beit shean historical sites

The most mysterious Roman ruin site in Israel is at Beit Shean. The best spot to go if you want to relive the heyday of Ancient Rome is these well-preserved structures.

You may get a sense of city life under Roman domination by strolling around its still-existing colonnaded streets and investigating the city’s temple ruins. The location in a valley encircled by mountains contributes to the evocative feeling of former majesty.

Roman Theater

The Roman Theater at Beit Shean, which was constructed in the final years of Septimius Severus’ rule, is the best preserved in Israel.

The lowest portion of the building was buried in the earth and held semicircular levels of seats for 6,000 people.

Nine entrances lead to the horizontal gangway that runs the length of the theater, and the top portion is supported by substantial substructures. The bottom sitting rows are very well maintained, however the higher seating levels have been partially demolished.

The stage wall, which was formerly lavishly ornamented with columns and sculptures, also has significant remnants.

Tell el-Husn

The main attraction of the archaeological site is Tell el-Husn, which is located just north of the Roman Theater.

If you don’t have much time during your vacation, start here as there are many ruins to see in this region of Beit Shean.

At least 20 successive eras of settlement have been erected on top of one another on the Tell (village mount).

If photographers wish to obtain a look of the expansive ruins region of Beit Shean, they need climb to the Tell’s highest point.

The 1920s saw excavation efforts on this habitation mound uncover stele and art from the time when Egypt was in power.

Tips and Tactics: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Beit Shean

Bring plenty of water and a sun hat, especially in the summer. There is very little shade at the location, which is incredibly hot.
Bus 961, which departs from Jerusalem often and travels to Tiberias, passes via Beit Shean. It takes two hours to travel.
Bus 961, which departs from Tiberias and stops in Beit Shean on its route to Jerusalem, is another option. One hour is needed for the trip.

History of Beit Shean

In 1921-23, excavations were conducted here by American archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, and 18 habitation levels were found, with the earliest dated to the fourth millennium BC.

The first mention of Beit Shean is found in Egyptian writings from the 19th century BC.

Tuthmosis III, pharaoh of Egypt, fortified the town following his conquest of Canaan in the fifteenth century BC. It was taken by Philistines moving inland from the sea in the eleventh century.

Byzantine Remains

On the other side of the Harod valley, to the north of Tell el-Husn, Byzantine ruins were discovered.

A noblewoman called Mary and her son Maximus established a monastery with exquisite mosaics in this location in AD 567. The monastery is presently covered for protection.

The entry opens onto a sizable trapezoidal courtyard with a mosaic pavement showing animals and birds, two Greek inscriptions, and in the middle, the sun god Helios and the moon goddess Selene, each inside a circle of 12 figures symbolizing the months.

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