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Places

Sedom Park

February 18, 2006

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Welcome to Sedom and Gomorra
No wonder you can turn into stone here. If that place gets wet and you are here, you will also turn into stone if you aint careful.

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Mamshit National Park
February 18, 2006

Mampsis (also known as Mamshit and Kurnub) is the only walled city of the Nabateans. It is located on the main road leading from Judea to Petra. Mampsis includes ruins from three periods: Nabatean, Roman and Byzantine. Remains from the Roman period include a military cemetery. Latin inscriptions, and a bronze jug containing over 10 000 silver drachma and tetradrachma.
The Nabateans were a nomadic people of arab origin. Their caravans transported precious perfumes and spices from northern Arabia to the shores of the Mediterranean, via Transjordan and the Negev. The goods were then shipped to lands across the sea. The way stations the Nabateans built on the trade route eventually became flourishing cities. When the Romas developed new trade routes in the first century CE, the Nabateans changed over to a settled lifestyle. After the Nabatean kingdom was annexed to the Roman Empire (106 CE), the Nabatean-Aramaic language gradually gave way to Greek and the Nabatean god took on Roman characteristics. Subsequently, the Nabateans adopted christianity and blended into the local population.

1) The Khan (1st-7th centuries CE) is located outside the city wall. Served as a rest stop for
commercial caravans passing through the area.
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2) The Gate was built during the Late Roman period, at a time when the city was encompassed by a wall 900 meters long. The wall was reinforced during the Byzantine period. The gate was comprised of two towers and a roofed passageway; on its floor remain the grooves made by the wheels of the freight wagons passing through. The gate was burned and destroyed, apparently during the Arab conquest. This gate with its tow towers appears on the Madaba map as a symbol of the city
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03) House of Affluent  some of the buildings in Mampsis are very large, more than 1000 square meters. Some are two or three stories tall and they were constructed with excellence. These structures demonstrate that the Nabateans were masters of masonry and stone dressing. Mampsis was excavated by Avraham Negev from 1965-73. He found that what looked like a heap of rubble was just the upper story that had collapsed on the lower. As a result, the lower levels were almost left entirely standing. Since the excavations, the site has been extensively reconstructed.
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View of a road to the Eastern Church and British police station (Camel police) made from ancient rocks in 1936 on the top of a hill.
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04) The Tower  (no picture) is a sqaure structure which originally was three storeys high. On the ground floor a room was found in which arches bore the weight of the stone slabs composing the ceiling. From the second floor, one may look out over the city and the Mamshit stream.

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05) The Western Church - the “Nilos Church”
from the entrance court surrounded by pillars (Atrium) with a roofed cistern in the center the worshippers entered the church through three doors. The nave is floored with a mosaic showing geometric froms, depictions of peacocks and other birds, and dedicatory inscriptions. The main one says in Gree: “Lord, save Thy servant Nilos, who created this building, and watch over his family”. On the east, the bema closes off a semicircular niche for the altar (Apse), designating the direction faced by the worshippers.
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06) Typical Nabatean House (no picture)
in the center of which is an inner courtyard with a cistern in it. A staircase leads to the second stroey. From the courtyard a passageway led to the stable, which had room fro sixteen horses. The raising of horses represented an important branch of the city’s economy. The hosue continued to be used during the Byzantine period, as shown by the crosses and carvings on its lintels.

07) The Eastern Church - “Church of the Martyr” (no picture)
was part of a monastery complex. A flight of stairs brought the people arriving at the church into a cuortyard surrounded by pillars (Atrium), built over a large cistern. From the atrium they entered the narthex and the nave of the basilica-like church through three doorways. A mosaic floor was discovered in the nae, in which two crosses were depicted. This dates the mosaic to some time before 427 E.E., from which time crosses were no longer incorporated into mosaics on church floors. The apse is at the eastern end of the church in the unconnnected rooms on both sides of the apse, cabinets were found which apparently were used for storing relics (bones of saints).
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08) The Police Station (no picture)
built in 1936 over the ruins of an ancient Nabatean building, to serve the British “Desert Police”. Today it is occupied by a restaurant with a Nabatean character - “Dushara”. From the roof there is a lovely view of the city and the stream.
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09) The Market a street from the Nabatean period, with rows of rooms used as stores arranged on both sides.
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10) “Nabato House” (no picture)
is the largest house yet discovered in the city with Nabatean architectural characteristics. It is approx. 1600 square meters in area. As in other Nabatean buildings, it has interior courtyards and stairways leading to the upper storeys. Alongside the commodious courtyard is a large stable, attestin the wealth of the owners. It is still possible to see capitals upon which are the head of a man and bull cut in low relief. The walls of one room are painted in frescoes of figures from Greek nythology. In this house, a hoard of some 10 500 silver coins was discovered, struck between 222 and 275 CE.
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11) The Pool (no picture)  covered at one time, was discovered adjacent to the city wall. It was 10x18 meters in area and three meters deep. Water was brought on donkeyback from the well, the spring, and the dams of the Mamshi stream, and poured into the water channel which began outside the city wall. The channel passed under the wall and brought the water to the pool.

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12) A Bathhouse (no picture)
from the Byzantine period was found next to the pool, the water from which supplied it. It comprised three bath chambers: the caldarium (hot), the tepidarium (lukewarm) and the frigidarium (cold), as well as the apodyterium (dressing room) and a sophisticated heating system. The ceramic pipes which carried the hot air may still be seen.

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13) The Mamshit stream and the dams
in the city and its surroundings cisterns and dams were found, used for storing water. There were cisterns near the large buildings and the churches. Opposite the city, three large dams had been built across the Mamshit stream to create reservoirs for stroing water. The lowest dam survived, and was repaired and reconditioned during the British Mandate period. An additional dam was also built during the same period.
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Colored Sands
February 18, 2006

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camel tracks in the sand
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S h i v t a
February 25, 2006

The ancient city of Subeita, now known as Shita, lies 55 km/34 mi southwest of Beersheba, on the south side of the road to the Egyptian frontier. Here can be seen the ruins, some of them astonishingly well preserved, of a Byzantine city of the fifth and sixth centuries, with three monastic churches, dwelling-houses, water cisterns and paved streets, which was still inhabited in Arab times.
Subeita, lying between Avdat and Nizzana, was built by Nabataeans in the first century B.C. An unfortified town, it was taken over by the Byzantines and so radically altered and rebuilt that the British archeologists who excavated the site in 1934 found no Nabatean but almost exlusively Byzantine remains.

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The South Church - V Century
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Small Makhtesh Crater
February 18, 2006

The running water eroded the softer stones and sand of the makhtesh, hence forming a crater. There are only 5 makhtesh in the whole world - 3 in Israel (largest being Mitzpe Ramon) and 2 in Egypt.

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211 Road
February 25, 2006

sand storm
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Shunra Sands   - February 25, 2006

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