Located about 75 miles south of Tel-Aviv, Beer-Sheva is the capital of the Negev region. Founded by Abraham, some 4,000 years ago, Beer-Sheva has a long and rich history. Abraham’s tent evolved into a modern metropolis, a regional center of industry and commerce.

History of Beer-Sheva

Beer-Sheva is at the edge of the desert, where underground water is relatively close to the surface. The Book of Genesis records how Abraham dug a well for his flock here. Later, at the well, he signed a peace covenant with Avimelech, king of Gerar. To affirm it, Abraham named the well after their peace agreement:

“Therefore he called that place Beersheba because there the two of them took an oath” (Genesis 21:21).

Beer-Sheva became a regional and religious center at the southern edge of the Israelites (1 Kings 5:5). It was also a significant center in Roman and Byzantine times. In the early 20th century, the Ottomans designed a new city – today’s Beer-Sheva old city. Modern Beer-Sheva is a regional center of industry, commerce, administration, and culture. It also has a big medical center, a university, and an engineering college.

Things To Do in Beer-Sheva

Beer-Sheva is rare on tourists’ itineraries, but there are a few unique sites and activities to experience if traveling in the south of Israel. The most recommended are:

Abraham’s Well

The historical core of Beer-Sheva is a well near the old city. According to Centuries-Old tradition, it was dug by the Patriarch Abraham (Genesis 21) and later used by his descendants Isaac and Jacob. Today, a modern visitor center around the well presents Abraham and his legacy.

The Ottoman City

Established in 1906, the new city of Beer-Sheva was designed after ‘Abraham’s Well.’ It had a modern European design of intersecting streets and public institutions. Today, known as Beer-Sheva’s old city, some of its buildings were nicely restored. Its first governor’s house became the Negev Museum of Art.

The Bedouin Market

Operating since 1906, the Bedouin market takes place every Thursday at the city’s southern end. Camels, sheep, goats, and pigeons regularly change hands here, and tourists might find unique local souvenirs. * [In 2017, the municipality closed the Bedouin market for a new location, which has yet to be determined.

Brutalist Architecture

In the 1960s and 1970s, many of the building projects in Beer-Sheva implemented the ‘brutalist’ architectural trend. Characterized chiefly by big blocks of exposed concrete, these structures look more like unfinished projects today. Still, they are an international attraction among architecture buffs.

Turkish Railway Station

Built in 1915, Beer-Sheva’s train station was along the Ottoman railway towards the Suez Canal. Operating on steam, the station had a water tower and a terminal. During the British Mandate, the station was closed due to insufficient traffic. In 2013, the state of Israel restored it and placed a British-period locomotive in it.

Australian Soldier Park

A monument commemorating the ANZAC Mounted Division that captured Beer-Sheva in 1917. Established in 2008, it features an impressive bronze statue of a galloping Australian horseman at its entrance. The park is also a popular children’s playground designed to accommodate and integrate children with special needs.

Things to do Around Beer-Sheva

Negev Brigade Memorial

Negev-Brigade-monumentA remarkable 1948 war monument designed by the renowned landscape artist Dani Karavan on the outskirts of Beer-Sheva. Cleverly Intertwined abstract cement shapes and detailed maps form one of Israel’s most known war monuments.

Tel Beer Sheva

UNESCO has designated Tel Beer Sheva a World Heritage Site. It was a Judean regional center for some 2,800 years. With its Israelite level exposed, the mound is one of the best places in Israel for a detailed review of Biblical Archaeology.

Israeli Air Force Museum

Six miles west of Beer-Sheva, the Israeli Air Force Museum showcases over 150 warplanes, training planes, helicopters, and more. A devoted staff of soldiers leads guided tours through the vast outdoor exhibit, followed by a visitors’ center that presents fabled operations like Entebe and the raid on Iraq’s Nuclear plant in 1981.

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