Timna Park in Eilat: a desert tale
Eilat one of the most popular resort cities of Israel. Eilat is famous by it’s location on Red Sea. In addition to numerous water attractions there are a lot of Must Visit sights. One of them definitely is Timna Park. National Park Timna located just 25 km from the coast in Arava desert.
Where are King Solomon’s Mines?It is in Timna Park there are copper mines, called the “Mines of King Solomon”. All the other copper mines mentioned in the literature under this name, as it turned out, are fictional, and only the copper mines in the Timna Valley actually existed.
The Timna Valley in Israel is the “child” of the Syrian-African fault of the earth’s crust, which happened about 10 million years ago. The geological plate shifted like a slice of a puff cake, and opened up the “stuffing” – a lot of rocks, minerals, sand stones. The semicircular valley with an area of 60 km is like a dent in this diverse filling. it is surrounded by rocks of different shades of color. Once it covered the sea. But still its relief is changing under the influence of climatic conditions. It is even difficult to believe that local stone “sculptures” created not some very creative ancient personalities, but simple erosion of rocks!
Man in Timna Valley.
Numerous archaeological finds told what people needed in this desert area, the Timna Valley, and when it happened. Here they mined the first metal mastered by man for the manufacture of tools, household items and ornaments with copper. In Timna, the ancient Egyptians were actively engaged in mining of copper. and exactly did it in the 14th century BC, in the period of the New Kingdom. It was the brilliant reign of Pharaoh Seti I – a great warrior, builder, patron of arts and crafts. He knew how to use what nature gave people generously.
The people who came to replace the Egyptians from the kingdom of the Medes stayed here for a short time and hardly used the Egyptian copper mines.
Researcher Nelson Gluck in the 30s. last century, became interested in this amazing place. Nelson struck the scientific community with the theory that Timna’s copper mines were the workings of King Solomon’s times. And the name “Mine of Solomon” was firmly stuck to this place. Although half a century later it was proved that during the reign of Shlomo ben David, the mines were abandoned.
Timna Park and its attractions
All the wonders of the park can be divided into two groups.
- It was created over long centuries by nature itself, soil movement, water and wind.
- Man-made, too long ago a man appeared in the Timna Valley in Israel.
Solomon’s pillars are the pride of the Timna Valley. The pillars are huge and somehow very evenly set. At the beginning of the 20th century, scientists considered the Solomon pillars to be the work of some unknown ancient masters. However, in a later study it turned out that this is a creation of nature. Wind, erosion, time. The same origin and stone arches, also made by the builders, just a very long time.
Copper mines of ancient Egyptians have been preserved from the same times. In some of them, indicated by the guide, you can safely go down and feel like an ancient miner! Rock paintings in Timna also belong to the Egyptian period. In order to preserve them, specialists from the Israel Department of Antiquities and the Ben-Gurion University installed motion sensors on the ancient rock walls in order to detect in time whether this or that “picture” is preparing to crumble and disappear without a trace.
Lake Timna is also man-made! It was created specifically for the rest of tourists and filled with groundwater, pumped out of sandstone. Drinking water from it and swimming is not worth it, but on the banks you will find a range of family entertainment.
Children really like.
- Riding pedal boats on the lake.
- Solving cunning ciphers.
- Stamping of copper coins in the “ancient workshop”.
- Self-made making of a souvenir – bottles with layers of colored sand and self-molded clay cork.
- Demonstration of how copper is mined.
Not far from Lake Timna, you can see the mock-up of the marching Moses Tabernacle, which, at his behest, the Jews made while wandering through the desert. The tabernacle is life-size, with items of religious worship and even a copy of the Ark of the Covenant.
The “Time Mines” show is an interactive presentation in the multimedia room for those who are interested in the mythology and history of this place. Duration is 15-20 minutes.
Tourist routes in Timna Park.
If you have not ordered a ride on camels or jeeps, then all is not lost. There are short hiking and more challenging bike trails. Timna Park is literally lined with information signs for each route.
If you prefer walking by foot, you will like, to choose from:
- Easy routes “Big Arch” and “Paradise landscapes”. Duration is about an hour.
- Longer walks: “Horod Gorge” (about 3 hours, but the path is easy).
- For “professional walkers” – “Overview of the Arava” (1.5 hours, but with ascent into the mountains).
Cycling – for experienced cyclists, participation of small athletes is acceptable (from 8 years). Routes are offered:
- Family – 1 hour duration, medium difficulty level.
- Single – only for hardy and experienced riders! It will take 1.5 hours and you will drive completely independently, guided only by marking, 14 km 200 m with descents and ascents.
In August, in recent years, one-day festival “Starry Nights” is held in Timna Park – in 2016-19, it was held on August 12th. This is a nightly mass event. Music in the desert, illuminated Mines of Solomon, astronomical stories, watching the sky through a telescope. The presence of children is welcome – entertainment is organized for them.
What is next to the Timna Park
- On the way back to Eilat, you can visit the famous Kibbutz Yotvat, where you will find a roadside rest area with a restaurant (take-away food) and a shop with amazing products from the Yotvat dairy (children will be amazed by the ice cream). Children are usually in awe of the “cow kingdom”, throughout the territory there are many full-sized figures of cows.
- You can also take a car to join a tour of the reserve High Bar (tours depart every hour). You will be able to see the site of herbivores, the Predator Center and the Night Room, where you can observe the life of the night fauna of these places.
- If after the desert you want a refreshing communication with the sea – you will find an Underwater Observatory in Eilat, on the coast of the Red Sea. There you can familiarize yourself with the life of the beautiful coral reef and marine life, including very rare species. The Eilat Observatory is home to a very diverse marine “population”, from innocent luminous fish and funny sea turtles to huge sharks. From Timna Park, you can reach the underwater observatory along highway 90, which is slightly less than 44 km. The road will take 50 minutes..
How to get yourself.
There are several options to get Timna from Eilat by:
- Rented car.
You can only get to turn the highway number 90 on Timna. Buses № 390, 393, 394, 397, 444, 990, 991, 993 stop there. The ticket price is about 15 nis.
Departure time can be found either directly at the station or on the website of the Egged company. Ask the hotel staff or your guide to help you find out your departure time. Do not forget to specify the time of the return bus!
If you are afraid that there are not enough places on the bus for everyone, and you want to get to Eilat quickly and with the greatest comfort, you should take a taxi service. Offices of companies providing these services, you will find right in the airport building.
Taxis work on the counters, and the fare is calculated based on distance, time of day, number of passengers and amount of baggage.
The most common mobile application GetTaxi you will always be sure that you are taken to the place at the cost of the state list. Download the application in Google Play and the App Store.
Rent a car.
Through the online service on our website, it will be possible to rent a car for independent travel.
Car rental services are available in the arrival hall, vehicles are parked outside the terminal. To get a car for rent, you need to present a passport and driver’s license.
But keep in mind that the airport is not a car rental station. That is, to choose here a car of a certain brand and comfort is unlikely to succeed: you need to take what is in stock. If only four wheels that can drive are important to you, and the rest is of little concern – choose a car in the catalog.
What to take with you.
Before you go on an exciting excursion to the Timna Valley, prepare:
- Closed shoes with non-slip treads (better trekking boots).
- Water. For an adult, it is desirable to take a “one and a half”.
- Protective cream for exposed skin.
Please keep in mind that there will be no cellular connection in the canyon. If you are not sure of your well-being during the heat and as a result of physical exertion, stock up with necessary medications.
- Sunday-Thursday – from 8:00 to 20:30.
- Friday, Saturday, holidays – from 8:00 to 13:00.
- Monday-Thursday, weekends – from 8:00 to 16:00.
- Friday – from 8:00 to 15:00.
More information can be found on the official website.