Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea

Wednesday, 20 October 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Ein Gedi Beach © Mboesch/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ein Gedi Beach © Mboesch/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ein Gedi (Arabic: Ain Jidy), also spelt En Gedi, meaning “spring of the kid“, is an oasis and a nature reserve in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves. Ein Gedi was listed in 2016 as one of the most popular nature sites in the country. The site attracts about one million visitors a year.

Ein Gedi nature reserve was declared in 1971 and is one of the most important reserves in Israel. The park is situated on the eastern border of the Judean Desert, on the Dead Sea coast, and covers an area of 14000 dunams (3,500 acres or 14 km²). The elevation of the land ranges from the level of the Dead Sea at 423 meters (1,388 ft) below sea level to the plateau of the Judean Desert at 200 meters above sea level. Ein Gedi nature reserve includes two spring-fed streams with flowing water year-round: Wadi Sdeir and Wadi el-Jihar. Two other springs, the Shulamit and Ein Gedi springs, also flow in the reserve. Together, the springs generate approximately three million cubic meters of water per year. Much of the water is used for agriculture or is bottled for consumption. The reserve is a sanctuary for many types of plant, bird and animal species. The vegetation includes plants and trees from the tropical, desert, Mediterranean, and steppian regions, such as Sodom apple, acacia, jujube, and poplar. The many species of resident birds are supplemented by over 200 additional species during the migration periods in the spring and fall. Mammal species include the Nubian ibex and the rock hyrax. The Ein Gedi national park features several archaeological sites including the Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi and a first-century CE village. The park was declared in 2002 and covers an area of 8 dunams (2.0 acres or 8,000 m²).

Asian green bee-eater in Ein Gedi nature reserve © flickr.com - Sarah Murray/cc-by-sa-2.0 Ein Gedi Beach © Mboesch/cc-by-sa-4.0 Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens © Daniel Ventura/cc-by-sa-4.0 Ein Gedi Spa © flickr.com - Ricardo Tulio Gandelman/cc-by-2.0 Ein Gedi synagogue © Ziko van Dijk/cc-by-sa-3.0 Two Nubian Ibexes in Ein Gedi nature reserve © Yuvalr/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Asian green bee-eater in Ein Gedi nature reserve © flickr.com - Sarah Murray/cc-by-sa-2.0
Ein Gedi has been subject to a large number of sinkholes appearing in the area, which have even damaged the highway built in 2010 which was supposedly built to a “sinkhole-proof” design. The sinkholes are due to the decline in the water level of the Dead Sea, as of 2021 at an annual rate of more than a metre, which is attributed to the battle for scarce water resources in the very arid region. The sinkholes form as a result of the receding shoreline (with the surface of the Sea having shrunk by about 33 per cent since the 1960s), where a thick layer of underground salt is left behind. When fresh water arrives in the form of heavy rains, it dissolves the salt as it sinks into the ground, forming an underground cavity, which eventually collapses under the weight of the surface ground layer. Tourism has been affected by the receding shoreline and the sinkholes, and the amount of water from the rains reaching the sea has diminished since flash floods started pouring into the sinkholes. Huge cave systems called karsts convey water underground between the sinkholes. Scientists in the floodplain area south of Ein Gedi have been using cameras, water testing, videos using drones and satellite monitoring to map the area for safety.

Kibbutz Ein Gedi, founded in 1956, is a kibbutz located about a kilometer from the oasis. It offers various tourist attractions and takes advantage of the local weather patterns and the abundance of natural water to cultivate out-of-season produce. The kibbutz area contains an internationally acclaimed botanical garden covering an area of 100 dunams (10 ha, 24.7 acres). There one can find more than 900 species of plants from all over the world. The kibbutz is also home to the Ein Gedi Eco Park, which functions as both a zoo and an environmental education center, demonstrating sustainable technologies such as solar cookers, greywater systems, mud buildings, and compost toilets.

The Ein Gedi race, also known as the Shalom Marathon – Dead Sea Half Marathon is a popular road running event over several distances that has been held by the Tamar Regional Council since 1983. The starting point for all races is the Ein Gedi Spa, 80 kilometers (50 mi) southeast of Jerusalem and 4 kilometers south of Kibbutz Ein Gedi.

Read more on Ein Gedi, Wikivoyage En Gedi and Wikipedia En Gedi (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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