Shivta National Park is a remarkable destination in Israel that offers visitors a glimpse into the ancient Nabataean civilization. Located in the heart of the Negev desert, Shivta National Park is one of the most well-preserved sites of its kind in the world. Here, visitors can explore the ruins of the ancient Shivta city and discover this once-thriving community’s fascinating history.
Shivta National Park features several well-preserved structures, including a church, a monastery, and several homes. Visitors can walk through the city’s narrow streets and get a sense of what life was like in ancient times. The park also features a visitors’ center, where visitors can learn more about the city’s history and the Nabataean civilization.
The city of Shivta was founded over 1,500 years ago, during the Byzantine era. It was a thriving city in its time, with a population of around 3,000 people. The city was strategically located along the ancient Spice Route that connected the Mediterranean Sea with the Far East, and it served as an important trading hub for the Nabataeans. The Nabataeans were known for their sophisticated water management system, which allowed them to survive in the harsh desert environment. Today, visitors to Shivta National Park can explore the ruins of the city and learn about its history.
Church of St. Menas
So one of the highlights of a visit to Shivta National Park is the Northern Church. This church is one of the world’s most well-preserved examples of Byzantine architecture, featuring stunning mosaics and frescoes. The church was named after St. Menas, an Egyptian martyr famous among the Nabataeans.
Visitors can also see the remains of the monastery and the homes of the city’s inhabitants. Another attraction of Shivta National Park is the beautiful desert landscape. The park is in the heart of the Negev Desert, and visitors can take a guided tour to explore the surrounding area. The desert is home to various unique plants and animals, and visitors can learn about the ecosystem of the desert and how it has adapted to harsh conditions.
Overall, visiting Shivta National Park is a fascinating and educational experience that offers visitors a glimpse into the ancient Nabataean civilization. With its well-preserved ruins, stunning architecture, and beautiful desert landscape, Shivta National Park is a must-see destination in Israel.
Shivta National Park Opening Hours:
Note: Last entry to the site is one hour before the site’s closing time!
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00-17:00
Friday and holiday eves: 08:00-16:00
Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00-16:00
Friday and holiday eves: 08:00-15:00
Holiday eves: 08:00-13:00
Yom Kippur eve: 08:00-13:00
On holidays and Saturdays, I recommend arriving early; entry is based on availability.
For groups of more than 30, visits can be reserved outside of regular hours with an additional fee.