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En Gedi


En Gedi has been inhabited since the IV millennium BC and it owes its fame to David who chose it as a place of refuge when fleeing from King Shaul (1Sam 24:1).

En Gedi: an oasis on the shore of the Dead Sea
1. Entrance to the Reserve
2. Nahal Dawid
3. En Shulammit
4. Calcholithic temple
5. Roman Road
6. En Gedi
7. Tel Goren and wadi Arugot
8. Synagogue

Wadi Dawid
While climbing Wadi Dawid along a rugged but walkable path, one has the experience of passing alternately through barren rocks and flourishing shrubs.

A waterfall fills the underneath cave with the sense of freshness. Many kinds of birds live here in what looks to be a small piece of paradise in the middle of the desert.

The nature at En Gedi


Above: The “spring of the Shulammit” (Song 7:1) is surrounded by canes (Arundo donax)

Below: The Sodom apple (Calotropis procera) and palm dates tree (Phoenix dactylifera)
Above: Two exemplars of ibex (Capra ibex) among thorny trees (Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia raddiana)

Below: An irax (Procavia capensis) standing on a boulder.


The calcholithic temple
The calcholithic temple is sited on a spot from where the entire oasis can be seen; it has been the main cultual place for the inhabitants of this region around 3000 BC.

The sanctuary is comprised inside of a dry-stone fence. The entrance was made through a fortified gate.

The circular structure in the middle of the fenced area appears to have a connection with some ritual ceremony where water played an important role.

The worshippers could enter a broad room with benches all around and in its middle. The divine presence was probably indicated by stelae.

Art work in bronze (scepter) from the Calcholithic period (IV millennium BC) pertaining to the very rich Nahal Mishmar trove (now visible in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem).

Spring of En Gedi and Tel Goren
The longer path inside the En Gedi Reserve comprises a visit to the spring of En Gedi (“of the deer”), from which the entire oasis get its name.

In Wadi Arugot lays Tel Goren. The ruins of the ancient city of En Gedi (VII cent. BC - VI cent. BC) were discovered in this place. The most renowned product of En Gedi was the “balsam”, which was extracted from a local tree by means of an industry process still unknown to this day.

Throughout all the ancient occupation period to the VI cent. AD this place has been inhabited by Jews. The excavated synagogue is paved with a mosaic floor rich in Hebrew-Aramaic inscriptions and symbols of the Jewish religion.

Click on the photos to enlarge.


External Links

En Gedi (Department for Jewish Education)

The En Gedi Archaeological Expedition (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


 SBF main, Excursions Index



Biblical Excursions

The Holy Land


 I 
Emmaus-Nicopoli
Eqron
Ascalon
Gezer

 II 
Jaffa
Tel Qasileh
Ramleh
Lod

 IIIa 
Maaleh Adummin
Qumran

 IIIb 
Israelite
Jericho
Herodian
Naaran

Tell es-Sultan
Mafjar

 IV 
En Gedi
Masada

Appendix 
Samaria

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Created/updated: Sunday, December 16, 2001 by J. Abela / E. Alliata
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