Beit She’arim, also known as Beth She’arim or Besara (Greek), is the archeological site of a Jewish town and necropolis. The site is part of the Beit She’arim National Park, which borders the town of Kiryat Tiv’on on the northeast and is located close to the modern moshav of Beit She’arim.
The caves along this route were first discovered from 1936 to 1940 by professor Benjamin Mazar for the Palestine Exploration Society. They were prepared for visitors in 2009. The names of the caves derive from the drawings incised on their walls.
The Jerusalem Talmud cites Beit She’arim as the burial place of Rabbi Judah HaNasi. His funeral is described as follows: “Miracles were wrought on that day. It was evening and all the towns gathered to mourn him, and eighteen synagogues praised him and bore him to Bet Shearim, and the daylight remained until everyone reached his home (Ketubot 12, 35a). The fact that Rabbi Judah was buried here is believed to be a major reason for the popularity of the necropolis in Late Antiquity. One of the catacombs has been identified as his burial site.
Visitors to Beit She’arim can enjoy guided tours and hike around the beautiful hills.
It is situated 20 km east of Haifa in the southern foothills of the Lower Galilee. The park is managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.