Did you know there are pyramids not only in Egypt but Israel as well? Today we are going for a hike at Midras Ruins. This short round trail has beautiful nature, and it is packed with archeological remains. Let’s begin!
Map of the area:
Midras Ruins are located not far from Beit Shemesh, close to Bet Guvrin – Maresha 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 too hot during summer. Thus either come early or better visit during Spring or Autumn.
Adulam Grove Nature Reserve
Horvat Midras is part of Adulam Grove Nature Reserve. Adulam Grove Nature Reserve extends over 5,000 dunams.
Different species of animals inhabit this area. Including mountain gazelles, striped hyenas, caracals, badgers, and chukars. There are also many songbirds in this area.
In Spring the reserve is covered with wildflowers, like orchids, buttercups, anemones, and narcissus. Thus, Spring is the best time for a visit.
Along the route, we are going to see remains of the human settlement from the Second Temple period (third century BCE).
At Horvat Midras Ruins Trail
Most of the path has no shade, thus do not forget water and sunscreen.
The Refugee Caves
The refugee caves are a system of underground chambers connected by narrow crawl spaces. Dozens of these systems were discovered in the Judean area. Many archeologists believe these caves were created during Bar Kokhva revolt (132-135 CE). Jewish rebels used the caves as hiding places from the Roman army.
You can take the stairs to the bottom of the cave, and in the left corner, you can see a hole. The hole is a small and short tunnel that most kids can enjoy. If you plan to crawl inside, then better bring a flashlight.
This structure built of dresses stone is the only one of its kind in Israel. The base is about ten meters long, and it is currently 3.5 meters high. The top three rows of stone, together with which the height was around five meters, are missing.
The pyramid is located in the cemetery of the ancient village at Midras Ruins and was probably a monument to people buried in the cave below it.
The wall of beautiful dressed stone suggests it is a public building. And the big rock next to the structure might have been part of a niche for menorah and Torah scroll. The slot and the closeness to Jewish burial cave support the theory that this was a synagogue.
The sherd discovered in the cave indicate that it was used from the end of the first century CE until Bar Kokhba revolt.
The Columbarium Cave
Note: this route is not part of a national park. Thus the entrance is free, and you can visit at any time.
The Midras Ruins trail is not a long one. It took us about two hours to complete the path. And if you make it at a good pace (no photography and food stops) then you can finish it in a little more than an hour. After the trail, you can find a table in the nearby forest for a short picnic. Just like we did.
Horvat Midras is a lovely circular route that both kids and adults will enjoy. There is a lot of nature and space for kids to run and remains to explore. And there are also many points of interest along the way. In many trails, you walk for an hour or even more between different points of interest. But at Midras Ruins trail you will find archeological remains every ten minutes.
All of the above make it a favorite trail among locals and at some entrances to caves we had to wait for a while, but it was worth it.
Have you visited Horvat Midras? Tell us in the comment below about your experience.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!