If you are visiting Israel, Ein Gedi is one of the must-see sites that you don’t want to miss. It is located on the western shore of the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth at 400 meters below sea level. Although the climate in the area is extremely hot and dry, Ein Gedi is an oasis. It is mentioned in many historical documents, and history shows it was King David’s favorite place.
About Ein Gedi
Ein Gedi is a true desert oasis – one of very few on Earth. It is surrounded by dry desert sand, but in the oasis itself, visitors can find everything from waterfalls, streams, beautiful plant life, rabbits, exotic birds, leopards, deer, and more. In fact, Ein Gedi means “Spring of the Goat”. Back in biblical times, it was used as a water source for people and their livestock alike. The spring at Ein Gedi begins to flow 656 feet above the Dead Sea, and a 30-minute hike will take visitors to waterfalls and pools. Visitors will also find an ancient sanctuary that historians believe was built in 4,000 BC, making it one of the oldest surviving structures in Israel.
The Biblical Story of King David
After David successfully killed Goliath, he was brought before King Saul, who was very pleased with his actions. In fact, King Saul was so pleased that he made David a chief in his army and allowed him to live in his house. Over time, word got around that David killed many more enemies than the King, which made King Saul jealous. After the jealousy escalated, the King decreed that he would kill David, causing him to flee into the desert. Eventually, he arrived at Ein Gedi. It was here that King Saul encountered David. To hear the rest you have to come on my tour!
More Reasons to Visit
People have long believed Ein Gedi to be a holy place thanks to the story of King David, and they come from all over the world to see the palm trees, which are the principal crop of the people living in that area (known as Kibbutz). They also own a spa to the south where you can soak in a natural hot mineral bath or even coat yourself with the mud of the Dead Sea, which many claim helps purify the body and rid it of illness and disease. There is even a modest campsite located near the beach on the Dead Sea for those who choose to enjoy more than an afternoon seeing the sights.
Nearby Qumran National Park
Just a few miles north of Ein Gedi, visitors will find the Qumran National Park, which is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. It was in the caves in this ancient settlement that archaeologists discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls back in 1947. There is also evidence of people living in the caves as far back as the 8th century BC.
In addition to Qumran the desert fortress of Masada stands just a 20 minute drive to the south.
Ein Gedi is not only King David’s favorite spot, but it is also a gorgeous and breathtaking oasis for those living in the desert around the Dead Sea. There is certainly plenty for visitors to see and do here, whether they are interested in a profound religious experience or a chance to soak in one of the world’s most popular mineral springs.