The Ein Gedi Oasis

Tectonic forces tore open the Syrian-African Rift Valley, forming a series of contiguous cracks, some 7,000 kilometers long. In our area, they have created the lowest and saltiest lake on Earth. Surrounded by desert, it has less than 50 millimeters of annual rainfall. The summer temperature ranges between 32 and 39 °C. But less than a mile from its barren shores lies a wonderful oasis – Ein Gedi. Its breathtaking geological beauty is complimented by an abundance of life. Deep ravines, waterfalls, wading pools and lush vegetation. The nature reserve is a sanctuary for a unique combination of plants, birds and animals. There are plants and trees from the tropical, desert, and Mediterranean regions. Local birds are joined by hundreds of migrating species in the spring and fall. Nubian ibex and rock hyrax lazily look upon the visitors. Archeological sites include a Chalcolithic hill-top temple (mid-fourth millennium BCE) with spectacular views and a 3rd-century synagogue. The inscription on the mosaic floor warns against revealing the town’s secret – how to extract the balsam resin – a source of incredible wealth. A hike in Ein Gedi is a delightful blend of geology, history, archeology and nature.

Route: Ein Gedi Nature Reserve > David ravine > Shulamit spring > Chalcolithic temple > Ein Gedi spring > Arugot ravine > Ancient synagogue.
Duration: 8-10 hours.

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