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June 23, 2014 4:14 pm

UNESCO Declares Israeli National Park a World Heritage Site

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Columbarium cave in the Beit Guvrin national park, Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee voted in Qatar on Sunday to admit Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park to its growing World Heritage List, making it the eighth such site in Israel.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority submitted the nomination through Israel’s UNESCO committee, which is a joint effort between the Israeli education and foreign ministries and other authorities.

Beit Guvrin-Maresha joins seven other Israeli world heritage sites: Masada, the Old City of Acre, the White City of Tel Aviv, the Negev incense route, the biblical tels of Megiddo, Hazor and Beersheba, the Bahai holy places in Haifa and the Western Galilee, and the Nahal Me’arot caves on Mount Carmel.

The Beit Guvrin caves, which cover two square miles, represent the Judean foothills’ “land of a thousand caves,” all of them man-made. The caves are of various types, and include limestone quarries, cisterns, olive presses, burial sites, ritual sites, dovecotes, stables, and more.

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