Ermak Travel Guide

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Judaean Desert

 Judaean Desert

Judaean Desert is one of the most mysterious and picturesque deserts in Israel. It stretches from Jerusalem to Jericho and the Dead Sea. Despite its barren appearance Judaean Desert has one of the most historic buildings it the Holy Land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description of Judaean Desert

Judaean Desert is a stretch of largely barren hills and beautiful canyons. Several springs that are dispersed across its area create small oasis' with unique biospheres and historic buildings. During wet season in late winter and early spring the whole Judaean Desert blooms as a carpet of flowers and grasses.

 

 

Judaean Desert played an important role in history of Christianity. Saint John the Baptist used to live on the banks of the Jordan River that flows here. He preached to ancient people and baptized his cousin Jesus Christ. Jesus himself wandered through the Judaean Desert for 40 days and 40 nights praying to God and overcoming temptations of Devil. In fact Mountain of Temptation is still a site of an ancient monastery that is perched on its sides. Few pilgrims make it here due to difficulty of the terrain so it remains largely unknown to the public.

 

It is no surprise that with the growth of Christian monastic tradition many people flocked to these lands to build numerous sights of their presence. Some canyons have few cells of hermit monks, while other grew into large monasteries that included Ein Fara Monastery, Mara Saba Monastery and many others. Even by modest calculations historians believe that over 4000 monks and nuns lived here during heyday. Unfortunately many monasteries and residents were killed during Persian invasion in the 8th century AD.

 

Christian monks are not the first communities that settled here. Small Jewish sect of Essenes settled in the Judaean Desert, Qumran caves and shores of the Dead Sea. They denounced religious and political officials in Jerusalem and left civilized Roman World. Their traditions and practices later influenced Christian monastic traditions.

 

Today Judaean Desert is dotted by several settlements of Jewish settlements and nomadic Bedouins. Additionally some canyons of the Judaean Desert became home to radical Muslim organizations. Numerous caves that were made by Christian monks in the ancient times, today serve as storage for weapons and explosives Unless you know where you want to go don't wonder around by yourself. Judaean Desert is large. No one will find your body.

 

 

 

 

 

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