Beit Guvrin National Park and caves – an important town of Judah at the time of the first Temple and during the Roman era when it was developed and fortified by Septimum Severus, the Roman Emperor.
St. Anne's Church was built in the Byzantine Period and then was restored by the Crusaders in the 12th century. The 3rd and 4th century residents were prosperous as can be seen by the elaborate Sidonian graves found in the caves and there is also indication of Jewish life with the remains of a 3rd century synagogue. Close to the remains from the Crusader era is a succession of huge limestone caves from the Hellenistic era. The chalk from these bell-shaped caves was used for to cover the roads in the Arabic period. Other caves served as water cisterns, livestock enclosures and crypts.
Excavations are still continuing and of particular interest is the Roman amphitheatre uncovered at the entrance to Kibbutz Beit Guvrin. Other archaeological artifacts unearthed at the site include a large Jewish cemetery, a Byzantine church, public baths, mosaics and burial caves.
Beit Guvrin National Park is just 38 km east of Ashkelon and 13 km from Kiryat Gat.
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