Ein Gedi is an oasis in the desert and a green Garden of Eden in the wilderness. It is situated on the shore of the Dead Sea - the lowest place on Earth - at the feet of majestic mountains and cliffs. One of the most exciting places in Israel, Ein Gedi combines a wild, natural setting with a primeval panorama, history and archaeology, tourist attractions, and spas. Its unique climate and atmosphere make it a place for a unique desert adventure.
Ein Gedi contains the historical and archaeological remains of its first inhabitants, who discovered the magic of the place more than 5,000 years ago it has also served as a landmark in the history of the Jewish people throughout history. David took refuge in Ein Gedi when he was pursued by King Saul, and rebels fled there from Jerusalem. Valuable persimmon oil and rare perfumes were produced there, and temples and synagogues were established here to strengthen the Jewish stronghold in the area.
Ein Gedi has an international reputation as a health spa. Tourists from all over the world come there to take advantage of the hot springs, mineral waters, and mud baths, and to enjoy the desert climate, bathe in the healing waters of the Dead Sea, and breathe healthful bromide-filled air.
Ein Gedi is an ideal place to become familiar with the desert and its hidden wonders. Nature reserves such as Nakhal David and Nakhal Arugot have water flowing through them throughout the year. Rivers run through deep canyons surrounded by lush vegetation - a sharp contrast to the surrounding desert. If you are lucky you will also be able to spot ibexes and other animals that come to the rivers to drink. There are other tourist attractions nearby such as Einot Tzukim and Ein Bokek.
Kibbutz Ein Gedi, founded in 1953, is located on a nearby hilltop overlooking the area. The kibbutz has a botanical garden with plants and trees from all over the world. If you walk among the houses in the evening you can view the flowering cacti and baobab tress, as well as other unique plants. Visitors to the area can lodge in the attractive kibbutz guest house, in the nearby field school, or camp out on the shore of the Dead Sea.
Other recommended activities in the area include jeep excursions and safaris through the desert, tours of Massada, and the Qumran caves.
This review is republished courtesy of The Ministry of Tourism (www.goisrael.com).