvrin, that bear witness to a succession of historical periods of excavation and usage stretching over 2,000 years, from the Iron Age to the Crusades, as well as a great variety of subterranean construction methods. The original excavations were quarries, but these were converted for various agricultural and local craft industry purposes, including oil presses, columbaria (dovecotes), stables, underground cisterns and channels, baths, tomb complexes and places of worship , and hiding places during troubled times.
The ancient town of Maresha and Bet Guvrin are two main sites in a larger area of caves and hiding that existed just off the Via Maris during the Byzantine period. According to evidence produced by Prof. Yoram Zafrir, over 100,000 people lived in this area away from the main trade route. The main urban settlements in the Judean foothills were safely removed from the main Via Maris with its movements of conquering armies between Egypt and the Fertile Crescent. Maresha and Bet Guvrin, important ancient cities located in the basin of the Guvrin Stream, were highly populated in the Greco-Roman and Byzantine eras, and their unique natural formations were used as hiding places for the local population in conjunction with tels and neighboring towns. Maresha is mentioned among the cities of Judea noted in Joshua and as one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam against the incursion of Babylon into his kingdom: ‘And Rehoboam… built cities for defense in Judah. He built even Bethlehem…and Mareshah.”
During the Persian period, after the destruction of the First Temple, Maresha and all of southern Judea was settled by Edomites, who came from the southeast.
At the end of the 4th century B.C.E. Sidonians and Greeks came to Maresha, bringing the Hellenistic culture with them. In addition, isolated Egyptians and a few Jews lived there – refugees from the fall of the Temple and emigrants from the Coastal Plain. Thus was created the special fabric of society in this Hellenistic city, which was an important economic center. During the same period, the Lower City was built, and in it many caves were hewn. From historical sources and local excavations it became evident that in 113 BCE John Hyrcanus I, the Hasmonean, conquered Maresha and converted the residents of the city and its surroundings to Judaism. The upper and lower city became desolate ruins. However, Maresha recovered and was repopulated, but its settlement was sparse, and according to Josephus Flavius, it was finally demolished by the Parthian Army in 40 BCE. Beit Guvrin replaced Maresha as the most important settlement in the area. It is initially mentioned by Josephus Flavius in 68 CE as one of the towns conquered by the Roman general Vespasian. Following the destruction of the Second Temple, it continued to exist as a rather crowded Jewish settlement until the Bar-Kochva Revolt, 132-135 CE.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Conference of Jewish groups chided the Obama administration for the nasty comments made about Bibi.
Feiglin was standing next to Glick during the assassination attempt
A small caliber weapon was used to shoot at IDF troops patrolling along the border near Quneitra.
Arab rioters threw firecrackers at Border Police in the Old City in Jerusalem Thursday and lightly wounded at least one tourist. Police arrested one Arab youth. Earlier in the day, Arabs hurled rocks at a bus in eastern Jerusalem. No property damage or injuries were reported, and one Arab was arrested. In the Jabel Mukaber […]
The Islamic Jihad was thrilled with the shooting of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick and said “he got what he deserved, the Mann reported. Daoud Shihab, Islamic Jihad spokesperson, told Ma’an that attempted murder of Glick, who is in critical condition as of this moment, was a “natural response” to defend Jerusalem” and the Al-Aqsa […]
A cartoonist has turned the tables on an attack cartoon against the PM published by the leftist daily Ha’aretz.
Rabbi Yehuda Glick’s condition has taken a turn for the worse. He needs prayers. Yehuda Yehoshua ben Rivka Itta Breindel.
The father and brother of the Islamic Jihad terrorist who allegedly shot Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick were arrested Thursday in Silwan.
The “silent” intifada is roaring at the gates, Harriet, and threatening to bash the door in. It’s silent no more. Who’s really inciting terrorism?
Female tourist injured when struck by rocks thrown by Arabs at the Kotel.
Jerusalem Arabs are rioting near the home of the killed terrorist in the neighborhood of Abu Tor.
China has acquired $7 billion in Israeli assets in the past three years.
Alleged shooter of Yehuda Glick worked in the Begin Center restaurant.
PM Netanyahu blames PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for terror attack aimed at killing Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick.
Palestinian Authority terrorists set off a bomb at a bus stop in Samaria and threw two pipe bombs at passing Jewish drivers in Samaria on Sunday. No one was injured. Police sappers were called to the Rechalim Junction where the bomb exploded. They did not find any other explosive devices and still are searching for […]
Netanyahu: “As Long as Quiet is Not Restored, Hamas Will Continue to Receive Very Harsh Blows”
PA claims – ISIS founded by US in order to destabilize and take control of the Middle East.
“I was amazed and pleased that a rabbi would call the Islamization of Europe a good thing. Likewise I believe an all Jewish Europe would be a great thing too,” Turk said.
Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau stated: “Israel is preparing for the ‘day after’.
Zeidan stated he supports Hamas, even as the missiles landed on his areas, [h]e cannot remain silent, even if [Hamas] missiles land on our heads.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/beit-guvrin-caves-and-maresha-declared-unesco-heritage-site/2014/06/23/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: