This Nabataean city is 12 km south of Elusa, and is located in a nature conservation area. It can only be visited by agreement of the authorities. The city has three large churches, several impressive buildings, and several very deep hand-dug wells.

Mampsis, Sobata, and Ruheiba. They probably started out as small road side stations hosting caravans. But as agriculture grew to be more important, the cites grew, and more people were added. The town of Ruheiba covered an area of around 120 dunams and today is located in a more remote part of the Negev. Excavations carried out at the site in the 1970’s by the late prof. Yoram Tsafrir uncovered remains of two churches and several buildings. If you want to visit, you need to contact a guide. We suggest mailing: Danny the Digger. You can contact him through his website:

Column from the church in Ruheiba. Photo © dannythedigger

Column from the church in Ruheiba. Photo © dannythedigger

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