She`an Nights, a multi-media multi-sensory night tour of the ancient city of Beit She`an-Scythopolis, has recently opened at the Beit She`an National Park, located in the Jordan Valley. Developed at a cost of $3 million in a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tourism via the Israel Government Tourist Corporation, the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority and the Beit She`an Municipality, this unique project is the first of its type in the world in an archeological site and the fourth largest such project in the world. Approximately $65 million have been invested in the 400 acre Beit She`an National Park since excavations began there twenty years ago, revealing dozens of layers of settlement on the tel dating back to 5000 BCE, as well as Roman-Byzantine remains in the valley that include a theater, amphitheater, bathhouses, temples, cardo and more.
She`an Nights, which is expected to attract 400,000 visitors annually, will operate nine months of the year, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the site in the cool night air in a region known for its sweltering summer days. After watching a 10 minute presentation that relates the history of the area (in English or Hebrew), visitors set off on a multi-sensory experience as they stroll through the streets of the excavated city of Scythopolis with its marble columns, stone streets, bathhouses, temples and mosaics, while watching audiovisual presentations projected onto dozens of giant screens on the columns, walls and even the tel behind the site.
Sound effects, that include voices, stories, song and music, complete the multi-sensory experience of being transported 2000 years back in time. Visitors may select their own route around the site and linger as long as they like at any one point, "meeting" local characters, "experiencing" the earthquake that destroyed the city in 749 CE, and "watching" a performance in the Roman amphitheater.
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