Beit Shean National Park, properly Bet She’an, contains the ruins of the best-preserved ancient Roman city in Israel.
The Bet She’an is located in the Galilee and has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years.
While today it is a small city, in during the Roman and Byzantine Periods and it was a large and important city that had double the residence it has today.
It was first a Canaanite city, than an Egyptian one, followed by becoming a Hellenistic city state after it was conquered by Alexander the Great.
During the Hellenistic period (4th century BCE), the streets adorned with columns, temples, theaters, markets, bathhouses, and fountains.
The amora Resh Lakish said “If the Garden of Eden is in the Land of Israel, then its gate is Beit Shean.”
Today the main attraction in is the Archaeological National Park where you can walk among the well preserved ruins of the ancient city, similar to Caesarea.
According to the local Hellenistic tradition, the nursemaid of Dionysius was buried here, and a statue of Dionysius discovered, shows that the residents did worship him.
During the Roman Period magnificent public buildings were constructed in the prosperous city.
However, in 7th century, Beit She’an lost its position to Tiberias, and in 749 the city was completely destroyed by a powerful earthquake.
Today, you can see the ancient wall that surrounded the city, public baths, a Roman temple, stores, artisan workshops, the cardo, and other well-preserved structures.
There are also rare mosaics and a Roman amphitheater which is still in use today.
She’an Night Show
This show brings to life the ancient stones by projecting images of horse-drawn carriages, Romans, and buildings onto the ruins.
The screening of the night show covers a large part of the national park including the mound of the biblical Beit She’an and on the remains of the Byzantine Roman city.
It takes place only during the cooler dark hours in the area, providing a different and exciting experience.
The show begins with showing the thousands of years of history of the city of Beit She’an, through city sights, battles, change of government, people, and more.
Afterworlds you walk freely between the ruins of the city, the streets, the marble pillars, the theater, bathhouse, the cardo, amphitheater used for gladiatorial shows, temples, and more.
The experience including sounds and lights that make the overall feel vibrant and real, as if you are there.
Visit Beit Shean
See the Beit Shean webpage for hours and ticket prices.
The best way to get there is by car.
It is possible, but not easy, to get there via public transportation.