The Bank of Israel have released three new coins which continue their ongoing series of highlighting parts of the country which are designated UNESCO heritage sites. This year, the coins feature the ancient city of Avdat in the Negev which was one of the famed ancient Nabatean cities along the Incense Route, the road over which costly incense, perfumes and spices were brought out of Arabia, across the Negev and to the Mediterranean ports. The city was named after the Nabatean King Oboda (30 – 9 BC), who was buried there. Avdat flourished during the reign of King Aretas IV (9 BC – 40 AD), but was destroyed by marauding Arab tribes in the second half of the first century. Later, the last Nabatean king, Rabbel (70 – 106 AD), rebuilt Avdat. In 106 AD the Roman Empire took over the region, and Avdat continued to flourish until the seventh-century Arab conquest. The Nabatean temple on Avdat’s ‘acropolis’ left almost no remains, but its magnificence can be imagined from its restored gateway. The fabulous view from the temple takes in the Avdat highlands and the Even-Ari farm, where Byzantine-era agricultural techniques developed by the Nabateans are reconstructed.
The coins, three in total, are designed by Gideon Sagi and share a common obverse depiction. The restored gateway of the Nabatean temple with dedicatory inscriptions engraved on the lintel across the top of the gateway. A train of four camels can be seen just under the gateway and traveling westward. “Avdat, The Incense Route” in English, Hebrew and Arabic can be seen along the upper half of the coin with the UNESCO and World Heritage Site Emblems seen to the right of the gateway. The reverse includes the coin’s face value, the text “ISRAEL” in English, Hebrew and Arabic along with the mint year, Israeli State Emblem and a train of five camels.
|1 Sheqel||.925 silver||14.4 grams||30 mm.||Proof-like||1800 pieces|
|2 Sheqels||.999 silver||31.1 grams||38.7 mm.||Proof||2800 pieces|
|10 Sheqels||.917 gold||16.96||30 mm.||Proof||555 pieces|
The Avdat / UNESCO coins are available in a combination of single, two or three coin sets. For more information on these and other coins issued by the Bank of Israel, please visit the website of the Israel Coins and Medals Corporation at: http://www.israelmint.com/?section=44466 Information offered in English & Hebrew, international orders dispatched where applicable.