Tourist’s guide to Be’er Sheva – a city in Israel in the middle of the desert

In many sources about the city of Be’er Sheva (Israel) there are quite conflicting and mixed reviews. Someone writes that this is a sultry provincial town located in a desert area, and someone says that it is a rapidly developing community. To make your own opinion about Beersheba, you need to come here and take a walk around the city.

City of Beersheba

Photo: Be’er Sheva, Israel

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General information about the city of Be’er Sheva in Israel

Well of Abraham
“Well of the oath”

Be’er Sheva is a city with a history of more than 3.5 millennia. In this place, Abraham dug a well to water the herds, here he made an agreement with the king and sacrificed seven sheep. That is why the name of the city in translation means “Well of seven” or “Well of the oath.”

The capital of the Negev is located near the southern border of Judea. Distance to Jerusalem is a little more than 80 km, to Tel Aviv – 114 km. Area – 117.5 sq. Km. Be’er Sheva is the largest city in southern Israel and the fourth largest in the country. The settlement is mentioned many times in the Bible, although the city did not take on a modern look until 1900. The tourists who believe that there is nothing interesting except the desert are mistaken. A trip to Be’er Sheva will radically change your impression of this Israeli city, which looks like American megacities.

Interesting fact! The city of Be’er Sheva in Israel is the only settlement in the Middle East where the square was named after the creator of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Square, Be'er Sheva
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Square

The modern settlement was founded in 1900. Be’er Sheva is the name of an ancient settlement, which was previously located on the site of the city. In three years, 38 houses were built here, and the population was 300 people. Construction continued – a mosque appeared, the governor’s house, a railway was built in Bee Sheva connecting the city with Jerusalem. Thus, already at the beginning of the 20th century, a large industrial center appeared on the map of Israel. Today, about 205 thousand people live here.

Air temperature in Be'er Sheva

The weather in Be’er Sheva is characteristic of the steppe zone – it is hot in summer and there is no rain. Precipitation occurs only in winter, most of them in January. There are sandstorms at night, and fogs in the morning. In summer, the air temperature rises to + 33 ° C (at night + 18 ° C), and in winter it drops to + 19 ° C (at night – + 8 ° C). Due to the low humidity, the heat is more easily tolerated than in coastal cities.

Historical excursion

Previously, a fairly large commercial and religious center of Canaan was located on the site of Be’er Sheva.In different years, the settlement was ruled by the Romans, Byzantines, Turks and British. Unfortunately, the new government ruthlessly destroyed all traces of the predecessors being in the city. That is why the history of Be’er Sheva in Israel remained mainly on the pages of history textbooks.

Turkish bridge

In the 19th century, after the destruction that the Arabs brought after them, only ruins and a scorched desert remained at the site of the settlement. The Ottomans revived the city, while the plan assumed a clear checkerboard structure – the avenues and streets were located strictly perpendicularly. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, important religious and social objects appeared on the city: a railway, a mosque, schools, the governor’s house. However, the accelerated pace of construction did not stop the British from attacking the city, driving the Turks out of its territory. It happened in 1917.

Modern Be’er Sheva is a bright, spacious, green city, which locals call a university city, since Ben-Gurion University is located here. The appearance of the village is different from typical Israeli settlements – you will not find bridge typical of Israel, but in the old quarters there are many decent restaurants.

Ben-Gurion University of David
Ben Gurion University

Interesting fact! The second-largest hospital in Soroka was built in Be’er Sheva, and the historical part of the city, together with the national park, are listed as World Heritage Sites.

Attractions in Be’er Sheva

The centuries-old history of the Israeli settlement has left a rich cultural and religious heritage and, of course, many attractions. However, today Be’er Sheva claims to be a high-tech settlement.

International Visitor Center Well of Abraham

It is a pleasure for travelers to walk around the old quarters; guests are sure to drop by Derech Hebron Street, where the biblical source has been preserved. Nearby there is the Abraham Well Museum, here through computer technology, animations demonstrate the development of Be’er Sheva. Most of the attractions are concentrated in historical quarters. Children are happy to visit the thematic museum, here they introduce the history of the development of railway communication, as well as the city zoo. For more than a century, the urban population has come to the Bedouin bazaar, exotic goods are presented here – carpets, copper products, oriental sweets, spices, hookahs.

One of the streets of Be'er Sheva

There are many green spaces in Be’er Sheva. In the industrial park area there is a weaving factory. 5 km from the city is a national park where the ruins of an ancient settlement dating from the 11th century BC have been preserved, there is an aviation museum in Israel. Nahal Be’er Sheva Park, located in the forest, invites you to hide from the sweltering heat. In the park zone 8 km long, tourist paths, playgrounds, picnic areas are organized.

Interesting fact! The city of Be’er Sheva has no access to the sea, but the authorities managed to mitigate this shortcoming – a huge fountain 5 km long was installed in City Park, and a beach was equipped near it.

For fans of outdoor activities there is a sports complex “Kunhiya”, an area for skateboarding is equipped.

Residence Aref El Aref
House of Aref El Aref

In 1929, Aref el-Aref took the position of governor, built a house opposite his own residence. Columns for the building brought from Jerusalem. There is a fountain in the courtyard. Today the building is occupied by the construction company, which carried out the reconstruction of the building. The villa was radically different from most houses in the city, built of yellow sandstone.

Good to know! Aref al-Aref is an Arab historian, politician, well-known public figure, journalist, and also an officer of the Turkish army. During the war, he spent three years in Russian captivity.

Israel Aviation Museum

Located next to the Hazerim air base, it is considered the best aviation museum not only in Israel, but also in the world. The collection includes airplanes, helicopters of different historical periods, civil aviation. There are anti-aircraft artillery, missile systems, elements of downed aircraft, and air defense systems. The collection includes modern aircraft models, antique vehicles that took part in historical events. Among the technology there are many copies of the period of the Second World War, there is an exhibition dedicated to Soviet aviation.

Israel Aviation Museum

Photo: Be’er Sheva, Israel.

It is noteworthy that the military base was built by local residents, not the British. In 1966, the first flight academy was opened on its territory. The museum complex was founded in 1977, but the attraction was not opened for visitors until 1991.

Interesting fact! The founder of the complex – the commander of the military air base Yaakov Turner, was able to realize the idea of ​​General-Major David Ivri.

Rocket at the Israel Aviation Museum

Practical information:

  • historical films are shown to tourists; the viewing room is equipped right in the cabin of a Boeing;
  • You can visit the exhibition every day except Saturday from 8-00 to 17-00, on Friday – it works according to the reduced schedule – until 13-00;
  • ticket price: adult – 30 shekels, children – 20 shekels;
  • You can get to the sights by bus – No. 31, departure every hour, as well as by train, see the schedule on the official website of the railway;
  • Infrastructure: gift shop, cafe, relaxation area, playgrounds, park.
F-4E Phantom Aircraft

Negen Museum of Art

The attraction is four small rooms where temporary exhibitions are held. The building was built in 1906 and is part of a complex of government buildings.

Negen Museum of Art

The museum is located in a two-story building. The facade of which is decorated with vaulted arches. The interior is fully consistent with the status of the governor’s house. During the First World War, officers of the British Army lived here. In 1938, a school for girls was located here. In the mid-20th century, the building housed the local municipality. Two decades later, the governor’s residence began to be used as an art branch of the Archaeological Museum.

Good to know! In 1998, the building was declared damaged. Reconstruction was carried out from 2002 to 2004.

The work of artists

A modern attraction is two exhibition galleries where temporary exhibitions are presented. Here you can always see the works of famous and young Israeli artists – sculptors, artists, photographers.

Also on site is the Archaeological Museum, which displays artifacts discovered during excavations near Be’er Sheva. The exposition details the history of the settlement of the city in Israel, from the Hellenic stage to the present day.

Interesting fact! A separate exhibition is dedicated to traditions in Judaism and Jewish culture. The museum has an extensive library, so students often come here.

Exposition at the Negen Museum of Art

Practical information:

  • Address: Ha-Atzmut Street, 60;
  • work schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – from 10-00 to 16-00, Wednesday – from 12-00 to 19-00, Friday and Saturday – from 10-00 to 14-00;
  • ticket price – adult – 15 shekels, children – 10 shekels;
  • You can get to the sights by bus number 3 or number 13, as well as by train.

British war cemetery

The cemetery buried soldiers who died during the First World War, who defended the approaches to Jerusalem from the attack of the Ottoman Empire. The cemetery is organized according to the British principle – before God all are equal. Here, officers and soldiers, Muslims and Jews, Protestants and Catholics are buried in the same row. There are still graves of unidentified soldiers in the cemetery. Many of the remains were transferred to Beersheba from Jerusalem.

British war cemetery

Good to know! The attraction is located on Mount Scopus near the Hadassah Hospital and near the university.

The tradition of signing tombstones came about thanks to Fabian Weer, a British Red Cross volunteer. The authorities supported the initiative of the soldier and conducted a census of those killed in the First World War, for this a state commission was established to conduct military burial places.

At the British military cemetery in Beersheba

On the territory of the attraction, a memorial is established in honor of the soldiers who died in Egypt during the First World War. In total, 1241 people were buried in the cemetery.

Tel Be’er Sheva National Park

The attraction in Be’er Sheva in Israel is famous and popular among tourists. Historians often come here. Ten archaeological layers have been discovered in this part of Israel, and the oldest water pumping facility has been found. By the way, thanks to the excavations, experts determined that already in biblical times, people had engineering knowledge and put them into practice.

Tel Be'er Sheva National Park

All detected objects are reconstructed. For most of the ancient settlement, residential buildings were located, the market was at the city gates, and streets were diverging from it. The main building in the city was a granary, unique is the fact that traces of grain were found in it. The largest building in ancient Beersheba is the ruler’s castle.

Interesting fact! During archaeological work in the territory of the settlement in Israel, a horned altar was discovered. The Bible indicates that the horns are sacred – if you touch them, a person acquires immunity.

On an excursion to Tel Be'er Sheva Park

Practical information:

  • you can get to the sights along the Be’er Sheva highway, you need to follow to the Shoket intersection, which is located south of the Bedouin settlements (10 minutes from Be’er Sheva);
  • work schedule: from April to September – from 8-00 to 17-00, from October to March – from 18-00 to 16-00;
  • ticket price: adult – 14 shekels, children – 7 shekels.

Where to stay and the cost of food

Hotel Esel Mansion - Boutique Suites
Eshel Mansion – Boutique Suites

Service Booking offers 20 accommodation options for tourists. The most budget option – $ 55 – two-bedroom apartment. A classic double studio in a 3-star hotel will cost from $ 147, and for an improved room you will have to pay $ 184.

As for nutrition, there are no problems in Be’er Sheva. There are many cafes and restaurants; you can also have a bite to eat at McDonald’s restaurants. Rates range from $ 12.50 for a lunch at McDonald’s to $ 54 an average dinner in a restaurant for two.

Find out RATES or book any accommodation using this form

How to get to Be’er Sheva

Train transfer at Haganah station

The nearest airport to the city is Ben Gurion, located in Tel Aviv. It can be reached by train. The road takes about 2 hours, the fare is 27 shekels. Trains depart directly from the airport terminal and follow to the Haganah stop in Tel Aviv, here you will have to change trains to the next train to Beersheba. There are also flights from Haifa and Netanya.

Buses from Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva:

  • No. 380 (follows from the Arlozorov terminal);
  • No. 370 (departing from the bus station).

The cost of tickets is 17 shekels, the frequency of flights is every 30 minutes.

Important! On Friday, public transport does not go after 15-00, so you can leave Tel Aviv only until 14-00. The only way to get to Be’er Sheva is by taxi or transfer.

Video: a walk in the city of Be’er Sheva.

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