Beit Guvrin to Tel Keshet
This section of the trail is basically a 23 km stroll through pastoral countryside. We managed to lengthen it to over 27 km by firstly making a wrong turn, and secondly adding a few km by parking at the village of Ahuzzam rather than the section ending point of Tel Keshet. Despite what you may read or be told, there is no parking lot at Tel Keshet. This Tel is a mound in the middle of a farmer's field and if you have a car it's not a great place to leave it unattended for the day.
The days' journey takes you along rolling fields of wheat, vineyards and Eucalyptus groves. We did this in December and there was plenty of mud along the way.
Link to Wikiloc Trail Map
Roughly halfway through the journey the trail meanders alongside Tel Lakhish. It is hard to imagine that this enormous outcrop of earth and hewn stone was once a mega city of the ancient world. Evidence of a Neolithic setlement dating back to 5500 BCE have been found within the layers of cities built and destroyed one atop of the other.
This bastion of human develpment spanned the Bronze age, was destroyed by Egyptian Phaorahs, rebuilt by Caananites, conquered by Israelites and was to become a cornerstone of the Kingdom of Judah, second only to Jerusalem. The city was ruthlessly destroyed by the Assyrian King Sennacherib in 701 BCE.
Wall murals taken from his palace in Ninveh depict the torture and massacre of the Jewish inhabitants once the city fell.
It was on the 10th day of the month of Tevet that King Nebuchadnezzar launched his seige of Jerusalem that would ultimatley lead to its demise. Jews around the world mark the day by fasting in order to commemorate and mourn this tragic event in our history.