Northern Negev Attractions
1. Horvat Patish (In today's town of Ofakim)-
Horvat Patish it's actually a fortress which was built in the Ottoman's period. From excavations which had been made, we learn that this place used to be a small town in the Byzantine period, and the "Patish" is mentioned in
the Madaba Map- which describe Israel in the 6th Century.
among the remains we found there are Clay vessels, headers of pillars, old graves and a very impressive water system.
On the top of the hill' there is an Ottoman fortress, which was built in the 19th century in order to ensure the safety of the convoys that passed nearby. beneath the building, you can find a huge cistern from the Byzantine time, and which probably served the Ottoman's as well.
2. Nahal Besor - Nahal (Stream in Hebrew) Besor (Annunciation in Hebrew) got its name from the Bible. Three times this stream is mention in the Bible:
2.1. Genesis 16:7-12, "The angel of the Lord also said to her (Hagar- Abraham's mistress): “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”
2.2. Joshua 19:1-6, "The second lot came out for the tribe of Simeon according to its clans. Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah. It included: Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah, Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem, Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth Markaboth, Hazar Susah, Beth Lebaoth and Sharuhen—thirteen towns and their villages...". The town "Sharuhen" is on the Besor Stream's area.
2.3. When King David fought against the Amalekites, he crossed the Besor Valley, as it written in 1 Samuel 30:9 "David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind."
The Besor stream is the longest stream in Israel (80 KM), starting on the Southern side of the Negev and ended in the Mediterranean Sea.
The place I advise you to visit is the place that, according to the bible, King David Crossed the valley. The view there is beautiful, there is there the longest rope way in Israel (80 m), and you can see there in the stream, animals such as Ducks, Turtles and fishes, and many kinds of Water plants. A place worth to visit. Link to Besor website is: https://www.kkl-jnf.org/tourism-and-recreation/forests-and-parks/nahal-besor-south.aspx
3. Abraham's Well- This site is located in the city Beer Sheba. The place is mentioned in the bible, at the time of Abimelek, in Genesis 21:30-31- "He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well. So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there".
In 1979, after the peace agreement was sign between Israel and Egypt, Anwar Sadat, the president of Egypt, ask to visit this side because: "this is the place that the first peace agreement was sign in History".
The on site visitor center uses technology that supports experiential content and 3D performance. A tour of about an hour is held by a team of guides.The architectural structure, built on the foundations of the ancient well's courtyard, resembles Abraham's tent. The complex combines the colors of the desert together with the copper color, which comes to indicate the historical period in which the place is concerned, the Middle Bronze Age.
From the entrance to the lobby to the exit to the well yard, visitors walk through the path illustrating Abraham's travels, emphasizing the significant stops and intersections in his life.
4. ANZAC Memorial Center- ANZAC Memorial Center (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) is one of the most impressive Historical museum in the Negev area. The museum is focused in the story of the ANZAC troops in the middle East in General, and specific in the battles they participate in 1917-1918 in Israel, against the Ottoman's and the German's forces.
The Center is a magnet for tourists from Israel and from around the world, for IDF soldiers, for students and for anyone interested in the national heritage of Israel and of the city of Be’er Sheba, as well as those who cherish the ANZAC soldiers and their bravery.
Link to the museum website is: https://anzac.co.il/?lang=en
5. Tel Be’er Sheba- Tel Be’er Sheba, the area in which the forefathers of the Jewish nation (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) lived and worked, is an important biblical tel – one of three from the days of the Bible that UNESCO has included in its list of world heritage sites.
In this site we can see several remains, which are exclusive in the world to this site:
5.1. a stone altar used for making sacrifices, which is original and found as a complete Altar (today it's a replica, the original altar is on display in the Israel Museum), from the period of King Hizkiyah, king of Judah at the end of the 8th century BCE.
5.2. A well from the Biblical period which it's deep is 65 meters (the deepest one that was found in Israel from the Biblical period).
5.2. One of the most sophisticated water systems in the desert, from the Biblical period.
In addition to that, you can see the whole structure of a desert city from the biblical time, include the gate, the wall, the Governor’s Palace, and the storerooms.
Attached a link to the website of Tel Be’er Sheba: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/tel-beer-sheva-national-park/
6. Desert Daughter (Tel Sheva)- Desert Daughter is an Authentic Bedouin farm, in Tel Sheva. The story of the place is very unique.
The founder of this site, is a woman from a Bedouin tribe in the Negev. It's not common to see in the Bedouin tribes a woman which are making an independence career (without depending in the family), going to University, and establish a factory of Cosmetics product.
it's interesting to seat there, to hear the story, while drinking Bedouin coffee.
Link to this website is: https://desertdaughter.com/visiting-center/?lang=en
7. Mitzpe Revivim- Mitzpe Revivim is an historical site of one of the first a Jewish settlement in the Negev at modern age. It started as small Kibbutz in the 30s of the 20th century, the settlers suffered from hunger, they had problem of fresh water supply, and they had to deal with attacked from Bedouins in the area.
Later on, they succeed to survived under this difficulties, until 1948 - our Independence War.
When the war started, the Arab forces sieged Revivim, and the local defenders were forced to go underground in bunkers, and to continue fighting under these conditions. Only in December 1948 the area was occupied by IDF reinforcement. Today. it is one of the biggest and richest Kibbutz's in the Negev.
The site shows you the story of the place, include the bunkers they used to live in, and the airplanes they used (at night) to get supply. Very Interesting!!! Link to Revivim website is: http://mitzpe-revivim.com/english/
8. Mamshit National Park- At Mamshit we have two sites which are very interesting and attractive: Mamshit National Park- The Nabatean's ancient city, and, Mamshit Negev Camel Ranch. In paragraph (8) I'm going to focus in the Mamshit National Park.
The Nabateans were the Nomads of the desert in the 2nd Temple time. They dominated the trade route from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, to the Mediterranean Sea's ports such as Gaza, Jaffa and others.
Mamshit is one of the five cities which the Nabateans built in the Negev (Mamshit, Avdat, Shivta, Nitsana, Halutsa).
Although they started as nomads, in the 1st century BC they built several cities which were located on the path of their routing. You can learn about their History through the visit in the site.
Link to the national park of Mamshit's website is: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/mamshit-national-park/
9. Mamshit Negev Camel Ranch - As I described in Paragraph (8), the Negev Camel Ranch, is nearby the National Park.
The special thing in that ranch, is they take you to navigate on Camel in the Area of Mamshit, including the beautiful gorge of Mamshit, they will give you an explanations and stories regarding the Nabatean, as well about the Bedouins.
The camel's ride takes between one hour or more, depends on the route you choose to take.
Nice experience in the desert- worth to try, certainly with kids!
Link to the Negev Camel Ranch website is: https://cameland.co.il/en/homepage/
10. Yeruham- Yeruham is a small town (10000 inhabitants) in the center of the Negev. It was established in 1951, populated with Jewish Refugees which were exiled from The Arab countries because of hate, after Israel was established in 1948. All the world speaks about the 700,000 Palestinian Refugees, No one mention the 850000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, which ran away to Israel while we are fighting for our Independence.
By the way, because 600000 Jews in Israel, got 850000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries+ 150000 Jewish refugees from the Holocaust (Only between 1948-1950) It brought the people in Israel to starvation! I'm not talking about Jewish refugees that came after that (2 million, all together, until 1962). It's a known history in Israel.
As I wrote, Yeruham was established with Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and They were isolated from the center of the country, So, they maintained the culture, the habits and food, which they brought from their countries.
In the last 10 years, some have opened, what we call "Homey restaurants". They are hosting people for private meal- very unique and tasty experience.
After the meal, we can visit the new park which they built there, with lake of fresh water, tables, and nice desert plants and trees.