Day Tour to the Dead Sea
Just a 30 minutes ride east of Jerusalem will get us to the “Sea Level” sign, where we can have a photo oppurtunity, as well as a short and fun camel ride in the desert.
Not far from it, east of Jericho, we could also visit the site which by Christian Tradition marks the place where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist (“Qasr el-Yahud“). The site is a popular pilgrimage destination, and many will also conduct a baptismal ceremony at the location.
Upon reaching the Dead Sea, we first drive to the famous site of Masada, where some 2000 years ago Jewish Rebels favored death to Roman slavery. The site was excavated thoroughly in the 1960’s, and holds dramatic evidence from the time of King Herod and the Jewish big Rebellion (66-74 CE). The site is also a popular destination for Israeli and Jewish youth groups, and Bar-Mitzvah events.
After a lunch break we could go for a swim at the Dead Sea, one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. Its minerals and black mud are known for their therapeutical value, as well as having rejuvenating effect to human skin.
On the way back we could drive through the Nature reserve of Ein-Gedi, where we might track some of the local wild goats (Ibex), and if time and will permits we could visit the Byzantine era synagogue found at the oasis, or hike in the nature reserve to a set of waterfalls.
Near the northern Western Shores of the Dead Sea we could also stop for a view of the caves where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found. A total of 11 caves around the site of Kh. Qumran yielded in the 1950’s some 970 scrolls, all reflecting a mysterious Jewish sect that excluded itself from Jerusalem, and lived in great anticipation for a Messiah. It is quite likely the John the Baptist was a member of this sect, and they shaped much of his own beliefs.
If time and will permit we can also stop on the way back to Jerusalem for a panoramic view of Saint George Monastery located in a scenic spot in the Judean Desert.
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