Sorry it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted. I was on break from school this past month and had lots of other work, play and schoolwork to catch up on! On that note, we are in the homestretch with the course now, and are really getting down to brass tacks regarding studying and preparing for the licensing exams. So I will certainly be posting more on this topic in the upcoming weeks. I already have a few posts on this topic lined up in the hopper.
Also, I’ve received feedback from lots of people that these Mystery Photos are simply too hard. So I’ve decided that I will just not even think about how many of my classmates get these right — I expect that they all should get almost all of them right! I will instead be trying to present somewhat easier ones that more of you “regular” readers may know.
I’m not saying they are all going to be super-easy, because part of the enjoyment is in the challenge too. But I will definitely be aiming to make them easier overall. Hope that makes it more fun!
On that topic, this week’s Mystery Photo is not “easy-peasy.” But it is the type of thing that if you have ever been there, you will almost definitely get it right. And if not, you might be able to guess, and it will still be an interesting post next week, when I describe it.
So now on to the previous Mystery Photo post. My classmate Benny was absolutely right. The photo was indeed a picture of the gate to the Roman-era city of Tiberias / Tveria. And thus, while Norah’s guess was not correct, it was an excellent guess (not surprisingly). Beit Shean is known for its Roman-era city remains as well.
One of the things that I find quite interesting about Tiberias is the way the city’s location has shifted over time. This gate was at the southern edge of the city in the Roman era, but nowadays it is inside of the city limits. Roman cities were all built on the same master plan, with a major North-South road known as a Cardo bisecting the city, being crossed by a major East-West road called a Decomanus. The main Cardo of Tiberias began here, and ran about a half mile to the north.
I also am truly impressed by the quality of this particular find. This gate was first excavated in the 1960s and they found this gate house, with its impressive round towers, virtually as you see it today. Unfortunately, they did not have the money to properly preserve it then. So they actually reburied it after documenting it. This is actually a not-uncommon practice here. There are so many archaeological sites in this country, and there simply isn’t budget or manpower to excavate all, or to preserve all of those that are excavated.
The last chapter of this story is of the “silver lining” variety. In 2006, Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon began firing rockets into Israel, thus sparking the Second Lebanon War. During the war, many of Israel’s northern cities were damaged by the 4000 or so rockets that Hezbollah fired. Tiberias was one of the cities that were hit.
Following the war, the State of Israel gave money to damaged municipalities to help them rebuild. One of the things that Tiberias did with its money was to open up this site, in the hopes of developing it as a more comprehensive tourist attraction. The idea is that the city would benefit by the influx of more tourism there. It is still a fairly small site, but I would encourage all who visit the city to go and check this site out.
It is truly beautiful and impressive, and well worth adding into any visit to Tiberias.