The name Ein Gedi is composed of two Hebrew words: ein means spring and gdi means goat-kid. En Gedi thus means "Kid spring."
In the 2 Chronicles 20:2 it is identified with Hazazon-tamar, where the Moabites and Ammonites gathered in order to fight Josaphat. In Genesis 14:7 Hazazon-tamar is mentioned as being an Amorite city, smitten by Chedorlaomer in his war against the cities of the plain.
In Joshua 15:62, Ein Gedi is enumerated among the cities of the Tribe of Judah in the desert Betharaba, but Ezekiel 47:10 shows that it was also a fisherman's town. Later, King David hides in the desert of Ein Gedi (1 Samuel 24:1-2) and King Saul seeks him "even upon the most craggy rocks, which are accessible only to wild goats" (1 Samuel 24:3).
The Song of Songs (Songs 1:14) speaks of the "vineyards of En Gedi." The words of Ecclesiasticus 24:18, "I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades" (’en aígialoîs), may perhaps be understood of the palm trees of Ein Gedi.
The indigenous Jewish town of Ein Gedi was an important source of balsam for the Greco-Roman world until its destruction by Byzantine emperor Justinian as part of his persecution of the Jews in his realm. A synagogue mosaic remains from Ein Gedi's heyday, including a Judeo-Aramaic inscription warning inhabitants against "revealing the town's secret" – possibly the methods for extraction and preparation of the much-prized balsam resin, though not stated outright in the inscription – to the outside world. According to the Miholjanec legend, Stephen V of Hungary had in front of his tent a golden plate with the inscription: "Attila, the son of Bendeuci, grandson of the great Nimrod, born at Ein Gedi: By the Grace of God King of the Huns, Medes, Goths, Dacians, the horrors of the world and the scourge of God."
Ein Gedi nature reserve and national park
Ein Gedi nature reserve was declared in 1971 and is one of the most important reserves in Israel. The park is situated on the eastern border of the Judean Desert, on the Dead Sea coast, and covers an area of 14000 dunams (one modern dunam equals the area of one decare).
The elevation of the land ranges from the level of the Dead Sea at 423 meters (1,388 ft) below sea level to the plateau of the Judean Desert at 200 meters above sea level. Ein Gedi nature reserve includes two spring-fed streams with flowing water year-round: Nahal David and Nahal Arugot. Two other springs, the Shulamit and Ein Gedi springs, also flow in the reserve. Together, the springs generate approximately three million cubic meters of water per year. Much of the water is used for agriculture or is bottled for consumption.
The reserve is a sanctuary for many types of plant, bird and animal species. The vegetation includes plants and trees from the tropical, desert, Mediterranean, and steppian regions, such as Sodom apple, acacia, jujube, and poplar. The many species of resident birds are supplemented by over 200 additional species during the migration periods in the spring and fall. Mammal species include the Nubian ibex and the rock hyrax.
The Ein Gedi national park features several archaeological sites including the Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi and a first century CE village. The park was declared in 2002 and covers an area of 8 dunams.
Kibbutz Ein Gedi
Kibbutz Ein Gedi, founded in 1956, is located about a kilometer from the oasis. It offers various tourist attractions and takes advantage of the local weather patterns and the abundance of natural water to cultivate out-of-season produce. The kibbutz area contains an internationally acclaimed botanical garden covering an area of 100 dunams (10 ha, 24.7 acres). There one can find more than 900 species of plants from all over the world.
Shalom Marathon – Dead Sea Half Marathon
The Ein Gedi race, also known as the Shalom Marathon – Dead Sea Half Marathon is a popular road running event over several distances that has been held by the Tamar Regional Council since 1983. The starting point for all races is the Ein Gedi Spa, 80 kilometers (50 mi) southeast of Jerusalem and 4 kilometers south of Kibbutz Ein Gedi.
- Bar, Aviva (2010-01-26). "Ein Gedi, A Streamlined approach". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- William Francis Lynch (1852). Narrative of the United States' expedition to the river Jordan and the Dead sea. Blanchard and Lea. pp. 282–296. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- Jesus and Archaeology, page 389, James H. Charlesworth, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2006. ISBN 9780802848802
- "List of National Parks and Nature Reserves" (in Hebrew). Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Ein-Gedi Race"[dead link]
- Yagna, Yanir (2008-04-02). "Runners collapse near Dead Sea as temperatures hit seasonal highs". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Hirschfeld, Y. (ed.), Ein Gedi. ‘A Very Large Village of Jews’ (Hecht Museum, University of Haifa, 2006).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ein Gedi|
- Virtual Tour of Ein Gedi - View from the Ein Gedi Promenade
- Ein Gedi in the Dead Sea Map - Bird's-eye view in Flash
- The Israel Nature and Parks Authority - Site page
- Ein Gedi Travel Guide
- Pictures of Ein Gedi synagogue
- Ein Gedi mill, 1893