Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ein Gedi

botanic garden at Ein Gedi, Israel, May 2006. ©Ester InbarEin Gedi (עין גדי; KJV Bible Engedi, NIV Bible En Gedi) is an oasis located west of the Dead Sea, close to Masada and the caves of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Location 31°27′N, 35°23′E.

It is known for its caves, springs, and its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Ein Gedi is mentioned several times in biblical writings, for example, in the Song of Songs;

"My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna flowers in the vineyards of Ein Gedi" (1:14). Accorded to Jewish tradition, David hid from Saul in the caves here;

"And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of Ein Gedi" (1
Samuel 24:1).
A kibbutz, founded in 1956, is located about a kilometer from the oasis. It offers various tourist attractions and takes advantage of the local weather patterns and the abundance of natural water to cultivate out-of-season produce. Prior to the founding of the kibbutz, the Ein Gedi area had not been permanently inhabited for 500 years.


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