Judaean Desert Tours
NORTHERN JUDAEAN DESERT
Duration: 4 hours/Full day
Leaving Jerusalem in the morning, we drive out in Jeeps towards the Dead Sea, leaving the city traffic behind in minutes, and entering the vast expanses of the Judean desert.
The desert provides us a fascinating and rare view of our ancestor's way of life. We will enter off-road territory inhabited mainly by nomadic Bedouin tribes, where we will see their tents and animals.
We will visit ancient water cisterns, so important for desert farmers and still in use today, and meet shepherds who will explain how the Bedouin way of life has remained untouched for generations.
A challenging ride will take us up to Mount Azazel, the sacred hilltop where, in the ancient Jewish tradition, every year on Yom Kippur a scapegoat carrying the sins of the people was cast off a cliff.
Another option is the Mar Saba monastery, almost a secret for travelers in Israel because of the relative difficulty in arriving at the site. The huge monastery, founded over 1500 years ago, is one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world. The awe-inspiring structure is inhabited by around twenty Greek Orthodox monks, who also meditate in the surrounding rock caves.
A visit to Nebi Musah (Moses's tomb by the Muslim tradition) completes the tour with a touch at each of the three monotheistic religions.
Additional stops along the way:
Lookout on Jericho from Mitzpe Yericho (a Jewish settlement), and a lookout on St. George's monastery in Wadi Qelt.
The Wadi Qelt oasis, where we can bathe in the clear and refreshing water of natural springs, and witness their unique gushing forth. The cold, clear waters seep out of the rocks and form pools and streams, which are hard to resist. We’ll spend time swimming, relaxing, drinking coffee and eating snacks, before leaving the desert behind and returning to Jerusalem, happy and refreshed. (Picture: EIN QELT)
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