Situated at the foot of the spring which gives its name, this tourist and therapeutic complex is the biggest and most developed along the entire Dead Sea coast. With twelve luxury hotels, and numerous clinics and spas, hot springs, shopping malls, restaurants and bars, it is created solely for the relaxation and enjoyment of it's visitors. The number of hotels, clinics, and facilities continue to expand to meet with the growing demand of both the day visitors and the longer term tourists and patients.
Ein Bokek is located 90 minutes by road from Jerusalem or 30 minutes from the nearest town of Arad. Bus and Taxi services make for easy access to any part of Israel. In addition to the hotel bathing facilities along the beach there are also free public beaches with lifeguards and sweet water showers available to all. Car rental companies, travel agents and tour offices offer services to cater for those wishing to explore the many attractions of the surrounding area, both with and without local guides.
Ein Bokek is now a modern oasis and panacea for health seekers and tourists alike, and lies in stark contrast to the barren, rugged and genesis landscape of the Judean Desert Cliffs surrounding the area. Notwithstanding, it has been visited by humans since their hunter-gatherer days many thousands of years ago throughout history to the present day. In biblical times the area supplied salt to the world from the huge deposit known as Mount Sodom just south of Ein Bokek. Because of the great value of salt as a meat preserver, it was widely desirable. Roman fortresses were erected and manned to protect the caravansaries transporting these shipments, one of which was situated at Ein Bokek. These archaeological remains and those of a nearby perfume and medicine factory which was also in operation at that time, open a door into another era.
The spring that gives the area its name is situated in the dry river bed of Nahal or Wadi Bokek opposite the hotel area. Within a few minutes one is out of sight of modern civilization and into a canyon-like gorge of typical desert flora and fauna, with small pools fed by the spring. One can ascend the path up to the cliffs for a breathtaking view overlooking the Dead Sea and hotel complex, and is a favorite hike for early risers to see the sunrise before breakfast.
There are many attractions and splendid sights in and around the area, and some of these are listed below. In addition, activities like Jeep Tours, Camel Rides, Mountain Biking, Rappelling, Hiking, Desert Barbecues or Bedouin Feasts can also be arranged and combined with your visit.
Despite it's forbidding name in English, (In Hebrew "Yam Hamelach" means "The Sea of Salt"), this region is amazingly alive and well! Still fascinating as the biblical site of the Lord's wrath, where He rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, and where Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis, 19:24-26), the Dead Sea is also probably the most phenomenal body of water on earth, and its surroundings the most wondrous.
At 400 meters (1300 ft.) below sea level, it is the lowest spot on earth. Part of the 6000km Great African Rift Valley. 55km long by 17.5km. at its widest point, with a depth of up to 400m., this inland sea is flanked by the Judean Hills to the west and by the Mountains of Moab in Jordan to the east. Although fed by rivers in Israel and Jordan, as well as springs and winter floods, no water flows out of the Dead Sea. Instead it evaporates in the high temperatures, twice the amount of water entering, leaving one of the world's greatest concentrations of minerals, which supplies vast amounts of raw chemicals for industry, agriculture and medicine; these are extracted, processed and exported all over the world by the Dead Sea Works at Sedom.
The water, ten times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea, has such a high specific weight that one can float effortlessly with no fear of drowning. The purifying qualities of salt, drawing toxins from the pores of the body, as well as the tremendous concentration of Bromine (20 times higher than in the ocean) has a relaxing effect on the nervous system; while Magnesium (15 times higher) counteracts skin allergies and clears the bronchial passages. In addition, the hot sulphur springs along the shores of the Dead Sea and the deposits of medicinal mud, provide treatment for a number of ailments, such as psoriasis, arthritis, rheumatism, dermatitis, eczema, neurodermatitis and vitiligo.
Cosmetic products derived from the mineral deposits support a thriving industry supplying renowned health spas and beauty salons all over the world. But these cannot compare to being at their source, where the mineral-rich waters and the thermal springs that flow into the sea hold healing and beautifying powers, as well as the unique and special atmosphere of the surrounding Judean desert, have attracted health-seekers for millenia.
The special climatic conditions of the region, and the majesty and serenity of the surrounding desert induce a general feeling of well-being in the healthy and ailing alike. The air is extremely dry while temperatures are high all year round (max. 30° C / 86° F from September to April, and max. 40° C / 104° F from May to August). Rainfall amounts to no more than 50mm (two inches) a year. The low altitude enriches the air in oxygen(l0% more than at sea-level), while the absence of urban concentrations keeps the air pollution-free. The low humidity, combined with the high evaporation rate of the Dead Sea water, increase the body's metabolic activity, and the high atmospheric pressure filters the sun's ultra-violet rays, virtually reducing the danger of sunburn on the more than 300 cloudless days of the year.
Ever since ancient times, the Judean Desert surrounding the Dead Sea region has provided refuge for those in search of freedom or peace. Biblical stories and archaeological remains testify to the role it has played in history. King David, King Herod, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Jewish prophets, zealots, and Christian monks were among the many who found a haven, a place of refuge, or simply inspiration in it’s remote and wild landscape, and the special beauty and serenity of the area.
The unique health-giving properties and the awesome landscape -- primeval, lunar, slashed by canyons and craggy cliffs, and relieved by miraculously verdant oases -- still combine to work wonders on the human body and soul, and indeed, the region has fast become an international tourist and health resort. Deluxe hotels and latest spa facilities along the Ein Bokek seashore, offer balm for the ailing as well as total relaxation in a truly out of this world environment, sun and salubrious air for vacationers fleeing colder climes.
Vered Yericho : Moshav, founded 1980; cultivates winter crops, tropical fruit and date plantations.
Bet Ha'Arava : Kibbutz, founded 1980; named after kibbutz Bet Ha'Arava which was destroyed by the Jordanians in the 1948 War of Independence. Today, the settlement cultivates winter crops, tropical fruit and date plantations.
Solar Pond (Bet Ha'Arava) : Experimental project producing solar energy by a process of sun-heated salt water.
Almog : Kibbutz founded 1977; named after Yehuda A1mog, one of the Dead Sea region's pioneers. Winter crops, tropical fruit and date plantations, as well as industrial enterprises, form its economic base.
Bet HaSofer - (In Kibbutz Almog) : Replicas of Qumeran Scrolls, sound & light presentation.
Kalya Beach : Coastal stretch for recreational and camping purposes along with bathing facilities, water sport area and cafeteria.
Kalya :Kibbutz, founded 1968; first in a line of new settlements in this region. Winter crops, tropical fruit and date plantations, fish ponds, cattle farming and tourist services.
Qumeran and the Dead Sea Scrolls :Important historic and archaeological site, reconstructed as a NationaPark; ancient ruins afford fascinating insight into life of Essenes, religious secessionists of 1st and 2nd centuries, who built a thriving communal centre in this remote area. Many of the religious scrolls, written by the scribes of this reclusive sect, were found in the nearby caves, where they were hidden and are today displayed in the Israel Museum's "Shrine of the Book", in Jerusalem. Among the remains: public buildings, ritual bathhouse, tower, pottery workshops, reservoirs and water systems. Open daily 8.00 -- 16.00; Fri. & eve of holidays 8.00 1~5.00. Entrance fee. Self-service restaurant and souvenir shop.
Enot Tsukim (Ein Fashkha) : Nature Reserve and bathing facilities; fresh water springs and pools in the midst of unique tropical vegetation, abounding with birds, fish and animals. Open daily 8.00 -- 16.00; Fri. & eve of holidays 8.00 -- 14.00. Cafeteria and First-Aid clinic.
Nahal Kidron : Famous canyon traversing Judean Desert from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea; in its delta -- plantations and vegetable gardens.
Enot Qane & Samar : Nature Reserves close to road and coast; rare fauna and flora. Closed to the public.
Metsuke Dragot : Recreation village and centre for desert tours; rappelling and gliding school. Located atop cliff dominating seashore (5 km ascent by car); affords extraordinary observation points.
Mar Saba Monastery : One of the most incredible sights of the desert – a monastery erected in the gorge of Nahal Kidron in the sixth century C.E., occupied now by Greek orthodox monks. (access only by jeep)
Nahal Darga : Canyon-like gorge with breathtaking view; river cascades into Dead Sea, (draining central Judean Desert).
Mizpe Shalem : Kibbutz, founded 1969; ‘Ahava’ cosmetics company, winter crops, date plantations and tourist services are its mainstay.
Mizpe Mikhwar : Observation point located on cliff peak (reached by dirt road); affords magnificent panoramic view of eastern Dead Sea coast.
Ein Gedi Field School : Operated by the Society for the Protection of Nature; serves as research and tour centre for Judean Desert and Dead Sea coast; houses a hostel, study rooms and exhibition of local fauna and flora as well as archaeological and geological finds.
Nahal David : Unique Nature Reserve, the biblical oasis which provided David with refuge from King Saul. Fresh water springs, waterfalls and a stairway of pools wrapped in rich tropical vegetation forming natural beauty spots and haven for desert wild life. Open daily 8.00 -- 16.00; Fri. & eve of holidays 8.00 -- 14.00. Entrance fee. Cafeteria and parking at entrance.
Tel Goren : North of Nahal Arugot and west of the main road. Site of ancient Ein Gedi. Ruins of synagogue and remnants of ancient agriculture.
Nahal Arugot : Nature reserve abounding in waterfalls, pools and typical oasis vegetation. Open daily 8.00 -- 16.00; fri. & eve, of holidays 8.00 -- 14.00. Entrance fee. Parking lot.
Ein Gedi Beach : Varied tourist facilities, including camping ground with caravans, bungalows, cabins and tent space; public campsite, beach, parking lot, first-aid clinic; gas station, restaurant and mini-market.
Ein Gedi : Kibbutz, founded 1953; oldest of modern Israeli settlements in the region; cultivates winter crops, tropical fruit and date plantations; operates various industries and offers tourist services such as a fine guesthouse and therapeutic baths.
Hamme Mazor (Ein Gedi Hot Springs) : Therapeutic bathing facilities (pools) attached to the beach; contain hot sulphuric water from nearby mineral springs, renowned for their beneficial qualities for treatment of diseases of muscles and joints. Modern bathing facilities and paramedical services; Self-service dairy restaurant.
Nahal Hever : Canyon with outstanding cliff views and ancient caves. A number of ancient scroll remnants were found here (The Hever Scrolls). Remains of Bar Kokhba warriors from the 2nd century C.E., found in one of the caves, were buried nearby.
Nahal Mishmar : Renowned for its landscape as much as for caves which housed remnants from Bar Kokhba period (2nd century C.E. revolt against Rome).
Nahal Tze-elim : Wide river bed bursts from steep, narrow canyon, opening into large drainage basin; springs and hollows surrounded by special fauna and flora are found upstream.
Masada : Central and most renowned historic site in the Dead Sea region. Masada was King Herod's fortress-palace before becoming the last refuge for Jewish zealots after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple (70 C.E.). After holding out for three years against the stubborn siege laid by twelve surrounding camps at the foot of the almost impenetrable mountain, some 960 men, women and children chose to take their own lives rather than surrender.
The exciting archaeological finds, skillfully reconstructed, reveal King Herod's luxurious winter palace and ingenious water supply
system, structures built and used by the zealots, storerooms, bathhouses and fortifications. Access: from west -- by road from Arad, then on foot along the Roman rampart; from east -- by the coastal road, then either on foot, up winding Snake Path, or by cable-car (Operates daily 8 00 -- 16.00; Fri. & eve of holidays 8.00 -- 14.00). Restaurant, cafeterias, souvenir shops and youth hostel at foot of Masada. Entrance fee.
Masada Sound & Light Show : At foot of Masada, on the western side.
EIN BOKEK REGION
Nahal Bokek : Canyon-like gorge with water springs and typical fauna and flora, near the tourist complex of Ein Bokek.
Metzad Bokek : Ruins of small Roman fortress, commanding the main road. Nearby remains of ancient, partly reconstructed, perfume and medicine factory.
Hamme Zohar (Zohar Hot Springs) Tourist Complex : About 3 km south of Ein Bokek; health spas and two hotels. Zohar hot springs, rich in sulphur, are particularly beneficial in the treatment of muscular ailments, diseases of the joints and allergies. They feed four adjacent therapeutic centres: the modern Raddison Moriah and Nirvana hotel Spas, which include indoor air-conditioned sea-water pools; Hamme Zohar baths - on the seashore and on the hill. At all four facilities a variety of therapeutic services are offered: sulphur pools and baths, therapeutic mud, physiotherapy, and more. Beaches and parking lots nearby.
Zohar : Regional centre and local residential quarter. Also store
and cafeteria, police station, first-aid clinic and offices of the
Tamar Regional Council and Arad & Dead Sea Region Development Co. Ltd.
Beit HaYotzer Museum : At Neve Zohar, a museum devoted to the Dead Sea research and history, showing the extraction of its natural resources; a model of the dams and dykes system.(Visits by pre arrangement only!).
Nahal Zohar and Metzad Zohar : Canyon landscape with ruins of two ancient strongholds, dating from Israelite and Roman eras west of Neve Zohar. Accessible by car or viewed from observation point on Arad road.
Sodom Mountain and Caves : An 11km by 3km mountain range composed almost entirely (98%) of salt, running parallel to the coastline. Caves of unique beauty were formed by water dissolving the salt inside (entrance to these caves are forbidden at present due to danger of avalanches). East of Mt. Sodom is the old workers' camp, which formerly housed employees of the Dead Sea Works, founded in 1934. Nearby is an interesting salt rock formation, reminiscent of the biblical lady whose name was adopted to identify this wind and water sculpture - "Lot's Wife".
Dead Sea Works : Large industrial complex at southern tip of the Dead Sea; its intricate system of dykes and evaporation pans exploits the enormous mineral wealth of the water for the production of raw chemical materials, essential for industry, agriculture and medicine. The plant is one of Israel’s most important exporters of fertilizers and chemicals such as Bromide, Potash, Chlorine, Common Salt, and most recently - Magnesium.
Nahal Pratzim & Flour Cave : Canyon carved In soft limestone, displaying varied and fantastic shapes sculptured by water currents. The "Flour Cave", so called because of the powdery chalk substance (marl) which lines it,lies upstream.
Kikkar Sodom (Sodom Plain) : Salty marshes in wilderness of typical vegetation: fresh water springs attract many animals, including hyenas and various carnivores. Agricultural cultivation is carried out by the settlements Ne'ot HaKikkar and Ein Tamar, at the south-eastern edges of the salt marshes.
Ein Tamar : New Moshav, founded 1982: cultivates winter crops and tropical fruit and date plantations. Its name derives from nearby spring.
Ne'ot HaKikkar : Moshav, founded in early sixties as agricultural farm. Located near Nahal Arava river delta, at Sodom Plain. Cultivates winter crops, tropical fruit and date plantations, and fish farming.
Cfar Hanokdim Bedouin Village : Bedouin Hospitality Tent and Camel Tour centre.
NORTH ARAVA REGION
Nahal Ha'Arava : River gorge draining the plain from Paran northwards about 100km north of Eilat; also serves as international boundary between Israel and Jordan.
Nahal Zin : Canyon draining wide area of northeastern Negev mountains, passing through crater landscapes of extraordinary beauty; flows into Sodom Plain south of Dead Sea Works.
Hazeva : Ancient Nabatean caravanserai and guard-post close to water source west of Arava road; starting point of tortuous "Ma'ale Akrabbim" (Scorpion Ascent). Local tree is considered among the oldest of its kind in the world.
lr Ovot is a new settlement in this area.
Ein Hazeva : Agricultural farm and moshav; cultivates winter crops and offers road services, gas station and restaurant.
HaMakhtesh HaKatan (The Small Crater) : Formed by water erosion in lime and sandstone rocks, it is an unusually beautiful natural site. Exposure of different geological strata created an impressive interplay of colour and rock formations.
Metzad Tamar : Ancient stronghold, once part of the Roman Limes system (network of military roads and watchtowers); excavated almost in its entirety by a Tel Aviv University archaeological expedition.
Mamshit (Kurnub) : Nabatean trade town dating from 3rd century B.C., 6km south-east of Dimona. Reconstructed by National Parks Authority. Open daily. Nabatean Restaurant; Entrance fee.
Camel Farm of Mamshit : Bedouin hospitality tent and Camel Tours centre.
Mishor Rotem (Rotem Plain) : Area rich in phosphates; industrial chemical plants which combine exploitation of phosphates with the processing of mineral solutions from the Dead Sea.
Rosh Zohar : Site of ancient settlement on road ascending from the Dead Sea to Arad; fine panoramic views, particularly in the afternoon.