Beersheva, Beersheba, Beer Sheba, Beer Sheva or Be’er Sheva is the second largest city in Israel and spans more than 117,500 dunams or 45 square miles. It is located in the center of southern Israel.
The name Beersheva comes from the story of Genesis. When Abraham and Isaac made peace treaties with King Abimelech of Gerar, the two patriarchs dug wells. The site was given the same name twice, once after Abraham’s treaty was closed and once after Isaac finalized his own treaty with Abimelech. Beersheva alternatively means “well of the oath” or “well of the seven.” According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheva was the southernmost city in Israelite territory as the expression “Dan to Beersheva” was used to describe the entirety of the kingdom.
Modern Beersheva is a bustling cosmopolitan city with shopping, restaurants, entertainment and the occasional Bedouin market. Despite the swiftly growing modern city, the ruins of ancient Beersheva have been preserved just east of the modern city. Called Tel Be’er Sheva, Tel Sheva or Tell es-Seba, this archaeological site is a world heritage site and a popular destination for visitors to Israel.