Mamshit National Park
The 2000 year old Nabatean city of Mamshit has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is definitely worthy of this honor. Mamshit National Park is located on the Be’er Sheva-Dimona road (no. 25) about 8 km southeast of Dimona.
Mamshit’s fame comes from it being a stop over on the road along on the Incense Route connecting the Mountains of Edom by way of the Arava Valley north via the Scorpions Ascent to Hebron and Jerusalem or west to the port of Gaza. Since the “tel” mound is only 40 dunams (10 acres), Mamshit is the smallest of the Negev’s Nabatean cities. Howevere it is the best restored.
When trade in Mamshit declined following the Roman occupation, the inhabitants made a successful living raising Arabian steeds. Later, Byzantine Mamshit was supported by authorities as a frontier city but after the time of Emperor Justinian the city ceased to exist.
Visitors can take a 1-2 tour of Mamshit’s restored streets, Nabatean rooms, courtyards and stone terraces with strong arches to support the ceilings. The best seasons to visit are spring, winter and fall.
Be sure to complete this itinerary:
- Lookout – with partial wheelchair access
- The wealthy house
- The impressive western “Nile Church” features a mosaic floor with colorful geometric patterns, birds, a fruit basket, and five Greek inscriptions.
- The eastern church there are the remnants of a pulpit on small marble pillars.
- Horse stables
- British Mandate Police Station
You may want to choose to camp out at the National Park’s Nabatean Khan (caravansary).
On some holidays, when the market street is recreated, to enable you to experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the Nabatean era. Check out with your tour guide.
Panorama from the three-story Nabatean Tower
Panorama from the British Mandate Police Station
- Sunday-Thursday And Saturday-8 A.M.-5 P.M
- Friday and Holiday evenings- 8A.M.- 4 P.M.
- Sunday-Thursday And Saturday-8 A.M.-4 P.M
- Friday And Holiday evenings- 8 A.M.- 3 P.M.
- Last entry one hours before above closing hour
Entrance fee and camping fee required
Bibliography: “Masters of the desert” – Avraham Negev [Keter 533190; 1983]