Beer Sheva Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Beer Sheva?
Those that know the Old Testament will know that Beer Sheva or Beersheba as it was known then is the site of Abraham’s Well where he drew water and where he agreed a treaty with the Philistines. Today the city is the sixth largest in the country and sits on the edge of the inhospitable Negev Desert. It now has skyscrapers and a modern vibrant atmosphere but attracts tourists because of its history and the feeling of true Israel about the city. It’s also home to a thriving agricultural industry, watered by the many wells that pepper the area.
How do I get to Beer Sheva?
As with most provincial cities in Israel, the international airport is many miles away in Tel Aviv
. Whilst flights from across Europe including London
land at the airport, you are looking at a ninety minute journey by car so a far better option is to take the train from Tel Aviv Airport
straight to Beer Sheva and if you want to explore the area, hire a car there.
What is There to See and Do in Beer Sheva?
There’s plenty to occupy you whilst in Beer Sheva. Begin with a trip to the eastern part of the city and as the city ends, look out over the unforgiving Negev Desert. You’ll be likely to see Bedouin camping in the desert around the city. For an idea of life in the area in biblical times, go to the Tel Beer Sheva Archaeological Park where excavations and a small museum chronicle life there 2,000 years ago. Not far from there you’ll find the World War I cemetery where allied troops, mostly British, fought the Turks. For a museum dedicated to the modern struggle for Israelis, the Air Force Museum displays many of the aircraft that have protected its borders since the 1948 war.
What can I buy as Souvenirs in Beer Sheva?
A great purchase for friend and family back home is a pack or two of the local dried dates. On the periphery of the irrigated zones, vast swathes of date palms produce tonne upon tonne of the delicious sweet fruit. In the city itself, you’ll often find Bedouin markets which sell all kinds of interesting handcrafted souvenirs.
What Should I eat When in Beer Sheva?
You’ve got to try the dates which are far smoother and moister than the packs we get at home. Often served with coffee or to accompany drinks, they can be stuffed with almond paste or flavoured with rose water. Elsewhere, traditional savoury food consists of stewed mutton with rice but the locally produced vegetables make for a healthy side dish.
What do I do for Entertainment?
Having a large student population, the city is big on bars and nightclubs. Try to hitch up with some locals; it shouldn’t be hard as everyone is friendly there. Tour the bars and clubs of the old Turkish quarter where the atmosphere is more authentic.
There’s a lot of history and religion there for nearby is the well attributed to Abraham. For those who are more secular minded, the Israeli Air Force has its museum there. As one of the world’s most active air forces, the displays give a great idea of how determined the Israelis are to defend their state.
Another poignant military sight is the British World War I Cemetery. Few people imagine that the Great War was fought there as well as in the trenches but the rows of crosses and headstones soon educate the visitor.