Incense Route – Desert Cities in the Negev

Incense Route – Desert Cities in the Negev

From the World Heritage inscription:

The Incense Route was a network of trade routes extending over two thousand kilometers to facilitate the transport of frankincense and myrrh from the Yemen and Oman in the Arabian Peninsula to the Mediterranean.

The four Nabatean towns of Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat, and Shivta, with their associated fortresses and agricultural landscapes linking them to the Mediterranean, are situated on a segment of this route, in the Negev Desert, in southern Israel. They stretch across a hundred-kilometer section of the desert, from Moa on the Jordanian border in the east to Haluza in the northwest. Together they reflect the hugely profitable trade in Frankincense from south Arabia to the Mediterranean, which flourished from the third century BCE until the second century CE, and the way the harsh desert was colonized for agriculture through the use of highly sophisticated irrigation systems.

Ten of the sites (four towns – Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta; four fortresses – Kazra, Nekarot, Makhmal, and Grafon; and the two caravanserai of Moa and Saharonim) lie along, or near to, the main trade route from Petra, capital of the Nabatean Empire in Jordan, to the Mediterranean ports. The town of Mamshit straddles the northern parallel route. Combined, the route and the desert cities along it reflect the prosperity of the Nabatean incense trade over a seven hundred year period, from the 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE.

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Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves

Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves

From the World Heritage inscription:

The presence in the Judean Lowlands of thick and homogeneous chalk sub-strata enabled numerous caves to be excavated and managed by Man. The property includes a complete selection of chambers and man-made subterranean networks, of different forms and for different activities. They are situated underneath the ancient twin cities of Maresha and Bet Guvrin, and in the surrounding areas, constituting a “city under a city”. They bear witness to a succession of historical periods of excavation and use, over a period of 2,000 years. Initially, the excavations were quarries, but they were later converted for various agricultural and local craft industry purposes, including oil presses, columbaria, stables, underground cisterns and channels, baths, tombs and places of worship, and hiding places during troubled times, etc. With their density, diversified activities, use over two millennia and the quality of their state of preservation, the complexes attain an Outstanding Universal Value.

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Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel: The Nahal Me’arot / Wadi el-Mughara Caves

Mount Carmel WOrld Heritage Site
Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel: The Nahal Me’arot / Wadi el-Mughara Caves
Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel: The Nahal Me’arot / Wadi el-Mughara Caves: My 321st UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription or the Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel:

The four Mount Carmel caves (Tabun, Jamal, el-Wad, and Skhul) and their terraces are clustered adjacent to each other along the south side of the Nahal Me’arot/Wadi el-Mughara valley. The steep-sided valley opening to the coastal plain on the west side of the Carmel range provides the visual setting of a prehistoric habitat.

Located in one of the best preserved fossilized reefs of the Mediterranean region, the site contains cultural deposits representing half a million years of human evolution from the Lower Palaeolithic to the present. It is recognized as providing a definitive chronological framework at a key period of human development.

Archaeological evidence covers the appearance of modern humans, deliberate burials, early manifestations of stone architecture and the transition from hunter-gathering to agriculture. The attributes carrying Outstanding Universal Value include the four caves, terraces, un-excavated deposits and excavated artifacts and skeletal material; the Nahal Me’arot/ Wadi el-Mughara landscape providing the prehistoric setting of the caves; el-Wad Terrace excavations, and remains of stone houses and pits comprising evidence of the Natufian hamlet.

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McKosher: McDonald’s in Israel

There was an obvious question about Israeli McDonald’s I had before I entered the country: were they kosher? I had read that there were non-kosher McDonald’s Israel. In fact, the Internet told me, most of the McDonald’s in Israel were non-kosher. During my entire time in Israel I did not see a single non-kosher McDonald’s. …

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My Big Fat Greek Layover

I only have a few hours left in Israel. At 4am tomorrow I take off to the airport for my 7am flight to Rome. I’ll have an eight hour layover in Athens, so I’m going to try and make the best of it and so see the Acropolis in the time I have. It should …

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Leaving Tel Aviv

Don’t get me wrong, Tel Aviv is a nice city, but I didn’t have any plans to stay here for two weeks. My laptop battery finally came in and everything is now fine in computerland. I’ve been here so long I ended being in Tel Aviv during Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s memorial day. Unlike memorial day …

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