Jerusalem Eternal Tours


Be'er Sheva: The ancient city

Beer Sheba, the "capital" of Southern Israel, is mentioned many times in the Old Testament because Abraham is believed to have settled in this region after leaving his birthplace. Therefore, the city's name has two Hebrew meanings, both of which connect to Abraham. "Well of the Oath" refers to the peace treaty Abraham made with Abimelech, the local king; and "Seven Wells" refers to Abraham's Well – an ancient water hole that is most probably from the Ottoman period, but retains a reference to Abraham and therefore has been restored in its Ha'azmaut Street location within the modern city.

Later on in the Old Testament, Isaac's altar to the Lord was built here (Genesis 26:25) and Jacob left from this same spot on his journey to Egypt. The city's strategic location on the intersection of Via Maris (The Sea Road) and the King's Highway – two critical routes in ancient times – ensured it was mentioned throughout the Old Testament.

Today, a few sites of interest are located right outside of Beer Sheba. The archaeological site of Tel Be'er Sheba is associated with the city's biblical events. It features excavations from the Roman Period, a former Crusaders' fortress, as well as ruins from the time of the Israelites' walled city. Shivta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a National park with three churches built inside its walls. It was a Byzantine farming community built on top of a Nabataean village, and was often used by Christian pilgrims on their way to Egypt.

The modern city of Beersheva (in Hebrew) was originally built by the Turks during the 20th Century Ottoman rule. As the only city built by the Ottomans inside of Israel, buildings remaining from this period and that of the British Mandate serve as some of the city's most interesting tourist sites. Other sites of interest in modern-day Beersheva include the weekly Bedouin Market, the Ethiopian Crafts Fair and the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. For Information about Hotels in Beersheva, you can visit Beersheva Hotels page at

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