the incense route

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Desert Cities in the Negev


  • 1. The Incense Route - Desert Cities in the Negev World Heritage Site no. 1107 Nominated 15/7/2005 Prepered by: Dr. Tsvika Tsuk, Michal Levi - NPA

2. The Negev The Southern Region of Israel

  • Vast desert area with few water resources
  • High mountains and deep canyons
  • Cold winters and dry, hot summers
  • Wilderness landscape
  • Desert flowers bloom in spring after rainy winters

3. Historical Background 4 th 7 th Cent. C.E. Byzantine Cities, villages, churches, bathhouses, agriculture, other routes2 nd 4 th Cent. C.E. Roman Settlements, agriculture, camp, milestones 3 rdCent. B.C.E 2 ndCent. C.E Nabataean Road Stations, temples, beginning of dwellings, milestones Chronology PeriodStructures 4. The Incense Route

  • Frankincense, Myrrh and other spices passed through this
  • route from Oman and Yemen to the Roman Empire

The Route began in Obar, Oman, passed the Saudian Peninsula, and through Jordan near Petra, and the Negev, ending at the port of Gaza 5. The Incense Route

  • From Gaza the valuable merchandise was shipped to Roman ports in the Mediterranean

Pliny the Elder described the Incense Route in detail 6. Plinys Description

  • After the frankincense is collected, it is conveyed by camel to Sabota, and one of the gates of the city is opened to receive the merchandise. The kings enacted a permanent law that it is a serious crime for a camel bearing frankincense to divert from the main road. In Sabota, the priests levy a tithe on the frankincense for the god known as Sabin From here, the merchandise may be conveyed through the land of the Gebbanites only, and therefore tax must be paid to the king of this people as well.Their capital is Thomna, which is 1487.5 miles [2380 km] from Gaza in Judea, located on the coast of the Mediterranean. The journey is divided into 65 stages [36.6 km each], at each of which is a rest station for the camels.Regular portions of frankincense must be paid to the priests of the lands, their kings, and their scribes. In addition, portions are also taken by guards at gates and their servants. In addition to these, they must pay all the way, in one place for water, elsewhere for a place at the way station, and also for food. Thus, expenses come to 688 denarii even before reaching the Mediterranean. Then our imperial tax officials must be paid again. Because of this,the price of good frankincense can be six denerii per liter, average frankincense can be five denarii, and the third type can be three denarii.
  • Pliny,Historia Naturalis,12:32: 63-65

7. Moa Kasra Nekarot Ein-Saharonim Makhmal Sivta Avdat Nizana Mamshit Gaza Petra The Incense Route Haluza Graffon 8. 9. 10. 11. SITES AND AREA Linear Property: The Route65 km. Long, average 1.0 km wide484 47Shivta514 242Mamshit278 52Haluza62,5926,314 The Route and AvdatArea of Buffer Zone in Hectares Area of Core Zone in HectaresSites 12.

  • National parks are areas meant for the public enjoyment of nature or for the preservation of areas of historic, archaeological, or architectural importance.
  • An area designated as a national park may not be changedNo building work or other activity will be permitted unless it has been approved by the National Parks Authority.
  • A nature reserve is an area in which animals, plants, inanimate objects, soil, caves, water and landscape are protected from changes in their appearance, biological makeup, and natural development.

National Parks, Nature Reserves, and Memorial Sites Law 1992 13. Protected Areas along the Route 14. The Antiquities Law - 1978

  • Antiquities Law Chpt. 7: Antiquity Sites
  • 28. (a) The Director may declare a particular place to be an antiquity site...
  • 29. (a) A person shall not carry out, or allow to be carried out, any of the following activities on an antiquity site

15. Antiquities protected sites Along the Route 16. Main Stakeholders

  • Local residents: Jews and Muslims (Bedouin)
  • Ramat Negev Regional Council
  • Middle Arava Regional Council
  • Mizpe Ramon Local Council
  • Negev Development Authority
  • Friends of The Earth
  • Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

17. Main Stakeholders

  • Ben Gurion University Ancient Agriculture
  • Israel, Nature and Parks Authority - Ministry of Environment, State of Israel
  • Israel Antiquities Authority - Ministry of Education, State of Israel
  • Ministry of Tourism, State of Israel

18. 1. Moa Fortress and CaravanseraiStation no. 60 First in the Negev

  • The Caravanserai 40 X 40 m,
  • a central courtyard surrounded by several rooms with bath facilities
  • The Fortress 17 X 17 m, a central courtyard surrounded by 11 rooms with an olive press
  • The Water Pool 11 x 9 m
  • filled by an underground
  • spring

19. 2. Kasra Fortress Daylight Guard Post

  • Watchtower 5 x 5.5 m includes 3 rooms
  • Hidden Water Cistern

20. 3. Nekarot Fortress Small Watchtower

  • Two-story Tower with 3 rooms
  • Ruined Complex of 6 rooms
  • Small Hidden Water Cistern

21. 4. Ein Saharonim CaravanseraiStation no. 61

  • The Caravanserai 42 X 42 m, a central courtyard surrounded by many rooms with workshops for craftsmen, bath tubs and a cooking stove.

One day walk from Moa (Station 60) 22. 5. Makhmal Ascent and Fortress Lookout and guard spot

  • Watchtower 7 x 6.5 m with 2 rooms
  • Water cistern 8x4.8 m 150 cubic m

23. 6. Graffon Fortress Watchtower

  • Watchtower 6 x 6 m
  • Living quarters = building with 5 rooms
  • Small lookout tower 2 x 2 m
  • Hidden Water Cistern

24. 7. Milestones along the Route

  • In Makhtesh Ramon,6 milestone stations
  • In Nafha Highlands,5 milestone stations

Two Segments of road with Milestones: Each station consists of two milestones 25. 10. Avdat National ParkStation no. 62

  • Small town 400 X 300m
  • Roman Quarter and Tower
  • Military Camp
  • Nabataean Temple
  • 2 Churches
  • Byzantine Fortress
  • Bathhouse

26. 11. Haluza Station no. 63

  • The most Northern City in the Negev
  • Small Theater
  • One Church

27. 12. Mamshit -Located on Secondary Route

  • The most eastern town
  • Gate and City Wall
  • Caravanserai
  • Bathhouse
  • 2 Churches
  • Villas

28. 13. Shivta Located on Secondary Route

  • Small Town
  • Sophisticated Water System
  • 2 Water Pools
  • 3 Churches
  • 3 Winepresses

29. 30. 31. Management Plan The Nature and Parks Authority Responsible for the management and protection of nature reserves, national parks and the natural and heritage assets in Israel The Authority is comprised of five administrative districts The Incense Route and Desert Cities are included in the Southern District 32. Conservation actions in the protected areas

  • Management plan for ecotourism and recreation(roads, camping sites, trails, visitor centers etc.)
  • Conservation of archaeological sites detailedprograms for the route sites
  • Planning andpromoting protected areas proclamation
  • Inspection ofthe stateinfrastructure developmentactivities during planningand construction

Management Plan 33.

  • Research and monitoring activities
  • Rehabilitation of disturbed habitat and Quarries restoration
  • Invading species and Pest control
  • Reintroduction of endangered species(Wild Ass, Arabian Oryx)
  • Populations control

Conservation actions in the protected areas Management Plan 34.

  • Low enforcement-of the National Parks, Nature Reserves, and Memorial Sites Law 1992 and Wild animal protection low and other environmental lows
  • Management plan for army practices
  • Environmental education andinstruction
  • for the Army and general public
  • byspecial centers and guides

Conservation actions in the protected areas Management Plan 35. Management PlanProfessional Training

  • Education and training of the employees include courses in:
  • Conservation
  • Management
  • Enforcement
  • Visitor Service
  • Public participation and education

36. See You inThe Negev