Abraham Path

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The Abraham Path or Abraham's Path is a long-distance walking trail across the Middle East which connects the sites visited by the patriarch Abraham as recorded in ancient religious texts and traditions.[1] The path begins in the north in Yuvacalı, Turkey,[2] which is a village located north of the city of Urfa (natively: Şanlıurfa), and goes as far south as Beersheba in the Negev desert of Israel. Local partnership organizations[3] and tour operators in the Middle East facilitate the travel of walkers on the path and there is now information available for the independent traveler, including maps, GPS tracks, and site descriptions.[4] The Abraham Path currently extends across 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) through four countries and the eventual path will traverse 5,000 kilometers (about 3,000 miles) through ten countries. People walk the trail, staying in homestays and sharing meals with local families in villages along the way. The trail passes through sites of Abrahamic history, varied landscapes, and a myriad of communities of different faiths and cultures, which reflect the rich diversity of the Middle East: from Kurdish, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Alevi, Bedouin, Fellahin, Samaritan, etc. The story of Abraham is about a man from the Bronze Age who travels throughout the Fertile Crescent and into the desert of the Arabian peninsula.[5]

History[edit]

The path was started in the first decade of the 21st century by the Abraham Path Initiative, a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, with a global network of partners. William Ury, negotiator and author of Getting to YES helped found the project at Harvard University's Program on Negotiation. Ury's TED Talk speaks about the beginnings of the path and the vision behind the Initiative. Ury says that every culture has an origin-story, and that the origin-story of the Middle East is about how a man and his family walked the Middle East about four thousand years ago.[6] The Abraham Path Initiative is endorsed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations [7] and other international partners [1]. The initiative is a non-profit, non-religious and non-political organization, whose mission is to support local partners in developing the Abraham Path as:

  • a catalyst for socioeconomic development and sustainable tourism.
  • a place of meeting and connection between people from the Middle East and people around the world.
  • a creative space for stories that highlight the unique culture, heritage and hospitality of the region.[8]

Overview of the current path[edit]

The main historical Abrahamic sites on the current Path are Urfa (the birthplace of Abraham according to Muslim tradition), Harran (according to the Hebrew Bible, this is a town Abraham lived in, and from which he received the call to start the main part of his journey), Jerusalem (the scene for the binding of Isaac according to the Hebrew Bible), and Hebron (the location of the tomb of Abraham and his wife Sarah, according to Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions).

Regions of the current path:[9]

  • Urfa
  • Harran
  • Ajloun
  • Nablus
  • Jericho
  • Jerusalem
  • Bethlehem
  • Hebron
  • Negev

Details of the regions of the current path[edit]

  • Urfa--- Day 1 of walking: Yuvacalı to Golli; Day 2: Golli to Beyazit; Day 3: Beyazit to Göbekli Tepe; Day 4: Göbekli Tepe to Kisas; Day 5: Kisas to Urfa City.
  • Harran--- tentative path: Day 1 of walking: Kisas to Mamuca; Day 2: Mamuca to Karaali Thermal Resort; Day 3: Karaali to Sogmatar; Day 4: Sogmatar to Suayib; Day 5: Suayib to Bazda Caves; Day 6: Bazda Caves to Harran.
  • Ajloun--- Day 1 of walking: Ajloun Castle to Orjan; Day 2: Orjan to Rasoun; Day 3: Rasoun to Beit Idis; Day 4: Beit Idis to Pella; Day 5: Pella to Wadi Ziqlab.
  • Nablus--- Day 1 of walking: Nablus City to Awarta; Day 2: Awarta to Duma; Day 3: Duma to Kafr Malik; Day 4: Kafr Malik to Auja.
  • Jericho--- Day 1 of walking: Auja to Jericho; Day 2: Jericho to Nabi Musa; Day 3: Nabi Musa to Mar Saba.
  • Jerusalem--- accessed via Jericho or Bethlehem
  • Bethlehem--- Day 1 of walking: Mar Saba to Bethlehem; Day 2: Bethlehem to Tuqu' (Tequa).
  • Hebron--- Day 1 of walking: Tuqu' (Tequa) to Reshayda; Day 2: Reshayda to Bani Na'im; Day 3: Bani Na'im to Hebron City.
  • Negev--- Day 1 of walking: Beersheba City to Lakiya; Day 2: Lakiya to Meitar; Day 3: Meitar to Har Amasa; Day 4: Har Amasa to Tel Arad National Park; Day 5: Tel Arad National Park to Arad; Day 6: Arad to Kfar haNokdim; Day 7: Kfar haNokdim to Masada.

See also[edit]

List of long-distance footpaths

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Feiler, Bruce. (2005). Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, William Morrow Paperbacks.
  • Bonder, Nilton. (2010). Taking Off Your Shoes: The Abraham Path, A Path to the Other, Trafford Publishing.

External links[edit]