The Judean Desert is one of the world’s smallest, yet most unique, desert regions.
Throughout history, the Judean Desert has been an important, and well documented place.
For example, it was the main entry route to the Holy City of Jerusalem from the east during ancient times.
However, a lesser known attraction, also worth seeing, is Herodium which like Masada was a fortress-palace built by Herod.
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is probably the 3rd most visited site in the desert.
The desert is sparsely populated and always has been.
Those who lived in it in ancient times did so mostly through a connection to Jerusalem, which in a sense, made it the desert of the Holy City.
King David escaped to Ein Gedi, King Herod build a fortress – Masada – in the desert in case he needed to escape, and the Jewish rebels in the Bar Kokhba revolt used Masada as their strong hold.
Much of the history in the Judaean Desert was connected to the political, religious, and economic situation in Jerusalem.
The unknown people who collected the Dead Sea scrolls had left Jerusalem to live simple religious lives in the Judean Desert.
In 1947 the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered well preserved in the Qumran Caves thanks to the dry desert weather.
One third of the Dead Sea scrolls were parts of the Bible that were 2,000 years old making them one of the most important archeological finds in Israel. Today you can see them on display in the Israel Museum.