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Shivta

Shivta National Park is the remains of a Nabatean city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is located in the Negev Desert between Nitzana and Be’er Sheva not far from the Egyptian border.

Most of the origins of the town is unknown and the meaning of the name Shivta is unclear.

The earliest Nabatean coins and inscriptions found at the city date to the beginning of the 2nd century BCE.

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

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

Trade along the Incense Route declined, until it ceased altogether in the 3rd century CE.

The majority of the homes found at the site were built during the Byzantine period, a time when Shivta began to flourish.

Shivta continue to exist even after the Muslim conquest, but its residents gradually left their homes until, by the end of the 9th century, it was completely abandoned.

Unlike most cities in the Negev, it was not destroyed, but abandoned with windows and doors blocked up, seemingly with the anticipation the intention to return.

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