Israel is a land of beautiful and biblically significant places, and the city of Beit She’an is a prime example. Touring this northern Israeli city, one of the most ancient in the country, is like walking through time.
If you’re into archeology or history, the Israeli city of Beit She’an (“House of Tranquility”) is a not-to-be-missed itinerary item for any tour of Israel – especially during the winter months, as during the summer this part of Israel is one of the hottest places on the planet.
Thanks to the Roman penchant for grand building projects, you can easily spend a few hours exploring the vast Beit She’an national archeological park with restored ruins of the 7,000-seat Roman theater, Byzantine bathhouse, decorative fountain, colonnaded streets and gladiator amphitheater.
. . . In modern times, Beit She’an is a quiet provincial municipality of 17,000. But back in its Roman heyday, it attracted perhaps 40,000 residents due to its strategic, fertile and picturesque location at the crossroads of the Jordan and Jezreel valleys.
Friedman [a local tour guide] says Beit She’an has been continuously inhabited since the Egyptian period. “Beit She’an sits on ‘Kings Way,’ a natural roadway from Egypt to Damascus, so it was important during the Crusader period as a connection point between the culture center of Egypt and the mercantile center in Damascus,” he says.