Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ancient Beit She'an by Night

Have you ever visited Palmyra, gazed upon the remnants of Queen Zenobia's domain, and reflected on the tragic drama of history? If not then take a gander at the following pic I snapped this summer.

Or come and visit me in the valley and we can stroll through the Roman ruins of ancient Beit She'an. After my garin went for the royal tour of the ancient Jewish town the other night, here is what I know.

Two thousand years ago Palmyra and Beit She'an were among the pearls of the Near East. Today Palmyra is rightly celebrated as Syria's grandest tourist sight. By night the temples and tombs of the ancient oasis stand like eternal sentries in the sparse Syrian desert. Beit She'an provides a very different experience for visitors. Instead of awing guests with windswept ruins, every sound and light extravaganza you can and cannot imagine is on display in the ancient town. Thunder and battle sounds reverberate from hidden speaker systems and fountains and camels dance from projectors across the rocks.

Even a Lady Liberty can be seen every so often across the looming tel.

The amazing bit about ancient Beit She'an is that it works. Somehow all the jazzy extras do not ruin the sight as so often is the case with glammed up historical attractions in China. I would still take an undressed Palmyra over the sound and lights of ancient Beit She'an. But if the day must come when all the Palmyras of the world modernize, the best example they can aspire to is the ancient Jewish town down the road from my home in Kibbutz Tirat Zvi.

1 comment:

  1. Why didn't anyone ever tell me aout this???? I only went to the ruins during the day. I had no idea such fantabulous campiness existed at night! This may have gone to number one on my list of field trips for me and my new roommate.

    P.S. Did you know that Shira Dickler is moving in December as well. I had dinner with her, Porcelain and Shirah Caputo last night. It was an awesome Aliyah powwow at David Chu's. Also, any ideas on where I should live for the two weeks between when I land and when I can move into ulpan? And, do you have any friends coming winter break to Israel who could take a bag for me?