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Israel

Last Journey Through The Negev Desert

After a couple of days in Eilat, it was time to start the journey back to Tel-Aviv. We took the central route which entails climbing dry mountain peaks and cornering around some very dangerous curves. The desert landscape is beautiful, relatively unspoiled and yet Israelis are managing to grow crops. They are finding innovative ways to use solar energy and desalination. Occasionally, we would see an Ibex, the wild goat of the Negev.

Always evident is the Israeli military. We saw tanks training in the desert and overhead near Mitzpah Ramon, supersonic jets were breakibg the sound barrier with sonic booms echoing throughout the hills.

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Mitzpah Ramon

This little town sits on the edge of the world’s largest non-volcanic and non-meteroric crater, caused by water and erosion. On this particular day, the wind was so strong causing greatly reduced visibility, but still its impact on the landscape was dramatic.

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Sder Boker

This little village and kibbutz in the northern Negev Desert, is the resting place of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime
Minister. This is a beautiful spot overlooking the desert canyons.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 17:01 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Timna Park - Great Geology and History

After a great morning of diving in the Red Sea, we drove 25 kilometres north of Eilat in the afternoon to visit Timna Park. This area in the Negev Desert has stark land formations of stratified rock, with sandstone, dolomite of every colour. It also has an abundance of copper with seams of the metal still visible. The area reminds us of sections of Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

Some of the rock formations include Solomon’s Pillars, the Sphinx, the mushroom and arches.

Mining of copper srarted sime 8,000 years ago in the stone age and shifting to the bronze age. King Solomon was famous for his mining operation, more recently some 321000 years ago. There is an area where mine shafts are very evident and you can literally experience what it feels climbing into some of the shafts.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 16:27 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Masada - An Archaeologist’s Dream

Today we left Jerusalem and were able to go to Masada which was blocked the other day because of sinkholes in the highway. No traveller coming to Israel should leave without coming to this Ancient mountain fortress. It has special meaning in Jewish history.

Masada was a fortress built by Roman King Herod in 37 B.C.E. as a retreat from perceived threats in the land of Judea. How they managed to build this complex on a rocky outcrop 400 metres above the Dead Sea is mind boggling.

The Romans had conquered the Jewish empire of Judea and upon Herod’s death, the Jews revolted and ultimately fled to Masada. They resisted the Roman legions for three years before they ultimately realized what their demise would be. Rather than be assaulted by the Romans, 972 of these Jewish zealots committed suicide.

The large archaeological site has palaces, storage rooms, baths, cisterns, churches and synagogues, and also present are mosaic floors and walls. There is quite a line at the site while waiting to enter the cable car, but if you feel fit, you can take a path which takes about 40 minutes. Whichever way you go, the views from the top of the surrounding countryside are dramatic.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 12:47 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

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