Qumran and Dead Sea
Dead Sea Travel Blog› entry 14 of 16 › view all entries
After 2 days Jerusalem we took trips from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. First we visited Qumran. Qumran is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank. The settlement was constructed during the reign of John Hyrcanus, 134-104 BCE or somewhat later, and was occupied most of the time until it was destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE or shortly after. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the hiding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves of the sheer desert cliffs and beneath. Since the discovery in 1947 nearly 900 scrolls in various conditions extensive excavations of the settlement have been undertaken. Cisterns, Jewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining room as well as pottery. The Qumran caves are clearly visable from the plateau.
After Qumran is was time to visit the Dead Sea. I visited it earlier in Jordan in 2007, so it was nice to swim from the Israeli site this time. It is always special to be at the lowest point on earth 422 metres onder sea level. The water is so salt that fish cannot live in the Dead Sea. In recent decades, the Dead Sea has been rapidly shrinking because of diversion of incoming water from the Jordan River to the north.