Back to Israel and the Dead Sea
Well today (physically a couple of days ago as I catch up on the blog………….we are here in Jerusalem) we head back into Israel and cross the border at Aqaba on the Red Sea , about an hour and a half from Petra, and then head up towards the Dead Sea. Border crossing went a bit quicker this time around and we set off in good time.
First port of call today was Timna Park which was the centre of copper mining in ancient times, although revived briefly during the 1960/70s. This is a desert landscape park and has as one of its attractions a replica of the Tabernacle carried around by Moses and his gang in the wilderness for 40 years. The replica has been constructed from interpretations of measurements contained in the Bible. It is of a reasonable size and an interesting structure apparently it is or was designed to be pulled apart to ease the issue of carrying it around. Still I would not like to be one of those who hulked it around. One can make what one wants to of this replica but it is an imposing structure on the landscape.
Leaving Timna Park for Be’er Sheva we travelled through the Negrev desert region for kilometre after kilometre past wide expanses of brown, almost black, grey, white and green tinged lunar like landscapes. Not much evidence of water in these parts. Be’er Sheva was were in 1917 the famous Charge of the Light Brigade (the Australian Light Horse regiment) took place against the Turkish army. This was apparently a turning point in this part of WW1 as the victory at Be’er Sheva allowed the Commonwealth forces to move further north into the then Palestinian territory controlled by the Turks. The British then achieved administrative control over this southern part of the middle east which it was to retain until Israeli independence in 1948.
Coming into Be’er Sheva we passed by the plain where the Charge took place, now surrounded by scattered settlement before the city proper starts. In the city we stopped at the Park of the Australian Soldier which connects the Australian contribution to the victory at Be’er Sheva with the Israeli people. Later we moved on to the British Cemetery which contains the graves of the Commonwealth forces who died in this theatre of the Palestinian conflict in WW1. This was a moving experience, particularly as there were 2 (?3) members of our party who had relatives who fought here.
We then headed off to the Dead Sea.