a special celebration in a huge cave, in a place
known as the site of the ancient cities of Maresha
and Beit Guvrin. If you’ve conjured up an image of
a dark, dank place, through which you may even
have to crawl to reach, think again. The Bell Cave
at Beit Guvrin doesn’t fit this image at all. Its
walls are made of beige colored limestone, it is
large (over 60 feet high), airy and is easily
accessible. It is also a very unique place to hold
a special event. While there are numerous bell
caves within the park grounds, events are only
held in one of these caves. It is one of about 800
bell-shaped caves located in the area. Many of
these caves are linked via an underground network
of passageways that connect groups of 40-50 caves.
While the bell cave at which events are held is
easy to reach many of the other caves can only be
reached by rappelling into them – or in fact
crawling. There are roughly 2000 caves in the Beit
Guvrin area Today it’s known that the bell caves
served as quarries that supplied building
materials to the cities of the coastal plain and
Beit Guvrin during the seventh-tenth centuries CE.
At the top of cave there is a hole (see photo)–
through which quarry was removed.
The town of Beit Guvrin replaced the city of
Maresha, one of the Judean cities mentioned in the
Bible (Joshua 15:44 and Chronicles 2, 11; 5-8) as
a city fortified by Rehoboam, so that it could
withstand Egyptian attack. In 112 BCE Maresha was
conquered by the Hasmonean king, John Hyracanus I,
who destroyed the city and gave residents the
choice of expulsion or conversion to Judaism. The
town managed to recover somewhat and was
ultimately destroyed in 40 BCE.
During the Roman and Byzantine periods there
was a large Jewish population here and during the
Roman period the city was given the status of
“city of freeman” and named Eleutheroolis. Beit
Guvrin was the most important city in the area and
thrived until the Bar Kochva revolt (132-135 CE).
According to Josephus Flavius Beit Guvrin was
conquered by the Roman general Vespasian. The
remains of a large Jewish cemetery were discovered
on site. Additionally, a Roman-Byzantine
amphitheater, public baths, mosaics and burial
tombs were also found here. It was also an
important center of Christianity and had many
churches. The remains of St. Anne’s church are
Beit Guvrin National Park is a wondrous place
where one can easily spend half a day exploring
many caves (Tel Maresha, site of the ancient city
is located at the highest point on the park
grounds). Visiting the park one can see the
remains of an urban center that has existed
consistently from the first century on (though
destroyed and rebuilt many times over).
Beit Guvrin National Park is located off Rt.
#35 across from Kibbutz Beit Guvrin, at the
junction of roads that lead from the Judean
foothills to Jerusalem and Hebron. Beit Guvrin is
35 miles south of Jerusalem, (56 kilometers) at an
altitude of 820-1150 above sea level.
If you choose to organize your special event,
on your own – here are some of the fees you’ll
incur. I. Basic Event Fee* 100 people 2200 NIS 200
people 3200 NIS 400 people 4200 NIS II. Entry Fee
50% discount on per person entry fee (as listed
below) III. Hourly Fee 200 NIS/per hour There is a
special fee for operating the park after hours.
IV. Lighting 500-1000 NIS V. Insurance
Then, you still have to think of a caterer,
* Prices listed are for December 1999. Note
there may be slight changes in pricing for 2000.
Park entry fees: Individual - adult 18 NIS, child
9 NIS. Groups - adult 15 NIS, child 8 NIS October
– March – 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM April – September –
8:00 Am – 5:00 PM
07/681-1020, 07/681-2957 TEL 07/681-2957 FAX
If you would like more information about planning an event in Israel, please fill out our online form.