Arad is an Israeli city in the Negev, which occupies a 40-meter high elevation about 30 kilometers northeast of the place where Beer Sheva is located.
About this city in the southern region of the country near the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea is mentioned in the Old Testament Bible Book of Numbers. Where there is a story about an attempt to enter the Promised Land, which ended in failure. In addition, there is a name in the Book of Joshua, which lists the names of the kings of Canaan, over which the sons of Israel won.
Thus, the name Arad came from the lines of the Bible and was established after the ancient and modern city on the Land of Israel. It is associated with the tradition of the Jews, and is also characterized by a historical relationship.
In scientific circles there is a suggestion that in this area the settlement was still in the period of the early Bronze Age from 2950 to 2650 BC. e. Already in that era Arad was a large settlement providing protection and comfortable existence to the inhabitants. The city had the status of the capital of the kingdom in the land of Canaan, under the rule of which the northern Negev was for the most part.
The results of archaeological excavations in Arad were shown in the part that was liberated from under the layer of land, that this district of the city was divided into four parts. Each of these quarters was assigned a certain functional load. For example, the western part was occupied by a complex of temple structures, and the southern part represented blocks with apartment buildings.
For the sacred buildings and for the royal palace of Arad, areas of huge areas (approximately 1000 sq. M.) In the west of the city were assigned. There were a couple of sacred places, large temples, where the townspeople came to worship their gods.
The internal temple spaces had a separation of three. The smallest of these rooms was the place of the Holy of Holies. One of the other halls was assigned to a vertically installed stone stela, characterized by a good finish. She, apparently, served as the personification of the fact of the presence of God in the temple. The courtyard was occupied by a ceremonial pool with stone cladding. It was used, presumably, to perform a ritual ablution. Here, next to it was the place of the stone altar.
The palace of the Canaanite kings in Arad was distinguished by the following internal division. The Royal Chambers consisted of several large rooms occupying all the central space. They were surrounded by courtyards in which there were groups of rooms, which probably were office space and administrative offices. Part of the palace territory was intended for use as a royal warehouse.
The development of Arad was one of those changes that brought rapid urbanization of the Land of Israel in the 3rd millennium BC. e. These included the use of metal tools for agricultural land cultivation, planting of fruit trees, the process of domestication of animals.
The city was distinguished by a careful planning of the network of streets, and on the inner side of the wall it was ringed by the main circumferential road.
In the period of the Jewish with the Israeli kingdoms of the X-VI c. at. BC. e. Hill Arad was used to build on it one, and subsequently - a new, a pair of defensive strongholds. They entered a series of fortifications designed to protect the trade routes in the Negev and the borders of the kingdom from the south of the attacks of marauding nomads.
The first citadel was the creation of King Solomon in the 10th century BC. e. It had about fifty meters in diameter along the length of each wall and was surrounded by a pair of parallel walls, between which are transverse walls. On the east side there were gates, which are protected by two towers. Large towers also protruded along the walls and at their corners. The internal space was distributed between the quarters for the garrison, the storerooms and the temple. In the rock below, at the base of the citadel, a reservoir is cut, filled from a well that extends south to Canaanite.
9th century BC was the date of construction of the new citadel in the surroundings of a massive, 4-meter thick wall. Having undergone various modifications since then, it remained in use until the Jewish kingdom fell from Babylon in 587/6 BC. e.
The temple, discovered in the first stronghold of Arad, became the only known one that is located outside the Jerusalem city walls. He was acting for the garrison in the fortress and used as travelers' roadside sanctuary. In the outer courtyard you can see the altar for sacrifices.
In his book of Deuteronomy, Moses forbade worship anywhere except in Jerusalem. This, however, did not become an obstacle to the use of hills throughout the Judean land for the construction of sacrificial altars on them as the Word of Scripture. This continued, apparently, while reigning at the end of the 8th century BC. e. King Hezekiah of Hezekiah did not undertake strict religious reforms. And the temple in the fortress of the Iron Age, which was used several centuries in a row during the Divided Monarchy, was destroyed.
The citadel of Arad is also known for the fact that it found over a hundred ceramic shards with inscriptions in Biblical Hebrew (also called Paleo-Hebrew). To date, such a collection is the largest and richest of the biblical period that was ever found in Israel. The time range of these inscriptions extends through all periods of the fortress existence, but mostly their dating is the last decades of the Judaic Kingdom. In their content, one can find references to the dates and titles of several places, including Be'er Sheva.
At present, the ancient city of Arad, after it was repeatedly destroyed (most recently in the 6th century BC by the Babylonians), is a beautifully reconstructed archaeological site. Today it has the status of the national park Tel Arad.