בית גוברין - מרשה

( Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park )

Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park is a national park in central Israel, containing a large network of caves recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The national park includes the remains of the historical towns of Maresha, one of the important towns of Judah during the First Temple Period, and Bayt Jibrin, a depopulated Palestinian town known as Eleutheropolis in the Roman era. However, Maresha and Bayt Jibrin are not part of the UNESCO site, which covers only the cave network.

Archaeological artifacts unearthed at the site include a large Jewish cemetery, a Roman-Byzantine amphitheater, a Byzantine church, public baths, mosaics and burial caves.

It is located 13 kilometers from Kiryat Gat.

 Map of Kibbutz Beit Guvrin, historical Bayt Jibrin-Eleutheropolis, the national park with ancient caves World Heritage Site, and Tel Maresha (1940s Survey of Palestine map with modern overlay) Maresha dwellings

The earliest written record of Maresha was as a city in ancient Judah (Joshua 15:44[1]). The Hebrew Bible mentions among other episodes that Rehoboam fortified it against Egyptian attack. After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah the city of Maresha became part of the Edomite kingdom. In the late Persian period a Sidonian community settled in Maresha, and the city is mentioned in the Zenon Papyri (259 BC). During the Maccabean Revolt, Maresha was a base for attacks against Judea and suffered retaliation from the Maccabees. After Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus I captured and destroyed Maresha in 112 BCE, the region of Idumea[2] remained under Hasmonean control. In 40 BC the Parthians devastated completely the "strong cite", after which it was never rebuilt.

Beth Gabra or Beit Guvrin succeeded Maresha as the main town of the area. Conquered by the Roman general Vespasian during the Jewish War (68 CE) and completely destroyed during the Bar Kochba revolt (132–135 CE), it was re-established as a Roman colony and in the year 200 it received the title of a city and the ius italicum, under the new name of "Eleutheropolis", 'city of freemen'. Sources from the Byzantine period mention both Christian and Jewish personalities living in the city. A large Jewish community existed during the Roman and Byzantine Periods and famous Tannaim and Amoraim resided here.[3]

^ "Joshua 15:44 - Bible Gateway". www.biblegateway.com. Retrieved 2023-08-01. ^ "Idumea". Catholic Answers. Retrieved 2023-08-01. ^ "Bet Guvrin (Beit Jibrin, Betogabris, Beth Gabra)". Carta Jerusalem. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2023-08-01.
Photographies by:
Davidbena - CC BY-SA 4.0
Carole Raddato from Frankfurt, Germany - CC BY-SA 2.0
Davidbena - CC BY-SA 4.0
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