Only an hour’s drive from Jerusalem, in the Judean Desert there is a beautiful oasis just waiting for you. Ein Gedi is a national park that offers various options for your enjoyment, right in the middle of the desert.
More than just a wonder of nature, Ein Gedi has a rich history and is noted in the Bible. When David escaped from King Saul, he fled to Ein Gedi: “And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-Gedi.” (I Sam 23:29)
The park provides a number of hiking trails ranging from a handicapped accessible path to the first pool, a one hour circuit that takes you to the second pool, where you can enjoy the cool waters and the spray of a waterfall.
For the more adventurous there are longer paths that will allow you to climb up to the remains of a Chalcolithic Temple (approx. 4000-3150 BCE).
The park is home to many ibex and hyrax. If you visit early in the morning you will see them enjoying their breakfast before the heat of the day sets in.
While at Ein Gedi, don’t forget to visit the ancient synagogue with its beautiful mosaic floor. It is the centerpiece of the Jewish settlement that flourished there during the 3rd-6th centuries. The synagogue faces north – to Jerusalem, according to the Jewish custom of all synagogues facing Jerusalem.