After Matsada, we drove south-west for about an hour to reach Ber Sheva (Beersheba).
We start at Tel Ber Sheva, which is basically much like any other tel we’ve been to, to be honest.
Except that it had a facsimile of the four-horned altar found there.
This altar in particular is mentioned somewhere in the Old Testament, I think Kings somewhere, but I can’t remember where exactly (if it were mentioned).
The gates were pretty standard.
We climbed up a small tower to get a view of the landscape.
After climbing back down to the carpark, we drove into the modern Ber Sheva, which wasn’t far away. People kept saying it was a town of no more than half-a-million (a small town of half-a-million?!!) but there were lots of apartment buildings going on for ages.
Ber Sheva is a booming university town.
Finally, we reached Australia Park. It’s actually funded by an Australian company and has been specifically designed for special-needs children. If a special-needs group books it, the entire park is closed and made secure for them.
At the far end is the Charge of the Light Horse memorial.
There were at least twelve brigades of Light Horseman from across Australia and New Zealand who were fighting in this area in WW1. Two of them, 4 and 12, made the charge and took Ber Sheva back from the Ottomans – so something that the Crusaders failed to do, and Napoleon failed to do, to win Israel back from the Muslims, was achieved by about 800 boys from farms in a country only 16 years old.
Taking Ber Sheva opened the way all the way up to Jerusalem, so Australians and Kiwis were some of the first people to set foot in Jerusalem after the Ottomans.
Not surprisingly, there’s going to be a massive ceremony here in the latter half of next year, with modern ANZAC soldiers dressed in period uniform.
We went a little Australia-crazy.