Life in Beer-Sheva

Life in Beer-Sheva

BGU is located in Beer-Sheva, Israel’s fourth-largest city and one of the oldest in the world. A diverse university town of 200,000 in the heart of the vast and beautiful Negev desert, Beer-Sheva is a place where the past and future converge: named “the Silicon Valley of the Middle East” by Forbes, it’s a cutting-edge, commercially vibrant city that’s also home to historical sites and ruins.

Things to Do

The Beer-Sheva area boasts magnificent scenery, and the city offers a wide range of cultural events and activities. There’s never a shortage of things to do in town, whether you’re visiting a museum, attending a concert, dancing, bowling, seeing a movie or simply going for a hike with friends.

Cultural Highlights

Nature

The Negev, named the No. 2 tourist destination in the world by The Lonely Planet, is part of an awe-inspiring desert that stretches from Egypt through the southern part of Israel into Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It is part of the 6,000-kilometer (roughly 3,700-mile) Great Rift Valley. With Beer-Sheva as a starting point, you can explore desert flats, sand dunes, desert pavements, cliff faces and deep canyons that stretch for miles. In the winter and spring, you’ll witness the annual blossoming of beautiful desert wildflowers.

Cycling

Cycling is a hugely popular pastime in Israel, and weekends see large groups of cyclists on and off the roads.

Shopping

Beer-Sheva offers a broad range of shopping options. In addition to four malls and two American-style plazas, the Old City hosts unique traditional markets, including the daily open-air food market, the Bedouin market (Thursdays) and the Old City Flea Market (Fridays).

Getting Around in Beer-Sheva

Metrodan City Bus is the most convenient and affordable form of transportation for students in Beer-Sheva. As a student, you can purchase single-trip tickets, 11-trip cards or monthly passes. Schedules are available on Google Maps.

 

Taxis are another option, and many taxi companies offer 24-hour daily service (including Saturdays). You can call ahead or hail on the street for the same cost. The Gett app for iPhone or Android is an easy way to call a cab.

Of course, many MSIH students get around on bicycles, as distances are easily manageable, especially around the university and hospital.

Weekly Schedule

In Beer-Sheva, weekends begin early Friday afternoon and end Saturday night. Most shops and businesses close at 2 p.m. Friday and reopen on Sunday. University and government offices are open Sunday through Thursday only, although the campus remains open for self-study throughout the entire weekend.

Religious Life

Beer-Sheva has a diverse religious community. The city hosts over 200 synagogues, including two on the BGU campus. There are also a number of mosques in the area, including Tel-Sheva Mosque (8 kilometers from Soroka University Medical Center) and Segev Shalom Mosque (10 kilometers from Soroka University Medical Center). Christian students can attend informal services held on Saturdays and Sundays in Beer-Sheva. Catholic services are held every Sunday and on Christian holidays in the Gimel neighborhood. The main teaching institution has a designated place of prayer for Muslim and Jewish students.

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