CAVES IN IS­RAEL NOW A WORLD HER­ITAGE SITE

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

MIL­LEN­NIA-OLD MAN-MADE cave tun­nels lo­cated just out­side Jerusalem have been de­clared a World Her­itage site.

The caves of Beit Gu­vrin-Mare­sha — dubbed a city un­der a city — were used by Jewish rebels dur­ing a re­volt against the Ro­mans.

These in­tri­cate caves, ex­ca­vated from a thick and ho­moge­nous layer of soft chalk in Lower Judea, are sit­u­ated be­low the an­cient twin towns of Mare­sha and Beit Gu­vrin lo­cated just off the Bet ShemeshKiryat Gat road

They have been used as quar­ries, burial sites, baths, store­rooms and hide­outs in trou­bled times for thou­sands of years from the Iron Age to the Cru­sades.

The com­plex un­der­ground cis­tern sys­tems were used by the towns­folk of Mare­sha dur­ing the Hel­len­sitic pe­riod.

This new UNESCO award was an­nounced in Qatar last week by the World Her­itage com­mit­tee. It brings the to­tal World Her­itage sites in Is­rael to eight.

These in­clude Masada, the Old City of Acre and the Ba­hai Holy Shrines in Haifa.

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