Full Version: Sites to see in Israel?
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Hey guys, I’m going to be taking a trip to Israel pretty soon. What are the sites to see? I’m specifically looking for getting a good understanding of Jewish culture during Christ’s birth and His death/resurrection. I’m not looking for the catholic stuff. What would be good archeological sites to see as well as museums? The emphasis would be understanding the daily culture of the Jews and less on the military, but not excluding the military side of things.

If you do insist on getting to the dusy hellhole I call home, you are welcome :-) )

I just saw your question, and I write what comes to mind at the moment. If I"ll remember I"ll write more, but feel free to ask and to focus your areas of interest.

There are many diggings, but most are no more than dirt covered foundations. In europe there are many ancient INTACT remains, but in Israel practically none. Why is that I dont know. perhaps building standards were low. Perhaps the many many wars and disasters took their toll, and leveled most constructions. dont know. There is no real reenactment activity.

You may consider the following:
1) Beit-Shean - a large roman city that was destroyed by earthquake. Excavated and somewhat reconstucted. quit interesting. Some of the jewish population lived "roman style" at the time.

2) Masada - known as a "must see" and supposedly represents the jewish revolt. But according to Flavius it's of only an extrimist minority. As in most places, not much is left but stories. but this place is definitely original and true to the period. For true eperience, take the "snake trail" up and the "ramp" down.

3) Yad-Hashmona is a farm that tries to replicate an Israeli vilage of the biblical era. Look here:

4) Beit-Shearim - a burial site of several burial caves and many sarcofages. There are guided tours that explain the history and caltural meaning of the findings. If it's on your way from one dusty hole to another, it's worth a visit.

5) Hiding caves - in the area of Beit-Shemesh there are many sites of hiding caves dug by the revolting people. These are long (up to miles) and narrow crawling caves. An interesting and fun experience. Most sites are free access, but you would want some guidence, even in writing. However, there are no archeological remains in the caves.

6) Beit-Guvrin - in the same area as the caves - the ground is rock, but a very soft type. so it was easier to dig than build. so in this site there are hundreds of houses, storage areas ect., all undergroung, and relatively intact. there are guided tours. I recoment taking a night tour (going through the undergroung city with candles).

7) Jerusalem - The vast majority of the city was rebuilt over and over. The only place I know of that is original is "the city of David". it's an archeological digging of what some consider the original place of the biblical Jerusalem. Several minutes from there is the wailing wall and it's "tunnel". In the tunnel there is an interesting exahbition of Jerusalem at the time.

Otherwise, the old city has no resemblence to the days BC turned AD.

8) As for museums - Eretz Israel museum in Tel-Aviv holds a good archeological collection: ... e&langId=1
Also check our the Israel museum in Jerusalem:

I think life of the everage jew at the time looked much like that of a simple peasant in any third world vilage: living in crapy huts, wearing crapy rugs, using few simple household tools, eating whatever he can harvest from the barren land or buy in the market with his few coins. and then someone conquers the land and kills him. These where the vast majority of the people, and not much was left of them. The cities (little was left of these) held only the aristocracy.
...dunno whether this : :?:
..will help you "structuring" your stay, but it may raise a little "pre-joy".


thanks guys!!! Very helpful - I can't wait to go!