Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo.


This Nabataean city is situation on a ridge rising about 80 meters from the surrounding plain. The city has many ruins, an underground necropolis, and the remains of several churches. It was originally a Nabataean caravansary that became a Nabataean town. In the middle of the 3rd century it was resettled and became an important Roman military outspost, with a residential quarter on the spur southeast of the acropolis. In the sixth century, under Byzantine rule, Avdat had an estimated population of 3,000. New agricultural crops were grown in the valleys around the city and a number of wine presses, which have been excavated, indicate intensive vine cultivation. A citadel and a monastery with two churches were built on the acropolis. The Northern Church, had only a single apse, but it also had an adult baptismal font in cruciform shape and a smaller font for baptizing infants. The Southern Church had three apses. In the floor of the prayer hall of the church there are tombs of priests and others with inscriptions dating from 542 to 618. One of the inscriptions gives the name of the church: The Martyrion of St. Theodorus. From other inscriptions we know that Sr. Theodorus served as abbot of the monastery and was buried in the church. The city was destroyed, probably by earthquake, and abandoned in the 7th century.

This city was also home to the temple of Obadas, a diefied king of the Nabataeans. There is a visitor's center with a small museum and a video the gives a flavor of the life of the original inhabitants.


Map of Central Negev showing Avdat


Gibson, Dan, The Nabataeans, Builders of Petra, CanBooks, Saskatchewan, Canada 2002

Gibson, Dan, The Nabataean Collection, CanBooks, Saskatchewan, Canada, 2003

Glueck, Nelson, Rivers in the Desert, A history of the Negev, The Norton Library, W. W. Norton & Company Inc, New York, 1959, 1968

Levy, Udi, The Lost Civilization of Petra, Bath Press Color Books, Glasgow, 1999

Avdat Ruins

Avdat Wine Press
 Avdat Spring and water cistern

Top Left: The Avdat Ruins

Top Right: Avdat Wine Press

Left: Avdat Spring and water supply. Photo used with permission from Ben Gurion Universität des Negev Beer Sheva site, located at:


Special thanks to Yanina.Zaslavsky for sending us these photos below, from here family trip in April 2006 to Avdat.




Above: Wadi Hawarim








Petra (A complete section in itself) Bostra
Nabataens in the Negev Wadi Rumm
Mampsis Aila
Mampsis Photos Humeima
Nessana Meda'in Saleh
Ruheiba Meda'in Saleh: Tombs: Exteriors and Interiors
Avdat Meda'in Saleh: Tomb Decorations, Falcons, Faces, etc
Elusa Meda'in Saleh: Niches, Altars and God Blocks
Gaza Ma'an
Shivta Leuce Come
The Wall Where was Leuce Come? by Bob Lebling
Negev Wall A Possible Solution for Leuce-Come By Dan Gibson
Sela South Forts
  More South Forts header with menus