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Dead Sea, Israel

Sights and Museums
Dead Sea Area

What today’s headlines mean to tourists to Israel.

Ahava Visitors Center

A cosmetic and health products plant using the natural resources of the Dead Sea, showroom, information center, tourist shop.

Atraktzia

Kalia Beach - Water amusement park, sweet water pools, water slides and aquatic sports, beach and changing facilities.

Binyamin Beach

Separate beach facilities for men & women, snack bar, lockers, bathrooms and mud packs.

Dead Sea Region

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth at about 1,300 feet (400 m.) be-low sea level lies at the southern end of the Jordan Valley. Its waters, with the highest level of salinity and density in the world, are rich in potash, magnesium and bromine, as well as in table and industrial salts. The Dead Sea's natural pace of recession has been accelerated in recent years due to a very high rate of evaporation (5 feet-l.6 m. annually) and large-scale diversion projects undertaken by Israel and Jordan for their water needs, causing a 75 percent reduction in the incoming flow of water. As a result, the surface level of the Dead Sea has dropped some 35 feet (10.6 m.) since 1960. A project to link the Dead Sea with the Mediter-ranean Sea by means of a canal and pipe system, which may help restore the Dead Sea to its natural dimensions and level, is under consideration.

Dead Sea Scrolls & Replicas and Sound & Light Show

(Beit Hasofer at Kibbutz Almog) - Replicas of the Dead Sea Scrolls, sound & light show, "9,000 Years of Settlement in the Northern Dead Sea Region".

Ein Fashkha

(Enot Zuqim) 26 miles southeast of Jerusalem. A nature reserve and recreation spot on the Dead Sea shore with facilities for bathing in the rich mineral waters of the lowest lake on earth (--400m.). Open daily 8:00 am-5: 00 pm (summer), 8:00 am-4: 00 pm (winter). Fri. and on the eves of holiday closed one hour earlier.

Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens

A wonderful array of rare, unique plant with exotic-sounding names from exotic-sounding places flourish in abundance. National Geographic claims these Magnificent gardens as the 11th Wonder of the World. A true oasis in the middle of the desert.

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve

Nature's greenest glory. Waterfalls & natural pools in the heart of a verdant grove. An adventure to remember. Desert tours, off the beaten track, in special vehicles are available to explore the hidden won-ders of the desert. Tel: 07-6594760, Fax: 07-6584137.

Ein Kelt

Wadi Kelt Nahal Perat along the road to Jericho, a canyon rich in springs and vegetation, and a hermit sanctuary since the beginning of Monasticism. The rock-hewn St. George Monastery and remains of the Herodian aqueduct from Crusader times can be seen before reaching the monastery.

Jericho

Town in the south of the Jordan valley at junction of Jerusalem-Beit She'an-Trans-Jordan roads. Have a desert climate, but its many water sources make it an oasis. One of the oldest cities in the world, settled since the Middle Stone Age; was the first city of Eretz Israel captured by Joshua; included in the inheritance of the Tribe of Benjamin. Referred to several times in time of the Kings and of the Hasmoneans. During the Roman period the town was an oil center. A Jewish settlement existed even after the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Jews who attempted to settle there in modern times were forced to leave during the 1936 CE disturbances.

"Karting 2000" - Kalia Beach

The largest go-cart track in Israel.

Masada National Park

Masada is accessible from both east and west. The eastern route runs along the Dead Sea on the Sedom-Jericho Road (No. 90). Some 18 km south of Ein Gedi, 25 km north of the Zohar River mouth, the road turns toward Masada (2 kin) ending at the parking lot at the foot of the mountain. Restaurants, souvenir shops and toilets are available. From here one can reach the top either by using the cable car, which gets to the upper stop leaving 80 steps still to be ascended, or by walking up the Snake Path - a moderate climb which should take 45-60 minutes. The western route passes the town of Arad, from where a 22-km marked road (No. 3199) leads to Masada. A parking lot, cafeteria and toilets are available here. A t 5-20 minute climb up the ramp leads to the mountaintop.
COMMENT: There is no road connecting the eastern and western sides of Masada. The only way to get by car from one side to the other is via a 70-km route, along the Arad-Sheffech Zohar Road. Masada National Park is open all year round (excluding Yom Kippur) to visitors walking up, from sunrise to one hour before sunset. It is forbidden to stay on the mountain after dark. The cable car operates throughout the year (excluding Yom Kippur), from 8:00 to 16:00. On Friday nights and holidays- operation ends one hour before the park is closed.
For details regarding visits, fees etc. please call 07-6584207-8. The national park has antiquities of historical value. It is forbidden to damage or deface these antiquities, or to collect souvenirs at the site. Entrance to sites not yet open to visitors is forbidden. It is forbidden to enter fenced off areas, take shortcuts or throws stones. Reconstructed areas are marked with black paint. Anything below the line indicates original remains. For your convenience - drinking water, dustbins and toilet facilities are available. Please keep them clean.

Masada Sound and Light Show

A unique show in its vivid portrayal of the life, the struggle and the heroism of the people of Masada, some 1900 years ago. Tel: 07-959333 Fax: 07-955052

Metzoke Dragot

Explore the Desert with your personal guide and jeep. From 2 hours to full day. Rent a rappeling guide and set out on a day of adventure. Tel: 02-994-4222, Fax: 02-994-4323.

Qumran

Qumran, located west of the Kaliah-Sedom road on northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, had a Jewish population as far back as the eighth century B.C.E. But it was not this settlement that made the site famous. Qumran's fame comes from a break-away sect, known as the Essenes, who lived and studied here for two centuries - from the end of the Hashmonean period, through the great revolt of the Jews against the Romans - and left in the surrounding caves a magnificent legacy, that we now call the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Essenes arrived at Qumran towards the end of the second century B.C.E., during the rule of Archelaus, Herod's son (4 B.C.E. - 6 C.E.), the Essenes return to Qumran and rebuilt it. In 68 C.E., during the great Jewish revolt, the Romans conquered Qumran and dispersed the sect. The last known inhabitants of Qumran were members of a Roman garrison stationed there during the Bar Kochba revolt (132-135 C.E.). When the garrison was relocated, the site was abandoned and forgotten.
The search for the center of Essene activity began in 1947, the year that Bedouins shepherds found seven ancient scrolls in a local cave. Father R. de Vaux and a team of French archaeologists excavated the area between 1951 and 1956 and found additional scrolls and early structures that supported the theory that Qumran had indeed been the nucleus of Essene activity. The caves that dot the difficult-to-reach slopes and crevices of Qumran had served the Essenes in time of need as hiding places for their library. The scrolls, hidden in jars for nearly two thousand years and preserved as a result of the area's arid climate, included books of The Old Testament, the Apocrypha and the sect's own works. Some of these scrolls are on display at "The Shrine of the Book" in the Israel Museum.
The Essenes were ascetics, and as such, had paid great attention to ritual bathing and purity. They lived a communal life in a settlement that was constructed to make them as self-reliant as possible. They had assembly halls, a central dining room, in which ceremonial meals were eaten, a kitchen, ritual baths, a laundry room, a watchtower, a stable and a pottery workshop. Of special interest is the Sciptorium - the writing room - with its desks and inkstands, where the Essenes scribes probably wrote most of the scrolls found in the adjoining caves. Members of the sect lived in huts and tents. The central cemetery of the sect was also located at Qumran. After the Six-Day War in 1967, Qumran was put in the care of the National Parks Authority, which built an access road and parking lot and installed sanitary facilities, paths for hikers and information signs.

Sodom

Traditionally thought to be the scene of Sodom and Gomorrah, the wicked Biblical cities that God destroyed with fire and brim-stone and the place where Lot's wife was said to have, regrettably, turned to a pillar of salt as she looked back on the home she was leaving behind. In truth, those sinful cities were probably located farther east. The most interesting sights in Sodom are off the beaten track, so an organized walk with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is the way to go.

St. George's Monastery

Greek monastery in Wadi Kelt - The Greek Orthodox Monastery lies about 350m above Jericho, perched on a rocky ledge about 3km northwest of the town. The present monastery was built at the end of the last century around a cave chapel that marks the stone on which Jesus reputedly sat during the temptation. The spot is another of the holy sites said to have been identified by Queen Helena in her pilgrimage of 326 A.D. Other sources however date the place only as far back as the twelfth century. This casts doubts on the claim that some of the gold leaf icons in the chapel at the southern end of the building are of Byzantine origin. The Monastery of St. George, Deir al-Qelt, is carved out of the rock and clings to the canyon walls like a fairy tale fortress. Built in the fifth or sixth century, the monastery was destroyed during the Persian invasion of Palestine. Most of the present monastery dates back to the 1901 restoration by the Greek Orthodox Church.

Tel Jericho

Site of ancient Jericho, to the northwest of the modern town. Excavations have exposed a Stone Age round tower; graves from the Calcheolithic period; Canaanite walls; at the foot of Tel-Elisha a spring - the spring at which Elisha changed the bitter water to sweet water; Herod's palaces to the west of the town and Hasmonean palaces; a magnificent bath house, gardens, theater and hippodrome; remains of a large cemetery with Hebrew and Greek inscriptions; remains of 6th century synagogue with mosaic floor and Jewish symbols with Hebrew inscription "Shalom al Israel".

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