Tag Archives: Negev

Photo of the Week – Nitzana

Nitzana is an ancient Nabataean city in the southwest Negev desert in Israel close to the Egyptian border. It may have been a camel caravansary on the eastern branch of the ancient Spice Route, serving pilgrims and merchants travelling to Sinai. This week’s photo shows the remains of the German-Turkish hospital (1906-1917) built on ruins of a Byzantine fort at Nitzana.

NitzanaThe technical details – the photo was taken in December 8 years ago with a Nikon point and shoot camera (ISO 100, 8mm, F7.6 at 1/263 sec).

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Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

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Expert Travel Recommendations Israel

I was contacted for an article in a UK magazine on travel to Israel. This is what they say about Israel:

Get the insiders’ guide to Israel from those who know it best. There’s nothing like first-hand experience. But if you can’t get it, then the second best thing is to borrow someone else’s. And when it comes to knowing Israel, you won’t find experts with more expertise than ours – take a look at why they love Israel. With its long history, melting pot of cultures, religious heritage and cosmopolitan cities, Israel is an unforgettable destination.

They asked a series of questions and wanted my recommendations.

Favorite place to stay, a city/rural town or village rather than a specific hotel?
The two favourite places to stay while in Israel are Tel Aviv and Jerusalem but I would suggest something different. Since the Negev desert in the south makes up 60% of Israel’s land area, I think you should stay a few nights there and what could be more appropriate than the new hotel in Mitzpe Ramon on the edge of the large Ramon crater, a geological formation unique to this area. To explore, take a jeep tour into the crater and at night, away from the lights of the big cities, gaze  up at the stars and learn to identify the constellations with a guide.

Favorite place to eat, a restaurant and what you would recommend from the menu?
For a special experience I would recommend Uri Buri, a homey seafood restaurant in Acre, near the lighthouse, facing the Mediterranean Sea. What makes Uri Buri stand out are his unique dishes, based on interesting combinations of ingredients, for example, sashimi with carmelized beets and wasabi sorbet. The best way to go is to make a reservation, invite some friends and share the tasting menu (ask the waiter/waitress for local Israeli wine recommendations).

Best view?
To get an overview of the Old City of Jerusalem, within the 16th century Ottoman Turkish walls, you need to get high and the best view is by climbing 177 steps to the top of the bell tower (height about 40 meters) on the Church of the Redeemer with its 360 degree view of the city. While you’re there visit to the excavations under the church and the small museum.
Recommended excursion for visitors to Israel?
A day trip to the Dead Sea and Judean desert where you can combine history and nature. Visit Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered or Masada, KIng Herod’s fortified palaces on the top of a mountain. Take a hike in the Ein Gedi nature reserve, one of two natural springs in the Judean desert and enjoy a dip in freshwater pools under the cascade of a waterfall. Hopefully you will see ibex, a kind of mountain goat, native to the area. End the day at one of the spa/beaches for a float in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth.

Hidden gem?
Not far from Eilat is the Red Canyon, a colorful gem of a hike for the whole family where you slide down chutes and climb down ladders of a narrow canyon with purple, orange and pink sandstone sculpted walls.

Best way to spend a day in Israel?
Drive the Jordan valley, part of the Great African Rift, visit the archaeological site at Bet Shean, have lunch of St Peter’s fish overlooking the Sea of Galillee, visit Capernaum, with a 4th century synagogue and the house where Peter lived and Jesus preached, later a church. From there drive to the Mediterranean coastal town of Jaffa. At dinner time choose a restaurant on the boardwalk overlooking the sea and watch the sunset.

To see all this and more it’s worth using an expert guide, you’ll enjoy yourself more.

Photo of the Week – Negev Brigade Monument

On a hill to the east of the city of Beersheba in the Negev desert is a monument in concrete by Israeli sculptor, Dani Karavan. The memorial is to the soldiers of the Palmach’s Negev Brigade who died in the 1948 Arab Israeli war. This photo is a closeup of one of the 18 sculptural parts that make up the monument, a tunnel that appears as a spiral of rectangles – someone had left an Israeli flag on the floor.

Negev Brigade monument, by Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan

The technical details – the photo was taken with a Nikon E4300, a digital point and shoot camera in March (ISO 100, 8mm, F2.8 at 1/37 sec).

Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Photo of the Week – Tumulus in Negev

In a hike in the Negev, in the area of Mount Arkov (across the road from Avdat) to see the rock drawings and tulips in bloom, I took this photo of a tumulus, a mound of stones raised over a grave. The tumulus and rock drawings or petroglyphs may be from early hunter-gatherers, dated to the fourth millennium BCE.

Tumulus NegevYou can click on the image for a larger view (which may take some time to load depending on your Internet connection). Please share this post with your friends by clicking on the icons at the end of this message.

The technical details – the photo was taken with a Nikon D90 DSLR and 18-200mm lens in November (ISO 200, 36mm, F11 at 1/500 sec).

Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Photo of the Week near Avdat

Route <40> connects the city of Beersheva in the middle of the Negev to the makhtesh, a unique geological formation at Mitzpe Ramon. Avdat, founded by the Nabateans in the 3rd century BCE, was the most important city on the Incense Route after Petra, “the rose-red city half as old as time” for some eight centuries until its destruction by earthquake in the early 7th century CE. This photo was taken across from Avdat in the area of Ramilye cisterns.

near AvdatYou can click on the image for a larger view (which may take some time to load depending on your Internet connection). Please share this post with your friends by clicking on the icons at the end of this message.

The technical details – the photo was taken with a Nikon D90 DSLR and 18-70mm lens in November (ISO 200, 18mm, F10 at 1/320 sec).

For more information about the Negev see my post at https://israeltours.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/negev-desert/

Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Probably very few people have visited this site although it is in the middle of the country, on the edge of the Yatir Forest in the northern Negev, the largest planted forest in Israel. You can click on the image for a larger view (which may take some time to load depending on your Internet connection). Please share this post with your friends by clicking on the icons at the end of this message.

The photo was taken at Khirbet Anim – olive trees with the ruins of a 4thC synagogue in the background. The technical details – the photo was taken with a Nikon D90 DSLR camera on January 7 (ISO 200, 18mm, F10 at 1/400 sec).

For a closer view of the ruins of the synagogue see my post at https://israeltours.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/yatir-forest/

Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Desert Wildflowers

If you are going to be in the south of Israel, there is a nice hike from the Timna valley through Nahal Mangan climbing onto the Milhan ridge; from there you can descend and camp at the Milhan well. This area gets less than 100mm of rain per year but in March, we saw a lot of plants in bloom for a desert.

The Silon Kotzani (Zilla spinosa) is a perennial but only lives a couple of years dying from drought or flash floods. The plant grows into a sphere of stems and thorns that is typical of thorny plants in the desert. The peak of its flowering is March, afterwards it dries up. The small purple flowers are edible and have a mild cabbage taste. When dry the stems of the bush can be used as kindling to start your campfire.

The White Broom, Rotem HaMidbar (Retama raetam) was blossoming, bunches of small, delicate white flowers. This is the bush under which the prophet Elijah sat.

But he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom-bush. Kings I 19, 4

The Broomrape, Yahnuk HaMidbar (Cistanche tubulosa) is a parasite that grows on and gets its nourishment from the roots of other plants. There are no leaves, just a spike of yellow flowers.

Parosheet Galonit (Pulicaria desertorum) is a low-lying plant with yellow flowers that grows in desert areas. The leaves and flowers can be used to make tea, the plant has a pleasant scent.

Lotus HaMidbar, Desert Lotus (Lotus lanuginosus) is a low-lying perennial with small red flowers that grows in desert areas.

Fagonia Rakah (Fagonia mollis) is one of the typical and most widespread plants that grows in the desert.

For other posts about wildflowers click on “Wildflowers”  under Categories in the right hand column or https://israeltours.wordpress.com/category/wildflowers/