Unesco names seven new world heritage sites in Israel

Unesco names seven new world heritage sites in Israel
Travel Video Tv - The World on the Web
July 26, 2005

Seven new Israeli archaeological sites were added to UNESCO's list of world heritage sites in July, bringing the total number of such sites in Israel to 10. Three of the newly-designated sites are archaeological tells, prehistoric mounds that conceal layers of ancient settlement dating back to biblical times or earlier.

The tells of Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba are considered among the most outstanding of some 200 tells that dot the Israeli landscape, and date back to biblical times.

The sites have yielded many treasures and shed light on the history of the different nations that inhabited the Land of Israel in biblical time, particularly the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Megiddo and Hazor were protected by enormous fortress walls with impressive gates, castles, temples, storage rooms, stables and water cisterns.

Four historic desert cities, active in the time of the Nabatean spice trade, were also added to the UNESCO list. The cities of Ovdat, Shivta, Halutza and Mamsheet are all in the Negev desert. From roughly the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE, the spice route extended some 2,400 km from Yemen via Saudi Arabia and Jordan through the Negev to the Mediterranean Sea and from there to Europe. The route was used to transport frankincense, myrrh, spices, gold, silver, jewellery and fabrics. Public baths, guard towers, ritual altars and sophisticated irrigation systems have been uncovered in these ancient cities.

Dani Shahal, Consul- Tourism and Director of the Israel Government Tourist Office in Canada stated, “We are hopeful that the new designations will strengthen Canadian and international tourism to Israel”.

Israel's three previous world heritage sites are Masada, the Old City of Acre, and the architecturally significant "White City" of Tel Aviv. UNESCO, the educational, scientific and cultural arm of the United Nations. http://whc.unesco.org