Tel Arad National Park (official site) is located on South of Israel northwest of the modern city of Arad.
Map of the area:
Tel Arad is one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel, on which were found the remains of a fortified Canaanite city and fortresses from the time of the Kings of Judah
Source: official site
Tel Arad has two parts: the lower city and the upper city (which are quite close to one another).
Tel Arad – Lower City
The lower city was inhabited only in the Early Bronze Age (3150-2200 BCE). At approximately 100 dunams (25 acres) Arad was one of the largest cities of its day in the country, and a strong 1,200-meter wall surrounds it. The city’s streets, plazas, and buildings were meticulously planned, including a reservoir in the lowest part of the city to which surface runoff was channeled.
We started our hike from the lower city. And this is the view from outside:
In the Early Canaanite period (Early Bronze Age, 3100-2950 BC), Arad was the only large city in the Negev. Its residents earned their living from cultivating field crops, such as wheat, barley, peas, chick peas, and sheep breeding. Another source of meat was hunting. The residents of the Canaanite city tilled their fields with a harnessed plough and used donkeys for transport.
The Arad Canaanites traded with other Canaanite cities, and of exceptional economic value was the trade in asphalt, which was harvested from floating lumps in the Dead Sea and was used by the Egyptians for mummification. Arad also supplied olive oil to Egypt and received copper in exchange. Arad may have been part of the “Copper Road”, the metal provided by Egypt to the countries of the Middle East Trade with Egypt is evidenced by the Egyptian clay vessels found on the Tel, as well as a broken vessel on which the name of the Egyptian Pharaoh Na’armar was engraved (32nd century BC).
Canaanite Arad was abandoned in 2600 BC for reasons unknown. The place remained desolate for about 1,500 years, up to the early Israelite period. At the beginning of that period, a small settlement was established on top of the hill, at the north-eastern corner of Canaanite Arad, the houses of which were built in a cluster around a central courtyard. This style of settlement is usually attributed to the Israelite settlement period. Later, six Israelite fortresses were made on this place, one on top of the other. The remains of a Hellenistic fort (4th-1st centuries BC) were also found on this tel.
Source: official site
On this photo you can see the walls of the lower city and back in the distance on the hill is the upper city:
Tel Arad – Upper City
Then we reached the upper city. You can reach it on foot or by car (there is additional parking next to it).
The upper city was first settled in the Israelite period (1200 BCE).
Some fortresses were built one on top of the other there until the Persian period (fourth century BCE) – Israel Nature and Park Authority.
We finished our visit to the upper city and this ends our visit.
Have you ever been to Tel Arad National Park? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!