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Nitzana

Nitzana National Park is the ruins of the is ancient Nabataean city located in the Negev desert in Israel.

It was part of the Nabataean Incense Route which stretched in Israel from Shivta through Ramon Crater.

Other ancient Nabatean cities along the route are Mamshit and Avdat.

Nitzana was founded by the Nabataeans in the 3rd century BC and conquered by Romans two centuries later.

It was then and inhabited by Byzantine until the invasion of the Muslim in the seventh century.

In 63 BC the Romans conquered the area and archaeological finds indicate that it was a flourishing settlement during the Rome period. 

Numerous coins, ceramic, and fragments of expensive glass vessels were found in the excavations, indicating that the settlement expanded and enjoyed prosperity. 

The impressive staircase leading up to the upper city is also dated to its time.

After the death of the last of the Nabataean king, the settlement declined but continued to exist mainly for agriculture. 

However, in the late 3rd century, Nitzana flourished again and became one of the fortress cities in the Negev.

The settlement in Nitzana reached its peak in the last quarter of the 6th century, during the reign of Emperor Tiberius II.

The city steadily declined after the invasion of the Muslim in the 7th century and by 10th century, there was no longer a real settlement in Nitzana.

Nitzana was abandoned for nearly a thousand years and the ancient construction on the site was preserved until 1902, when the Ottomans began building a police station there. 

In 1906, the Ottomans established an administrative center there and destroying most of the ancient buildings. 

The valleys around Nitzana has preserved terraces, fences, and canals of the inhabitants of ancient Nitzana.

In the orchard located in the western part of the national park, ancient terraces are being restored with the help of members of the local youth village.

In the orchard are fruit trees, including pomegranate, fig, olive and carob.

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