|Location:||Bet Guvrin National Park|
|Open:||OCT to MAR daily 8-16, APR to SEP daily 8-17. |
|Fee:||Adults 18 NIS, Children 9 NIS. Groups: Adults 15 NIS, Children 8 NIS. |
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Mareshah was one of the cities which belonged to the tribe of Judah. It is mentioned in Joshua 15:44. It is also mentioned in II Chronicles 11:8 as it was one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam. Mareshah was was inhabited from the 9th century BC until 40 BC by Jews, Edomites, Sidonians, Greeks, and even a few Egyptians. Later it was replaced by Bet Guvrin.
Today there are only the remains of the city, showing how it was built and rebuilt over the centuries. The best preserved part of the city are the caves below. The main reason to go underground was to avoid the extreme temperatures outside.
The caves were used for daily live, so they contained all sorts of rooms with different purposes. There have been found 20 rooms which originally contained oil presses. 60 rooms were columbariums, which are used for raising pigeons. 20 of the caves could be identified to be baths, with bath tubes hewn from the rock. Naturally many cisterns were found too. And most of the rooms were just cave houses, cave dwellings used to live in.