Blogs from South District, Israel, Middle East

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Middle East » Israel » South District » Ashdod August 18th 2023

The Museum of Philistine Culture is an archaeological museum in Ashdod by the southern coast in Israel. The museum is dedicated to the culture of the Philistines, the ancient people who inhabited the maritime part of Israel from the 12th century BC. It is the only museum in the world completely dedicated to the Philistine people. it held our for a few hours and were impressed by the exhibits and clear explanations. Using our own smartphones we followed a free self-guided online tour in audio and text. Several languages are available and we chose English, as did the couple who accompanied us. The Philistine people dominated the Mediterranean middle east for 6 centuries from From the 12th to 7th century BCE. Their kingdom centered in ancient Caanan with its seat of power on the southeastern Mediterranean ... read more
Philistine empire collapsing
Philistine archeology
Philistine religious artifacts

Middle East » Israel » South District » Eilat June 20th 2023

Eilat is the southernmost city in Israel, next to the Red Sea. It's a city people visit for diving, snorkeling and lovely hikes. It's also the tax free zone in Israel, so people come here to shop. I spent the first day at Coral Beach Nature Reserve. It's an absolute heaven for snorkeling, clearest waters I have seen in a long time and marine life just next to the beach (just put your head inside the water). I also visited Timna Park, a 6,500+ year old Copper Mine which was mined from everyone including King Solomon to the Egyptians to Romans. The mine was shut in the 1970 after Chile became the dominant player in Copper mining and Israel found it hard to compete. The landscapes at Timna Park are beautiful. I also visited the Red ... read more
Coral Beach Nature Reserve
Timna Park
Timna Park

Middle East » Israel » South District » Mitzpe Ramon January 10th 2019

Di nuovo in Israele, dove ho lasciato per ultime alcune gemme nascoste nel deserto del Negev e poco piu' in la'. MITZPE RAMON: Questo piccolo villaggio sorge sul ciglio di un grande cratere che si e' formato quando, nel corso dei millenni, l'acqua di un antico mare si e' ritirata. Arrivando da Eilat a Sud, l'autobus passa a caricare e scaricare giovani militari di leva che prestano servizio nelle numerosi basi sparse nell' inospitale ed isolato deserto del Negev, lontane da sguardi indiscreti; la strada sale gradualmente fino ad arrivare ad una ampia valle contornata da quello che in termini scientifici viene definito "circo d' erosione" ma che viene piu' semplicemente chiamato il "gran canyon" d'Israele: il Makhtesh Ramon. Qualche tornante e si arriva sul suo bordo dove l'altopiano continua poi indisturbato come niente fosse; qualche ... read more
Mar Morto
Ein Gedi: Wadi David
Mar Mediterraneo

Middle East » Israel » South District April 24th 2018

Left hotel at 7:30 today for our trip to the southern end of the Dead Sea and Masada. Unfortunately my assigned buddy, Juliet succumbed to the cold she had been fighting and decided not to join us today. We got to Masada around 9am and stayed until 10:45am. We all took the cable car to go up but Pierre, Tash, Greg and Steve were keen to walk down so Mahdi said they could leave the guided tour and start walking at 10am. Masada is a fortress built on a mesa like plateau and King Herod had palaces built here around 39BCE. However it is most famous for a siege in 73 CE when Jewish rebels against the Romans are said to have committed mass suicide when it was inevitable that the Romans were about to break ... read more
Masada
Masada
Masada

Middle East » Israel » South District » Mitzpe Ramon November 7th 2017

The final day of our trip and we have just over 100 miles to cover to reach the airport. But first time to explore Mitzpe Ramon. We head for the sculpture park overlooking the crater. It is still early, there are more ibexes than people and they take a keen interest in us. The journey to the airport is more complicated than expected, the old and new private motorways run in parallel and Google maps keeps trying to divert us from one to the other. Plus we need petrol; it’s pay at pump and the instructions are only in Hebrew. A fellow motorist takes pity on the old man and helps with the transaction. We arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check out the quirky Ben Gurion statues and convert our spare Shekels ... read more
Ibexes (2)
Ibexes (3)
Mitzpe Ramon

Middle East » Israel » South District » Mitzpe Ramon November 6th 2017

Time to head back towards the airport, which will be achieved over two days. Today a 100 mile drive through the Negev Desert to Mitzpe Ramon, a town on the edge of the Makhtesh Ramon crater. The drive though the desert is more scenic than I expected. There are warning signs for camels and tanks. I’m not sure which I would least like to hit. We arrive at the crater and head for the Ramon Visitor Centre. We buy tickets and head inside. We are expecting a museum detailing the geology/flora/fauna of the region. We are not expecting to enter a fake rocket launch site to watch a series of films about Ilan Ramon, an Israeli astronaut who died on board the space shuttle Columbia. The area is very busy with both tourists and soldiers on ... read more
Beware of Tanks
Negev Desert
Negev Desert (2)

Middle East » Israel » South District » Eilat November 3rd 2017

Today’s schedule is simple: 1) Blat down the last 130 miles of Route 90 to Eilat. 2) Relax on the beach. There are no shops or restaurants in Neve Zohar, so we get up and head for Eilatstraight away. Once through the security cordon that surrounds the city, we find a bakery and eat brunch on a bench overlooking the Red Sea. Eilat isn’t as nice as I had hoped. The beach is super crowded and the sand is littered with bottle tops, cigarette ends and broken glass. It’s not like the pristine sand I’m used to in Bournemouth, so we give up and head for our hotel. Almog is a large apartment complex next to the university. We are the oldest there by several decades, but the room is nice. We sit down on the ... read more
Almog view Day
Almog View Sunset
Almog View Night

Middle East » Israel » South District » Ein Bokek November 2nd 2017

I have not been looking forward to today’s journey, we are heading to Eilat down R90, an Israeli controlled road which runs through The West Bank. But first, the Roman town of Beit She’an. You can climb the hill behind the town for a great view looking back across it. We head out of Israel, and yet weirdly still in it, along Route 90. Security is tight; both on the ground and overhead, with MIGs speeding up and down the road corridor. The journey is without incident and we reach the other side of the West Bank. We know we have reached ‘civilisation’ when we spot a McDonalds in an oasis. We reach the ancient town of Masada, which lies on a plateau above the Dead Sea, where 1000 Jews attempted to defend themselves against the ... read more
Beit She'an
View over Bei She'an
R90 MIG flypast

Middle East » Israel » South District » Masada October 17th 2017

Our last day in the south. We spent 3 hours in Masada today. If you have never heard of Masada please google it. Very interesting I'm glad we weren't there I July-Aug it gets very hot. We are pretty tired tonight as we have to get ready for our trip north to Jerusalem. So I will be brief on the text Here are some photos from today. Lowell... read more
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Middle East » Israel » South District » Ein Bokek October 16th 2017

Well here we are in the south of Israel, We did decide to come south running close to Jordan in the Jordan Valley HWY 90. It runs through the Palestinian Authority Region but seemed safe enough as we only went through one check point and that was occupied by Israeli military. We stopped at Qunram where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We continued south toward Ein Gedi. Seeing the Dead Sea for the first time we were suprised how blue it is. The terrain on the west side of the sea very different. You will see that on the images. Tomorrow we will go to Masada in the forenoon and bob around in that salty sea after. Here's some pictures Lowell... read more
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Aquaducts coming down from up above Qunram
Ritual Baths




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