Sonntag, 21. April 2019

21.4. Beer Sheva, Negev Desert, Ein Avdat

This morning we started early to drive to Beer Sheva. It was 11 degrees, very cold and rainy and we were hopeful that the weather would certainly be better in the desert but it wasn't. Our friend Avi was waiting for us in Lehavim and after a short hello to his mother Miriam we went on heading south. We stopped at David Ben Gurions grave and already saw the entrance to the canyon Ein Avdat set within the landscape of the Zin Valley in the center of the Negev Desert. We originally planned to walk into the canyon from the bottom, but due to the rain and the dangers of water the entrance to the national park was closed. The only chance to see the canyon was from a balcony view which gave us a good impression of this long Wadi with a waterfall and pools below that provided the source of life for trees and plants amid the barren rocky desert. We took a short walk along some water puddles. In the photos they look like a river.

Avi's lovely mum Miryam with whom I could talk Ivrit.

Avi suggested driving further south to the ruins of the Nabatean city of Avdat on the old incense route from Petra across the desert. The Nabateans used the city for their camel caravans from the 3rd century BC. Arab marauders destroyed much of the city. In 106 CE the Romans conquered the area, but Avdat continued to flourish. Temples and shrines testify that the Nabateans took on the Roman religion. Dams and water channels were added and a bathhouse was found from this period. From the 4th century Christianity grew in the Negev and churches replaced the pagan temples. A monastery was built, although many monks lived in caves in the nearby Ein Avdat oasis. The town was destroyed by an earthquake in 630 and was deserted.

 Next Avi took us to an artificial lake in a park.

Then Avi took us east through the Negev. We stopped at a place there you can see lots of different colours of sand. Children were filling various colored sands into bottles. Jakob would have loved to do that, but there was no time. Avi took us to Dimona where we stopped for lunch at a shopping mall. We also saw the powerplant from a distance. In the desert around Beer Sheva we also saw many Bedouine settlements. For us it is hard to imagine how people can exist like that, but that's how they chose to live.




After 20 km we were back in Beer Sheva, where Avi very proudly showed us lots of places. He told us that the Mayor of Beer Sheva is doing a great job recruiting money and building very nice facilities. We saw a huge modern shopping mall with a cinema complex, a brand new park with an artificial lake and playgrounds for children, the stadium and lots of new buildings.




Feeding time for the cats and time to say goodbye for us.