[Mom – September 22, 2019 – Today was moving day for us as we moved from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Our apartment in Nazareth where we stayed 4 days was really cute but the hill to get up there was a killer. Our apartment in Jerusalem where we will stay 5 days can only be described as luxurious!
On the way to Jerusalem, we stopped at another World Heritage Site, Bet Guvrin-Maresha. It became a World Heritage Site in 2014. The ancient cities of Maresha and Bet -Guvrin are located near the crossroad of the trade routes connecting Mesopatomia and Egypt and they attest to the variety of cultures in the region and their continuous development over almost 2000. The caves which are located beneath and nearby have universal significance as burial chambers. We tried really hard to stay respectful and somber while in the caves, but Shane’s fun loving spirit made us add to his silly casket pictures.]
I am glad my mom really liked the apartment I found for us in Jerusalem during he three week trip I took with them to show them Israel and Jordan. The thing I loved today was Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park. This is basically an underground city since almost nothing is seen on the surface. At first I was just going to check out a few things so we could get moving since everyone was worn out. But the more I found the more I wanted to see more.
The first place I saw was a huge bell cave that was used as a cistern and then later turned into a columbarium, which is a place pigeons are raised. Did you know that cause I did not. Next on the path was another columbarium, except this one was huge and purposely built for this purpose. The man made cave was two stories high and around the size of medium house…..all for pigeons. From there I found a maze of carved caves that must have gone down 5-6 stories and contained
a couple of wine and olive presses, which were amazing and very easy to get lost in. Next was a country villa ruins that were above ground. It looked like it was a nice enough place, but as I turned the corner in the middle of the complex I found a staircase heading down into a cistern…….except this cistern seemed to be bigger than the entire villa. It was massive, for a cistern, and had several rooms to check out. The final place I looked at was the burial chamber my mom mentions above. What was so fascinating about this one was all the walls were painted and nicely decorated.
Funny story. After I talked all three of us to climb into a tomb each for a family photo (did not take much convincing by the way) we were covered in a fine white dust. No matter how much we brushed it off we could not get rid of it and it got on the fabric car seats. They ended up charging us a $75 cleaning fee. Whoops! Maybe it was not worth it. What do you think?