Beit Shearim was one of 19 sites worldwide that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list early this week. The site, located in the lower Galilee, about 20 miles southeast of Haifa (one hour north of Tel Aviv), was the ancient burial ground for the Sanhedrin. The site contains a necropolis filled with a series 2nd century CE period catacombs. Archaeologists believe that the site was the primary burial place outside of Jerusalem and rose to prominence after the destruction of the second Temple and the Jewish revolt against the Romans. Within the catacombs there are numerous artworks and insriptions in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. Its quite striking to notice the strong Roman influence that presided during the period following the revolt.
Menorah inscription inside cave. Photo courtesy: Israel Antiquities Authority
Israel now has nine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. Other sites include Masada; the Old City of Acre; the White City of Tel Aviv; the biblical tels of Megiddo, Hatzor, and Beersheba; the Spice Route in the Negev ,; Baha’i holy places in Haifa and the Western Galilee; the Nahal Me’arot caves in the Carmel; and Beit Guvrin National Park.
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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah-Holy Land tours, the leading Christian travel network focused on Holy Land tours.
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