Beth Shean (Scythopolis)

Beth Shean

The ruins of Beth Shean lies 17 miles (27 km) from the south shores of Sea of Galilee. The city is situated on the junction of the Harod valley and Jordan valley of the Lower Jordan river. Due to its abundance of fresh water and rich fertile lands it gave rise to Jewish saying “If the Garden of Edein is in the land of Israel, then its gate is Beth Shean”.


Location: Map

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History of Beth Shean

People have settled these lands since the Copper Age. Archaeological digs that lasted for almost a century discovered important artefacts and structures from the early human presence in the region including a series of temples from the Middle and Late Bronze age.
The importance and size of the city was marked by Egyptian pharaohs who made this the center of Canaan province. Stelaes with inscriptions from the time of reign of Seti I and Ramses II and even the house of the Egyptian pharaoh were found here. Many artefacts are now preserved in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. Parts of the Egyptian mud brick houses were reconstructed.
Romans rebuild this city under orders of Pompey in 63 BC. Its new name was Scythopolis or “city of the scythians” (cf. Col 3:11). The city prospered and grew until it was not destroyed on January 18, 794 AD. People took it as a bad omen and relocated abandoning the city. As you go around the city you can see evidences of destructive force of nature.