16/12/2005

Dead sea bathing

 

Now, this will be something to tell folks at home! Painless floating on the buoyant salty water .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead sea

The Dead Sea, 417 m below sea level, is the lowest point on the surface of the earth. It is at the terminus of the Jordan River, has no outlet and is very rich in minerals. The dissolved material includes high concentrations of potassium, bromine and magnesium salts, which are commercially exploited. It has a salinity of 3,000 mg/l, and is the world's saltiest large water body. Almost nothing can survive in this water except highly specialized green algae and red archaeobacteria which are of great scientific interest. It has a surface area currently of 810 square kilometers, 1/3 smaller than its natural size. It has a depth of 330 meters.


Floaters

 

The girl to the left is actually floating in the Dead Sea. "But, hey, I thought you said the Dead Sea was DEADLY!" Not to us. Humans are remarkably adaptable. We can swim in the Dead Sea, just like we can swim in the ocean. Well, people don't really "swim" in the Dead Sea - they just "hang out". That's what's so cool about the Dead Sea. Because of the extremely high concentration of dissolved mineral salts in the water its density is way more than that of plain old fresh water. What this means is our bodies are more buoyant in the Dead Sea - so you bob like a cork. In fact, people are so buoyant in this water, it makes it kinda tough to actually swim. Most people like to just kick back in the water and read. It almost looks as though this lass is sitting on an air mattress that has sunk below the surface, but she's not. She's really just floating, without having to hold her feet in that position! If you think this is easy, try floating like this in a freshwater swimming pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead sea salt concentration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is it called the Dead Sea? Sounds kinda creepy, doesn't it? It's called the Dead Sea because nothing lives in it. It is some of the saltiest water anywhere in the world, almost six times as salty as the ocean! The Dead Sea is completely landlocked and it gets saltier with increasing depth. The surface, fed by the River Jordan, is the least saline. Down to about 40 meters, the seawater comprises about 300 grams of salt per kilogram of seawater. That's about ten times the salinity of the oceans. Below 90 meters, though, the sea has 332 grams of salt per kilogram of seawater and is saturated. Salt precipitates out and piles up on the bottom of the sea. There's no seaweed or plants of any kind in or around the water. There are no fish or any kind of swimming, squirming creatures living in or near the water. As a matter of fact, what you'll see on the shores of the Sea is white, crystals of salt covering EVERYTHING. And this is no ordinary table salt, either. The salts found in the Dead Sea are mineral salts, just like you find in the oceans of the world, only in extreme concentrations. The water in the Dead Sea is deadly to living things. Fish accidentally swimming into the waters from one of the several freshwater streams that feed the Sea are killed instantly, their bodies quickly coated with a preserving layer of salt crystals and then tossed onto shore by the wind and waves. Brutal!

 

 

 

 

15/12/2005

Dead Sea therapeutic value

 

Visitors can float effortlessly on the waters of the Dead Sea due to its concentration of minerals, which is the highest in the world. The air is extremely dry, and temperatures are high throughout the year (max. 86° during winter, and 104° during summer). Floating is a novelty that makes visiting the Dead Sea a kick, but most visitors come for the therapeutic value of the mud and salt water. People with skin disorders such as psoriasis and ailments such as arthritis have found relief from treatments using the Sea's natural resources. Oh, and if you have an open cut or sore, be forewarned, the salt water stings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solomon & Ein Gedi

Around 1000 B.C., En Gedi served as one of the main places of refuge for David as he fled from Saul. David "dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi" (1 Sam. 23:29). En Gedi means literally "the spring of the kid (goat)." Evidence exists that young ibex have always lived near the springs of En Gedi. One time when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers searched the "Crags of the Ibex" in the vicinity of En Gedi. In a cave near here, David cut off the corner of Saul's robe (1 Sam 24).The abundant springs and year-round temperate climate provided the perfect conditions for agriculture in ancient times. Solomon compared his lover to "a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi," an indication of the beauty and fertility of the site (Song 1:14). Evidence has been of workshops used in the perfume industry to distill products made from balsam. It has even been suggested that the perfume production at En Gedi was part of a royal estate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Ibex butting heads

Ein Gedi cascade

 

The supply of water from the springs is quite steady, with only slight seasonal variations. It is not direct affected by the amount of rainfall in a particular year, even though the springs get their water from the rainfall that flows eastward from the Hebron Hills watershed, in the direction of the Dead Sea.

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ein Gedi Caves

Ein-Gedi is an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea and one of the most important archaeological sites in the Judean Desert. En-Gedi is actually the name of a spring which flows from a height of 656 feet above the Dead Sea. In the Bible, the wasteland near the spring where David sought refuge from Saul is called "the wilderness of En-Gedi" and the enclosed camps at the top of the mountains, the "strongholds of En-Gedi."

 

 

Ein Gedi Palm grove

 

Lush date palm grove at Ein Gedi oasis

 

Qumran group photos

The Qumran site near the Dead Sea was discovered in 1946 by a Bedouin boy trying to find a lost goat, but instead he found a cave in which clay pots were hidden. In these pots, a treasure of manuscripts was discovered. This find led to the discovery of over 700 additional manuscripts in this area. The pilgrimage group tour of November 1986 included a visit to the prestigious site. The group photo was to be a souvenir of this important stop under the well-documented guidance of Gila Toledano (Fr John De Ridder standing on the right in the back row).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qumran cliff

 

Although it has been largely conceded that the Scrolls in the 11 caves are related to the site at Qumran, and are therefore the contents of a sectarian library, there are those who believe this conclusion is unwarranted. No Scrolls were found at the building site of Qumran itself. Two or possibly three inkwells were recovered from there, and this does not seem sufficient evidence to conclude Qumran functioned as a Scriptorium, where texts were copied or composed. Other archeological remains, such as a large pile of clay dishes, suggest a refectory. Some scholars have questioned whether Qumran actually is the place referred to by Pliny the Elder when he said that the group lived "below Ein Gedi," the oasis known for its date palms. There is also the question of the library's contents: its size and variety point to a major library, such as that belonging to the Temple in Jerusalem. On the other hand, perhaps the Scrolls came from all over Judea in a desperate effort to protect the holy writ from desecration by the invading Romans.

 

Qumran Essenes' site

 

 

The site near the 'Dead Sea Scrolls Cave', called 'Hirbat Qumran', was excavated during the years 1952-1956. In these excavations, remains of an ancient settlement were found, where a mysterious sect used to live, starting from the 2nd century BC, and until the year of 68 AD, when the place was taken by the Romans, and destroyed.

The people of this sect lived a communal life. The sect was an extreme section of the Isiim sect. The leaders of this settlement were Priests from the family of the Zadokites, descendants of the high priest Zadok, who served during the days of King David and King Solomon.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 
TS page 51, Qumran 2  ruins
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

TS page 51, Qumran 1 shop
 

Qumran library

 

Although it has been largely conceded that the Scrolls in the 11 caves are related to the site at Qumran, and are therefore the contents of a sectarian library, there are those who believe this conclusion is unwarranted. No Scrolls were found at the building site of Qumran itself. Two or possibly three inkwells were recovered from there, and this does not seem sufficient evidence to conclude Qumran functioned as a Scriptorium, where texts were copied or composed. Other archeological remains, such as a large pile of clay dishes, suggest a refectory. Some scholars have questioned whether Qumran actually is the place referred to by Pliny the Elder when he said that the group lived "below Ein Gedi," the oasis known for its date palms. There is also the question of the library's contents: its size and variety point to a major library, such as that belonging to the Temple in Jerusalem. On the other hand, perhaps the Scrolls came from all over Judea in a desperate effort to protect the holy writ from desecration by the invading Romans.

 

 

Qumran caves

 

The Qumran area contains remains from various periods, but the most important are findings from the end of the second temple period, and from the Bar-Kachva rebellion era. It is possible to see the cave in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and other structures that were excavated in the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Qumran, hidden treasure in clay pots

 

The Qumran site was discovered in 1946 by a bedouin boy, who went to find a lost goat, but instead found a cave in which clay pots were hidden. In these pots, a treasure of manuscripts was discovered. This discovery led to the discovery of over 700 additional manuscripts in this area.

 

 

 

Splendid bougainvilleas in Jericho

 

In Jericho on the way to Qumran, the car stopped to allow for a pause in the shade of multicolored bougainvilleas. The drink appreciated by all was a black turkish coffee ...

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

A sycamore tree in Jericho
 
 

 

 

"Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through. There was a chief tax collector there, named Zachaeus, who was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus... (Lk 19, 1-4) ".

 

 

TS page 52, Jerico 2 

 

 

TS page 52, Jerico 1 Hishams pal
 
 

Jericho - The Tell

 

After Jerusalem, Jericho is the most excavated site in Israel.  Charles Warren in 1868 sank several shafts but concluded that nothing was to be found (he missed the Neolithic tower by a foot!).  Germans Sellin and Watzinger excavated 1907-13, Garstang 1930-36 and Kenyon 1952-58.  Since 1997 an Italian-Palestinian team has been digging.

 

 

 

 

 

Jericho, key to the Jordan Valley

 

Jericho, the "City of Palms" spreads out on the west side of the Jordan River at 825 feet below sea level. The Old Testament site of Tell es-Sultan is in the distance and is the city Joshua destroyed.  In Jesus' day a new center had been constructed on the wadi banks in the foreground, by the Hasmonean rulers and Herod the Great.

 

 

 

 

17/11/2005

Masada: the Roman camps

 

A solid wall was built surrounding Masada and connected the 8 Roman camps.  It was 6 feet thick and 7 miles long and built to prevent escaping. An estimated 9000 soldiers plus support personnel and slaves conducted the siege. Szoltan discovered the first Roman siege camps in 1932.

 

 

 

 

Herod's bathhouse reconstruction

 
TS page 53, Masada 1 Herods pal
 
 

Herod had several private bathhouses built at Masada.  The caldarium depicted here had a heavy floor suspended on 200 pillars. Outside the room a furnace would sent hot air under the floor.  When water was placed on the floor, steam was created.  Pipes were built into the walls to help heat the room.

 

 

 
 
 
 

Masada siege ramp

 
 
The summit of Masada sits 59 m above sea level and about 470 m above the level of the Dead Sea.  The mountain itself is 610 m long, 200 m wide, 1330 m in circumference, and encompasses 23 acres.  The "Snake Path" climbs 280 m in elevation.  From the west, the difference in height is 70 m.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investigation of tamarisk branches in the Roman siege ramp result in the conclusion that fifty percent more rain flowed through the wadis into the Dead Sea when Flavius Silva built the siege ramp.  

A recent article suggests that this ramp was mostly natural and only the top 26 feet was added by the Romans. Today a rope-way takes you to the top in a cosy airborne cabin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TS page 51, Qumran 3 romans
 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TS page 53, Masada 3
 
TS page 53, Masada 2
 

Massada, tourists'attraction

 

                                    

 

 Visitors flock to this massive rocky outcrop which was an ideal site for the Jewish rulers to build a fortress. Yet Massada was a place of historical importance for a mere 100 years: as an impregnable refuge for King Herod the Great and as the place where the Zealots managed to hold out against the Romans for three years after the fall of Jerusalem. i.e. until A.D. 73.

 

 

 

On the road from Jerusalem to Jéricho... - Pâques 1985

 

 

The ruins of an old inn can still be seen on the roadside. A camel is regularly in attendance for tourists to take a ride and they seldom fail to avail themselves of this pleasant treat. Seen here John De Ridder on camelback...

 

 

 
 

The Wadi Qilt leads through the hills of Judea down into the plain of Jericho. Its aqueduc which was built by Herod the Great and restored by the British during their Mandate, supplies water all the year round. The Greek Orthodox Monastery of St George clings to the hill side. The water of a rivulet flowing down the slope of the hill from a spring, is channelled to the monastery.

 

 

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