Shivta-A Desert Jewel

The ancient city of Shivta was located in the middle of the Negev desert, about 43 kilometers SW of Beersheva.  Christainity came to the Negev in the fourth century and the remains of two large churches  stand above the ruins today.  The artwork and other artifacts found at the site,  point to the Nabatean, Roman and Byzantine periods. Water channels were extensively built, carrying water throughout the very developed city. Shivta was abandoned sometime in the 10th century, along with the other Nabatean cities along the incense route.  Archeologists today are working to put together pieces of information that they have found, to discover why these cities were abandoned and the nation of the Nabateans disappeared.  The Nabateans are thought to have descended from Ishmael.


A bit of information about Shivta

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Still at work uncovering ancient treasures


A team of archeologists are carefully digging in the sand


A large street in one of the largest Nabatean cities in the Negev

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Remains of one of two churches still visible


Another view of the triple apse basilica, with a long nave separated by two rows of columns



Looking through the doorway into the remains.  Notice the artwork on the top of the doorway.



Workers placing the original stones in the arch.  We watched with baited breath, hoping they didn’t drop the stone and shatter it.


Looking down the wide road. Incredible…

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The Govenor’s house..or the remains of a monastery.  One of the few two story buildings remaining with the top story stones still intact.


The lintel above the entrance is decorated with Christian symbols


Large and well preserved


Overlooking the courtyard of the large “Governor’s Buildng”

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From a distance, this towers above the rest of the city

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Look close at the faded paint inside this church dome and see if you can see a man kneeling…

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Looking into the remains of the other 4th century church

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Cruciform baptismal font hewn out of one piece of rock

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Walking inside the other church remains


Jeff inspecting the arch.  How did they do that?

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These farmers colleccted every bit of water.

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Wonder who walked these streets when this town was flourishing?


Looking from the inside out


Quite a view


Looking out from Shivta across the desert


Narrow is the pathway that leads to life…and home

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A firey sky at sunset taken from our back porch.