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Mamshit, Dimona

#4 of 21 in Historic Sites in Southern District
Must see · Ruin · Tourist Spot
Mamshit is the Nabataean city of Mampsis or Memphis . In the Nabataean period, Mamshit was an important station on Incense Road, running from the Idumean Mountains, through the Arabah and Ma'ale Akrabim, and on to Beer-Sheva or to Hebron and Jerusalem. The city covers 10acre and is the smallest but best restored city in the Negev Desert. The once-luxurious houses feature unusual architecture not found in any other Nabataean city.
The reconstructed city gives the visitor a sense of how Mamshit once looked. Entire streets have survived intact, and there are also large groups of Nabataean buildings with open rooms, courtyards, and terraces. The stones are carefully chiseled and the arches that support the ceiling are remarkably well constructed.
Mamshit was built in 1st century BC as trade post on the way from Petra to Gaza. with time the city was developed and based also on agriculture. When trade in Mamshit waned with the Roman occupation, the occupants found another way to make a living: raising horses. The residents of Mamshit bred the renowned Arabian horse, which brought great wealth to their city. During the Byzantine period Mamshit also received support from the authorities for being a frontier city. When this funding dried up, at the time of Justinian, the city died a natural death. Before the founding of the State of Israel, Prime Minister to-be David Ben-Gurion saw Mamshit as the capital of the future country, which dovetailed with his dream of settling the Negev Desert.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
66 reviews
  • Mamshit is not as interesting as Avdat, IMHO, but is still worth a visit for anyone interested in ancient civilizations. A pretty large site, full of pile of rocks, but also with a non-trivial number....  more »
  • Really enjoyed walking around the Manshit site. The trail is well marked. Interesting explanations of the antiquities and reconstructions. We were there on Friday of Sukkot and there was a shuk with.....  more »
  • Of the several Nabatian ruined towns, this is the least interesting, and worst kept. Our visit was made worse by the unfriendly woman at the entrance, and the workers who were harassing us. The campsite, where we thought of pitching our tent, is expensive for what you get, and it's better to use one of the many free sites offered in the ares.
  • Hard to fully judge the experience. Was there for the nabatian market, which has its charm but isn't really suitable for little kids (we were travelling with 3 of them).
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