Horvat Etri – Visitors Guide – Short Loop Trail to an Ancient Village


Horvat Etri

At Adulam park, using a short loop trail, you can visit Horvat Etri. It is a partially restored Jewish village, which dates to the Second Temple period. Let’s begin exploring!

Note: Horvat Etri is part of the Adulam Grove Nature Reserve. In this grove, you can also find Horvat Midras and Horvat Burgin. Moreover, nearby you can visit Beit Guvrin National Park.

Offers

  • Get 5% off for your next vacation at Isrotel.
  • Get 5% off for your next tour at Bein Harim with coupon code 'LEV5#12305'.

Map

Etri Ruins are located not far from Beit Shemesh, close to Bet Guvrin National Park. There are many excellent trails in this area. And though it is about halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, meaning it is higher at the hills, it still gets boiling during summer. Thus either come early or better visit during Spring or Autumn.

To get there, enter “Horvat Etri” into the navigation app.

Map of the area:

Entrance Fee

Free.

Opening Hours

You can visit at any time. Just make sure to finish before dark, as there is no illumination along the route (the trail takes about 0.5 – 1 hour).

Trails

It is an easy trail to navigate through. We did not use any maps. I entered “Horvat Etri” into Waze, and from the parking, we just followed the signs.

Here is an interactive map from israelhiking.osm.org.il where this trail is marked:

And here are the details of these trails:

NameColor of the Trail on the Map aboveDescriptionDistance (km)Total climb and descent (meters)Notes
Short Loop TrailBlueTo Horvat Etri and back0.862
Longer Loop TrailRedA longer version of the previous path1.782This is only a suggestion. And if you wish to make a longer trail, you can incorporate additional parts. Alternatively, you can visit other places at Adulam Grove Nature.

Most of the path has no shade, thus do not forget water and sunscreen.

Loop trail at Horvat Etri
Loop trail at Horvat Etri

About

Horvat Ethri is a sprawling archaeological site that features a partially restored Jewish village that dates back to the Second Temple period. The site sits upon an elevation of 406 meters (1,332 ft) above sea level, wherein are preserved an ancient synagogue, wine presses, cisterns, ritual baths, and stone ossuaries, as well as an underground system of public hiding places. The site is located in modern-day Israel and is situated in the Judean Hills, southeast of Bet Shemesh, within the Adullam-France Park.

This site stands out among other archaeological sites because of its formidable defensive walls, with massive stones, which led Israeli archaeologist Boaz Zissu to believe that it may have been one of the fifty strongholds in Judea destroyed by Hadrian during the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Source: Wikipedia

At Horvat Etri

From the parking lot, you take the green trail uphill towards Horvat Etri.

The green trail
The green trail

We visited on a sunny day in November. Thus it was not hot. But if you want to see more flowers, then visit during the spring.

Horvat Etri
View from Horvat Etri

The parking lot is located below, behind the trees to the right. And this is what we saw when we reached the top:

Horvat Etri
Horvat Etri
Horvat Etri
Horvat Etri
Horvat Etri

If you look closely at the trails map above, you will notice that you need to make a small detour to visit the caves. And since we initially skipped them, we decided to return.

Mikveh in a cave
Mikveh in a cave
Rock relief cave
Rock relief cave

Since I was with a child carrier backpack, I let my older daughter explore first. And she said that there is not much to see.

Horvat Etri

Further ahead, you will see a lone tree and a viewpoint. From that viewpoint, you can see a living quarter in the eastern part of the village.

At the viewpoint:

Horvat Etri
Horvat Etri

And here is a map of the complex with explanations:

Map of the quarter at Horvat Etri
Map of the quarter

And there are not only buildings above the ground. There are also several underground tunnels built during the Bar Kokhba revolt. The underground passage that was made available to the public is between points #12 and #13.

Horvat Etri
Horvat Etri
Horvat Etri

Point #10, to the southeast of the village, is a rock-hewn winepress. And during the Second Temple period, there were many winepresses in this area.

Rock-hewn winepress
Rock-hewn winepress

And before we leave Horvat Etri, I want to mention the bronze half a sheqel coin found in one of the complexes. The coin has an inscription saying: “Year One of the Freedom of Israel”, which means that it was mint during the third year of the Jewish War. Hence we know that the complexes were used in the Jewish War. You can find images of the coin on page #17 of this paper.

View from Horvat Etri
View from Horvat Etri

We did the longer hike (the one marked in red on the map above) and returned to the parking.

Vineyard by Horvat Etri
Vineyard

As you can see, almost two thousand years later, farmers still grow grapes in this area. And if you want to pick grapes and taste them, I suggest visiting Tali Grapes in Moshav Lachish.

Summary

We enjoyed our visits to Horvat Etri. And if, after this hike, you want more, I would suggest the nearby Horvat Midras, Horvat Burgin, and Beit Guvrin National Park.

Also, at the entrance to Adulam Grove Nature Reserve, you can find a picnic area. And whenever we visit the Adulam forest, we eat lunch there. There are not that many tables there, but we always found a free one.

Have you visited Horvat Etri? Tell us in the comment below about your experience.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!

Stay Tuned!

   

Additional Resources

Here are several resources that I created to help travelers: And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.  
Did not find what you were looking for? Email me at hi@israel-in-photos.com, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Lev Tsimbler

Lev from israel-in-photos.com. You can contact me at hi@israel-in-photos.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts