“It might be too late to change the world, but it is never too late to see it”

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The Dead Sea  &  surrounding

my favorite place in Israel

Good old times.
Just before getting to the Dead Sea, I made a stop at the Dead Sea Level and paid a visit to the nice cmael called Shushi. She and her owner, a beduin, were a great tourist attraction. The camel was really treated well. Such a lovely animal! But since few years now, this is all history. Israelis built the wall and the beduin man was forced to give up that spot. Very sad to me.

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Welcome to the Dead Sea
hebrew Yam hamelach “sea of salt”, arabic Bahr Lut “sea of lot”.

It is about 76 km long and 16 km wide (1000 m2) and is located between the two countries Israel and Jordan. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth; 398 m below the sea level with mineral-rich waters and mud flow with natural health and beauty benefits. It is also one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth with a salinity of about 30% This is about 8.6 times greater than the average ocean salinity. The main tributary is the Jordan River.
It was a place of refuge for King David, it was one of the world’s first health resorts for Herod the Great, and it has been the supplier of products as diverse as balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers.

In the morning around 6 am, September 18, 2005, front Israel, back Jordan
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Stones are covered by salt and oil
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view over the Dead Sea to Jordan, October 17, 2005
Getting into the Dead Sea and putting mud on your body is fun!!!!
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(also spelled Qilt, Kilt)

Came to this view point quite often. Always wanted to hike to the oasis, but never did as it is too dangerous. Too many shootings going on here by israelian soldiers.

It is a long canyon stretching from the spring of Ein Farah, south of the Jerusalem suburb of Anata, down to Jericho in the east. “Wadi” is Arabic for a creek bed or ravine, and the high, sheer rock walls carve a deep crevice in the Judean Hills east of the Holy City. Many natural caves and shelters spread along the valley and are exploited by Bedouins and their livestock. From the top of the mountains, the Dead Sea and most of the Jordan River Valley are visible. Near the end of the wadi, Jericho appears in the midst of a wide, flat plain. Formerly part of the main highway, the valley saw frequent use right up to the end of the Ottomaan period in 1917.

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Monastery of St. George of Koziba
October 21, 2005

The Monastery of St. George clings to the canyon walls like a fairy-tale castle. Of all the monasteries founded in this spectcacularly ausere area between the 4th and 7th centuries A.D., it is the only survivor. The first monks to settle as hermits in the caves in this part of the wadi were named Prono, Elias, Gannaios, Ainan and Zenon (about 420 A.D.).
The monastery itself, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded by St. John of Thebes about 480 A.D. as a spiritual center for the hermits of the region. In the 6th century A.D. it became known as St. George under the leadership of St. George Of Koziba. Born in Cypus aobut 550 A.D., St. George lived for a time in Jordan, but later an intense longing for a more ascetic life brought him to the Wadi Kelt. Until its destruction during the Persian invasion of Palestine in 614 A.D. it housed scores of monks and was famed for its hospitality to travelers en route to Damascus and Baghdad.
A Greek-Arabic inscription above the old entrance of the monastery testifies to its reconstruction in 1179 by the Crusaders. But most of the present monastery dates back to a 1879-1901 reconstruction by the Greek Orthodox Church. The oldest part of the building is the 6th century A.D. mosaic floors of the Church of St. George and John. the skulls of the monks martyred by the Persians are kept here and a niche contains the tomb of St. George.

view from a distance
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Going from the desert to the Dead Sea

Found this area very nice but when turning around it said DANGER MINES...
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I was so lucky getting a pic of him. He must be the oldest and is always seen without the herd. I got like 5 meters close to him.
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It is a ruin from the days of the Second Temple on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. It became famous since 1947 when a number of ancient manuscripts were found in nearby caves. These manuscripts are now known as the Dead Sea scrolls. in 1947 two Bedouin shepherds accidentally came across a clay jar in a cave near Khirbet Qumran that contained seven parchment scrolls. The scrolls came into the hands of dealers in antiquities who offered them to scholars. The first scholar to recognize their antiquity was E.L. Sukenik, who succeeded in acquiring three of them for the Hebrew University. Between 1948 and 1950 he published specimen of them, his “editio princeps” appearing posthumously in 1955. The four other scrolls were smuggled to the United States, where three of them were published 1950-1951. Later they were offered for sale (in a usual newspaper ad, five lines long, under “Miscellaneous for sale”). Yigael Yadin, tthe son of E.L. Sukenik and also an outstanding archaeologist, succeeded in buying them and bringing back to Israel. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem constructed a special site for exhibiting the scrolls - the Shrine of the Book (opened in 1965). Strict atmospheric conditions are obsered there to minimize the possible damage to the scrolls. In the meantime a group of scholars under the leadership of R. de Vaux began to search and excavate the cave where the first scrolls were found, as well as some 40 caves in its vicinity. Many scrolls and thousands of fragments were found in 11 caves. The Qumran manuscripts were mostly written on parchment, some on papyrus. In some caves the manuscripts were carefully placed in covered cylindrical jars, whereas in other ones they appear to have been dumped in haste.

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February 25, 2006
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When the Jewish rebellion erupted in 66 CE., a group of Zealots headed for Massada. They knew that Herod had built, about 100 years earlier, an impregnable fortress on its summit which he intended to use as a sanctuary in the event of Cleopatra or local dissidents trying to usurp his throne.

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With the fall of Jerusalem 4 years later in 70 CE they were joined by survivors fleeing the capital and some essenses from Qumran (about 960 men, women and children). In 72 CE the Roman Governor, Flavius Silva, arrived at the foot of Massada with the Tenth Legion, auxiliaries and 10 000 Jewish slaves. The defender, Eleazar Ben Ya’ir, war-time speech: “Let our wives die before they are abused and our children before they have tasted of slavery and after we have slain them, let us bestow that glorious benefit upon one another mutually, and preserve ourselves in freedom, as an excellent funeral monument for us”. he then exhorted them to destroy their money and burn the fortress but to spare their provisions. “For they will be a testimonial when we are dead that we were not subdued for want of neccessaries, but ... prefererred death before slavery”.
They “gave the longest parting kisses” to their wives and children and then slew them. Then they cast lots to choose 10 men to despatch the remainder. Again they cast lots to select one to kill the survivors. With this done, the lone Jew “ran his sword entirely through himself”. Details of the mass suicide and the oration were provided later by two women and five children who hid in the underground caves and lived to tell the tale.
Today, Massada has become a symbol for men who cherish freedom. The defiant cry of recruits to the Israel Defence Forces Armoured Unit swearing the oath of allegiance in an annual ceremony on its summit: “Massada shall never fall again!”

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