We are so excited to go to Beit She’an as our first trip on Thursday, February 23!
My bias is always to leave as early as possible – 9 or earlier would be best.
It’s about a 2 hour drive to get there from Hertzliya (Google says 1:50), then we’ll spend 2-4 hours at the site, hopefully we can find a good restaurant for about an hour, then a 2 hour drive back. The biggest thing I need to know with planning is when people need to be at home to put kids on the bus and when they need to be back to take kids off the bus!
I’ll plan on driving – we’ll set a time and you can either come to my house or we can pick you up on the way if you’re in Even Yehuda that morning. :-)
2 Minute Historical Overview:
Beit She’an has been inhabited by various groups pretty much continuously since the Copper age (~5000-4000 BC-ish). The Egyptians used it as a power headquarters when they controlled Israel, the Canaanites used it, the Philistines used it (mentioned in the Bible as where King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls), the Israelites used it, the Assyrians burnt it to the ground, then the Scythians used it, then the Israelites got it back at some point, then the Romans stole it and used it as their Provincial Headquarters when they ran the show, and you can see what each civilization has left. There was also a major earthquake around 800 AD, so you’ll see a lot of the pillars laying, but mostly all pointing exactly the same way. All the following conquering groups used it as well (Crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottomans, British, then Israelis again,but I’m sure I’m missing other groups!).
Anyway, it’s a nice area with a lot of water (relatively), so everyone wanted it as a power base to either rule from or launch military operations out of. It has a huge Tel (settlement mound) that we can climb up if you’d like to see a great view. Most of the remaining ruins are Roman, including a Theatre, the Cardo, tiled floors, and tons of larger columns.