INTO THE WILD
Less than an hour away from the holy city, driving downhill from the top of Mount Scopus on highway 1, you reach the amazing Judean wilderness.
So close yet so far.
a visit to the Judean desert is must for those who are seeking solitude and tranquility and of course to capture some timeless pictures. Staying for a few days combining leisure and outdoor activity is a great way to discover the land of Israel. The Desert will provide answers for those who are seeking knowledge, and as the song goes " In the desert, you can remember your name..."
The scenery and the atmospheric light of the desert will take you back in time, Biblical landscapes where prophets, sages, fugitives and pilgrims all wandered this tough terrain. This region has been all along history the supplier of food and other products to the urban center of Jerusalem – the bible recounts a lot of stories and describes in detail the hardships of the tough inhabitants who depended on rain water which of course was scarce.
Still today this region has mostly dirt roads and the main part is less accessible. The Judean Desert lies within the West bank and is controlled by Israel and the Palestinian authorities. It seems that this region has its own rules…this is the place where the fable of the Good Samaritan was told. In the past and still today it is required to pass this region with a local. Off the beaten track there are endless hiking trails and you can camp in many places for the night. At night you will enjoy a carpet of twinkling stars, a very good location for astral photography.
This timeless region has so many things to offer: Geological formations, barley fields besides grazing sheep and goats, ancient monasteries from early Christianity, archeological sites, and amazing sweeping panorama views. The Jordan River, Masada, Ein Gedi springs, and the Dead sea are the main attractions of the area and are all accessible on the national road 90.
Entering the heart of desert requires a 4x4 vehicle; you can reach the remote ruins of citadels, ancient monasteries and small Bedouin villages. The Bedouin society with its rich culture, unique way of living and their famous hospitality are all part of the experience of leaving the urban landscape and connecting to the primal landscape.
Mount Montar also known as mount Azazel, may be the place where the scapegoat was thrown over the cliff by Jewish priests in the past. This act of throwing the goat was depicted by the famous English painter Holman Hunt. The mountain which rises 520m above sea level has amazing views towards Jerusalem to the west, and amazing views towards the kingdom of Jordan and the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth 430m
below sea level. Floating in the Dead sea is a life time experience, but let’s leave it for another day…
Come to Israel, hope to see you soon