The ancient site of Tel Arad

You can find the impressive remains of the fortified city of Tel Arad located on a desert hill.

 Tel Arad. (photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Tel Arad.
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)

As many know, the best time to visit the desert is in the winter months. The temperatures are very pleasant and with it a great chance of getting beautiful blue skies. Climb into the car and drive to the Negev towards Arad. 

On Road 31 around 8 km. west of the city, turn north following the sign for Tel Arad. Located on a desert hill, you will find the impressive remains of a fortified city. The Tel Arad settlement began in the Bronze Age – the Canaanite period, and later, in the Iron Age, the Israelites lived there. This places it between 3,500 BCE to 600 BCE.

When you first see the ancient structures that were built more than 5,000 years ago it seems unbelievable. Especially when compared to today’s buildings, which typically do not remain standing for more than one to two hundred years at the most.

 Tel Arad. (credit: ITSIK MAROM) Tel Arad. (credit: ITSIK MAROM)

Natural materials were used for construction

In Tel Arad, natural materials taken from the surroundings were used in construction and likely is the reason for their durability. Tel Arad was the only large city in the Negev, and the site was chosen by its early inhabitants because of its strategic altitude and agricultural advantages such as its location on a national watershed.

The inhabitants traded with other neighboring cities including far away Egypt. Trade included asphalt, which was found in the relatively close Dead Sea. The Egyptians used the asphalt in their unique process of mummification. 

 Tel Arad. (credit: ITSIK MAROM) Tel Arad. (credit: ITSIK MAROM)

Since ancient times, many nations and armies have passed through Tel Arad, among them the Greeks and Persians, and, of course, the Israelites. In the site you will find fortresses, resident quarters, an ancient water facility from the Early Bronze Age and a wonderful lookout on the whole region. All of this wonder on site is free of charge.