The Incense Route – the Desert Cities of the Negev is the part of the 1,500-mile-long frankincense trade route from Arabia to the Mediterranean that crosses Israel's Negev. The route, and the cities the Nabateans built along it some two millennia ago, Mamshit, Avdat, Haluza and Shivta – all fascinating places to visit – carried not only precious spices, but also ideas and cultural exchange. The farming that developed along the way shows how a people – then and now – could make a hostile desert environment bloom.
UNESCO has determined that the Biblical Tels – Megiddo, Hazor and Beersheba, are also testimony to cultural exchanges along major ancient highways. Their intricate water systems which are highlights of a visit to these sites, also show ingenuity and ancient community cooperation. The sites, with their palaces, ramparts and storehouses, are also grand remnants of great ancient civilizations, and show the power of the biblical narrative.