After our visit to the Yardinit, we headed south through the Jordan Valley and the historical site, Beit She'an. This was my second visit. My experience at this site is one I love to talk about.
On my first trip in 1996, we had gone through several days of visiting archeological ruins and I was getting tired of it. I remember saying, "If I see one more ruin, I'm going to scream." I laugh now as I think of that, because I was about to learn something wonderful.
The morning of the visit to the site (in 1996), we boarded the bus and our tour guide,Yael, said we were going to enter the site from the back, which meant we were going to climb a very steep hill. That hill is pictured at the beginning of this post. Yes, we climbed that hill, with me complaining the whole way. The weather was warm that day, the sun beating down, and I thought we would never reach the top. But when we did...oh, my...I will never forget the sight of Beit She'an at the bottom of that hill. This is what I saw:
I stood in awe as I viewed the city below me. Beit She'an is the remainder of a Roman city. You can see the main street with the Roman columns lining the roadway. The street is lined with shops. At the top, and in the middle, is the amphi-theatre. To the right, near the top is the white roof covering the bath house. Most of the city was completely covered in dirt until the 1950's. Much more of the city had been excavated by the time I visited the second time, in December, 2013. Can you imagine what this city must have looked like two thousand years ago?
The picture below is a closer view of the area that contains the bath house.
I couldn't wait to get to the bottom of that hill and explore those ruins. The picture below is how the road probably looked in the Roman period.
Some visitors strolling through the area.
You can see how massive the columns are here.
The streets were constructed with slopes which allowed water to run out of the area. Ingenious, right?
The mosaics on the floors of the shops and the bath house were intricate and beautiful, and fascinated me:
The mosaic pieces were only about 1/2 inch square. Such great artistry and workmanship.
As we explored, we learned from our tour guide, Natalie, that an earthquake destroyed this city in 749 A.D. She pointed out that the epicenter of the quake was within the city because some of the columns fell in one direction, while others fell in the opposite direction. Interesting. She also showed us the column to which I am pointing in the photo below:
Excavations of Beit She'an began in 1949, and continued through 1996. There is much more interesting information about this site at this link: http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/BeitShean.html
Another area we all found interesting was the toilet house. Yes, the Romans bathed together, and also sat on the toilet together. Can you imagine? My husband said they had close quarters like this on the Navy aircraft carriers in the 60's. Underneath the seats were troughs that had running water to take away the waste. Those Romans thought of everything, didn't they?
Two of the girls in our group clowning around. These two kept us in stitches for the whole trip. They were a hoot!
I couldn't figure out if this toilet seat was for a VERY large person, or if it was just broken.
The intricate beauty of the decorations throughout the city really caught my eye. Here is Shelby admiring a piece of wall adorned with a sunflower design:
Sunflowers are my favorite, and Beit She'an is at the top of my list of favorite places to visit in Israel.
Next stop on the tour was Mount Scopus in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Don't miss it next week, Gail-Friends.
I'm linking up today with:
Modest Mom Monday Link-up
Chatting at the Sky Link-Up for August
A Wise Woman Builds
Whole Hearted Wednesday
Wake Up Wednesday
Hearts for Home
Fab Creative Friday