Tour of the Nabatean city Avdat

Avdat Nabatean City
A visit to Nabatean City Avdat seeing the grandeur of the past 1200 years ago. The reconstructed Acropolis hints of the city glory. You can see here the first Christian churches from the 4th century . Its a walking tour in the city and its purpose is to reconstruct the city history. An easy walk about 2.5 hours.   The tour can be extended to include the visit the Nabatean farms and cisterns .

Avdat  was a important Nabatean city along  the Spice Route. It was built in the 4th century BCE as a place of rest and protection for traders traveling along the Spice Route.   Avdat is named after the Nabatean King Obodas who was revered and according to tradition was buried there.   The city reached its glory days in the Byzantine period and had about 3,000 inhabitants mostly Nabateans who converted to Christianity. Most of the  ruins are from this period in which the city expanded into the western slope . Hundreds of caves have been found  that were used for living and storage. Many of them contained Christian crosses etched into the stone walls and ceiling.  Other Byzantine remains include wine presses, a farmhouse, and an impressive bathhouse, the inhabitants of Avdat enjoyed life and knew a taste of luxury.

Nabatean History
Little is known about the origins of the Nabatean. Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, claims that the Nabatean are  the descendents of Ishmael first born son Nabataioi,  Genesis ( 25:13). Most historians begin to cite the Nabateans in 586 BC, when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and expelled all Jews.  
They made their first definite appearance in 312 BC. A Seleucid officer named Hieronymus of Cardia mentioned them in a battle report. They had developed a jsfitable trade in asphalt, which they mined from Dead Sea and sold to Egypt. Hieronymus was sent to wrest it away from them, but they repulsed him. In 50 BC a Greek historian named Diodorus Siculus cited Hieronymus in his report. Diodorus adds the following: "Just as the Seleucids had tried to subdue them, so the Romans made several attempts to get their hands on that lucrative trade."

Finally the Romans succeeded  ,in the year 106 AD, to annex the Nabatean kingdom.  In the Byzantine period the Nabatean mostly lived from agriculture which flourished in the area and was their main source of income.  The Spice Route stations in the Negev such as: Avdat, Mamshit, Halutza, Shivta, Nitzana  turned into cities: With the Islamic conquest in the 7 AD the Nabatean were absorbed completely into the Islamic world and the Nabatean entity disappeared from the pages of history.