The essentials to visit in Israel: focus on the Negev desert

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Israel is a small country with 62% of its territory covered by the Negev desert. Its red-toned landscape is characterized by impressive rock formations on a pristine, silent and imposing expanse. You can observe vestiges of past civilizations and their agriculture, as well as leading archaeological sites such as Avdat or Mamshit.

The Negev also allows you to meet the Bedouin tribes, who are the historical inhabitants of the desert and is easily accessible on foot or by bike via many marked hiking trails.

Tourists often make a 2 or 3 day stopover in each region of the Negev. While traveling the desert for three hours, one has the opportunity to admire all kinds of desert landscapes and enjoy a variety of panoramas that can only be encountered in other deserts at the cost of a long journey. .

Beer Sheva, the largest city in southern Israel, is commonly considered to be the capital of the Negev. Made famous by an episode of Genesis, its name means “the well of the oath”. The City of Abraham is still a gathering place for Bedouins, and their presence, though discreet, recalls the city’s nomadic past. The old Ottoman town, where you can see the old mosque, is the heart of Beer Sheba. The remains of an Israelite locality from the 8th century BC. BC were unearthed at the archaeological site of Tel Beer Sheba (4 km east of the city). In particular, the famous well of Abraham was discovered there.

The Ramon crater lies in the heart of the vast Negev. It is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Israel”. Also called Machtesh Ramon, it is the largest erosion crater in the world. This natural phenomenon, in the shape of an elongated heart, is 40 km long and between 2 and 10 km wide. It is made up of a wide variety of rocks with variegated shapes and colors (ochre, brick, coral, pink, orange, beige). It is Israel’s largest national park.
Timna Park offers an impressive landscape, with its horseshoe-shaped valley and steep cliffs. Hiking enthusiasts will be able to discover the extraordinary fauna and flora that make up the desert despite its arid and hostile environment.

Sde Boker. The Negev has nearly 265 kibbutzim still active in Israel, including the Kibbutz of Sde Boker. It is famous because it is here that the most decisive personality in the modern history of the Jewish people, David Ben Gurion, chose to settle. Today, Sde Boker is one of the rare kibbutz in the country which has managed to preserve a traditional collectivist model.

Catherine Mills Avatar