In 1948 a Bedouin shepherd-boy went looking for a stray goat and stumbled upon a cave. In the cave were hidden clay pots that turned out to contain treasured manuscripts that provided an insight into the lives of a mysterious sect that lived in the region from the second century BC until the year 68 AD. The site near these caves is called Qumran and was excavated between the years of 1952 and 1956.
The "Dead Sea Scrolls" was the name given to the scrolls that were found due to them being found in the Dead Sea region. The details of the sect that are revealed through the scrolls are fascinating; the sect lived a communal life and was an extreme section of the Isiim sect.
The Qumran area contains remains from various periods, most importantly those from the Second Temple period and from the Bar Kochba rebellion. The cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found can be seen and an audio-visual presentation tells the story of the site as well as the story of the people who lived here.
How to get there: From Jerusalem, take the road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea until you reach the turn to route 90 towards Ein Gedi. Near to Kibbutz Kalia there is a sign pointing to the Qumran site.
Categories : Attractions
I just returned from a visit to Israel and Qumran was one of the many sites I enjoyed. If you have an interest in archeology, biblical history and the rugged outdoors Qumran is a trifecta stop for you. The museum is interesting and well done. The highlight for me however was the hike up to one of the mountain caves. The hike took us up above the cluster of caves around Cave #4 right by the museum. It took about forty-five minutes to climb up and a half hour to climb down (Which we had to do when hailed over a loud speaker from the visiter center, about a half mile away, announcing that "The visitors on the mountain must return as the visitor's center will close in half an hour."). The trail has some narrow sections of loose rock on a steep slope that ends in a cliff. There is some danger and it is not for those afraid of heights. Most of the trail is a steep uphill walk with a few sections of more vertical climbing but nothing requiring technical knowledge or ability. The area is desert so expect high temperatures. Perhaps 1/2000 American visitors to Israel has ever set foot in a Qumran cave, so the climb earns some bragging rights. All in all very worth while stop for me.