Mamshit National Park
Tourists coming to visit Mamshit National Park, which spans a whopping 350-acres, will want to make sure and see the remains of the 2,000-year-old city of Mamshit. Mamshit lies just east of Dimona on Route 25, the main road through the Negev Desert towards Eilat, Israel's southernmost point.
Surprisingly, some of the streets of ancient Mamshit remain nearly completely intact. Others have been carefully restored. Tourists can thus gain a feel for what daily life in Mamshit looked like in the city’s ancient past. Stroll among the courtyards, terraces and rooms, all protected by sturdy arched ceiling supports. Take a close look at the decorated stones that have been artfully chiseled. Don’t miss “The Wealthy House” – a restored dwelling with large rooms surrounding an open courtyard. A three-story guard tower can be climbed to take advantage of the view.
Christian Holy Land pilgrims will want to visit the two churches that were revealed in Mamshit. To the west is St. Nilus Church, also called the Nile Church. A mosaic floor decorated with colorful geometric patterns, birds, a basket of fruit and five Greek inscriptions was found on the premises. Inside the church to the east, it’s possible to see the remains of a pulpit that once stood on marble pillars. These two churches once attracted ancient Christian pilgrims as they crossed the Negev.
Excavations on the site have uncovered over 10,000 silver coins and other items that indicate that Mamshit was once home to people of means. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, David Ben-Gurion, who was to become Israel’s first Prime Minister, envisioned Mamshit as a possible future capital of Israel.