Bet Shean! Early in our trip planning, we decided that we wanted to revisit this site. On our last trip, we had walked in without a clue as to what we were seeing and were simply amazed. The brochure given at admission is like a teaser giving a brief overview yet there is so much more about this fascinating place! Excavations have uncovered 20 levels of occupation dating back to the 5th millennium B.C.E – 7,000 years ago. Elements of these occupations have been restored and others are in the process of being restored. It is one of the few ancient cities in the world whose history is revealed both by the remnants unearthed today and through chronicles and other writings denoting its existence.
Bet Shean is a large site. You can get a feel for it in the photos. Here are some personal comments:
We are determined to walk to the top of the Tell! This is an accomplishment on two accounts: 1) we had passed on this four years ago and we were determined to get there this time 2) the temperature is close to 97 degrees! We are rewarded by seeing the oldest part of Bet Shean and also a great view looking down at the Roman excavated section of Bet Shean. As we gaze at one of the vistas, my husband says that the view probably hasn’t changed much in thousands of years. We are surprised how much more excavation has been done in the past four years – amazing.
We spent about three hours walking around in the afternoon, went to our lodging to rest awhile, had dinner and then returned for the evening sound and light show called “She’an Nights”.
Here are some tips for visiting “She’an Nights”:
• Contact information for making reservations for the Sound and Light Show:
Email: Yafit at firstname.lastname@example.org
• When making reservation, ask for an English speaking group. If this is not being offered on your date, request nicely if there is any possibility that one could be arranged.
• If an English speaking group cannot be arranged, then you’re your reservation for 1st showing of the movie. For our date (it depends upon time of sundown), it was 8 PM. Arrive 30 minutes early and ask nicely for the English movie. It’s 10 minutes long and gives a really good overview and it’s very entertaining. In our case, they were really nice to us and for the evening sound test at 7:50 PM they did it in English. Because we were the only ones, we could even take photos.
• One of the park staff had said that in advance they should have booked an English tour after the movie. As it turned out there were a number of non-Hebrew speaking people on the walking tour so they could easily have filled an English speaking group.
• The group walk through the lit sections would have been really good, but it was a waste of time since we didn’t understand a word. We spoke with some other tourists who also didn’t speak Hebrew. We decided to just walk around the lit areas – there really is no need to stay with your group. By ourselves in the evening light combined with special landscape lights in Bet Shean it was an “only in Israel” experience.
• Important – if you are not on an English tour, at least read about Bet She’an a little before so have a sense of the history before coming – or come in the afternoon and walk through with a guide book.
Bet She’an National Park is a fascinating place and definitely going out of your way to visit!
You can see more photos here: http://www.margieswebgallery.com/galleries/Israel2012/Israelday10/
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.