The Ein Gedi Oasis from Above and Inside

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The Ein Gedi oasis is located at the foot of the Judean Desert fault cliff, between the ridge and the Dead Sea. It consists of four major fresh-water springs supplying 3 million cubic meters of water a year, forming the contrast between the lush oasis and the dry desert surrounding it. The combination of the hot temperatures and the abundance of water create perfect conditions for semi-tropical plants that grow here naturally. The water and the vegetation attract many species of vegetarian animals as the Nubian Ibex and the Rock Hyrax, that themselves attract the predators, as the Wolf and the Fox, and until 2006 there were even leopards around! Since ancient times man was aware of the advantages of Ein Gedi, and some archaeological remains date back to the Chalcolithic Period, some 6000 years ago. During the Roman-Byzantine era, 2000-1400 years ago, a Jewish community prospered here, making a living out of the special and very expensive perfume, the “Apharsemon” (balsam) that was produced from the extracts of a bush that was grown here, but disappeared into a mystery and now no one knows which plant was it…

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An Amazing Desert Trek in Wadi Rum, Jordan

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For desert lovers Jordan is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The large variety of rocks, the dramatic landscape created by the Dead Sea Rift fault and the numerous amount of hidden water springs combine to an orgy of shapes and colors. In previous posts I’ve described treks in the vicinity of Petra, Rajef and the Dead Sea canyons. On this one we’re heading south, close to the border with Saudi Arabia: The protected area of Wadi Rum.

This area consists of steep inselbergs surrounded with red and yellow sand dunes. It is reached by a road that branches east from the Desert Highway, about half an hour drive from Aqaba. On that road you drive around fifteen more minutes to reach the visitors’ center and the entrance, where there’s entrance fee required, five Jordanian Dinar per person in 2011.

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