Avdat

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Avdat

The ancient Nabataean fortress was built along the Gaza - Petra spice route during the first century BCE. The town that surrounded it was inhabited until the 7th century, when it was destroyed by an earthquake.

History of Avdat

On top of the hill, one can see 100 square meters of the Roman Fortress, built when the Romans annexed Nabataea. During this time period, there was a Roman encampment here. This was built during the 3rd century CE. At this same time, a tower and bathhouses were also built. According to inscriptions found, the builders were from Petra.


Avdat prospered as a trading city, and then in agriculture and wine production.






A Nabataean inscription from the late 5th century – the latest Nabataean inscription that has been found in Israel to date – was found in Avdat. Sketched on plaster with black ink, the inscription was of a blessing to the Nabataean god Dushara.


Inside the main fortress, one can find many buildings and wells. Many different religious groups inhabited Avdat, including Christians and Muslims; altars and baptism pools are still in place. Saint Theodore’s Church is one of two churches housed in the acropolis of Avdat. Tombstones with Greek inscriptions can be found in the floor of the ruined church. A monastery is close by.


In the 7th century, the town was destroyed completely by an earthquake. It was never reinhabited.

What is at Avdat today?

The cutout camels and animals which mark the spice route can be seen throughout the desert as you follow the ancient path, but in Avdat, they are placed to welcome the visitor, to show where the animals drank, where the traders traded, and where the wine was stored in the cool homes. These homes were built into the hill to shelter the traveler, and had their own ancient form of air conditioning.


Ruins from the acropolis can still be explored. Below the ruined city of Avdat is a rest stop with bathrooms, two restaurants and a gift shop.


When you travel, don't forget sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses - and most important of all, water.

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