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Priority of visiting Qumran?

Miami, Florida
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Priority of visiting Qumran?

We'll be in Jerusalem/Bethlehem for about 6 days, then driving a rental car to Tiberias for a few days, then going to TelAviv. We'd like to take 1 day from Jerusalem to visit Masada, Qumran and take a dip at Ein Gedi. It sounds like that would take about 11 hours, including drive time. Would it be better to skip Qumran, to allow more leisurely time at Masada and Ein Gedi (and avoid driving in the dark)? Since I believe you can't easily enter the caves, it sounds like there is not much to see at Qumran, after you have learned about it at the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. I'm sure the view is nice at Qumran, but we can probably view it when we drive up Hwy 90 to Tiberias. Can you see the Qumran caves with binoculars from Hwy 90?

Tel Aviv, Israel
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1. Re: Priority of visiting Qumran?

Yes, I think you can skip Qumran, especially if you will be seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls themselves at the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.

Do Masada and Ein Gedi and enjoy a Dead Sea bathing experience all in the same day. Don't skip the Dead Sea bathing if you've never done it before.

Israel
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2. Re: Priority of visiting Qumran?

Depending on your time, yes, you can skip Qumran. And yes, you can see the caves from Hwy 90 - don't even need binoculars - you can see them with the naked eye.

Not sure where you get the estimate of 11 hours for this day.

The drive from Jerusalem to Masada takes under two hours. You will probably spend no more than 3 hours at Masada.

Your Dead Sea experience will take between an hour to however much time you want to spend if you're enjoying a spa. You're still only at about 5-6 hours - add the travel time back to Jerusalem and you can have time for Qumran too.

When you visit Qumran you can see the archaeological finds and the remains of the village there, get the feel of living there, the layout of the village, etc. Just keep in mind that since it is a national park, it closes at 4 pm in the winter and 5 in the summer - last entry is an hour before closing time.

Miami, Florida
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3. Re: Priority of visiting Qumran?

Thanks for these tips and for answering my other questions on the forums as I prepare for my trip. You guys are a great help.

Jerusalem, Israel
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4. Re: Priority of visiting Qumran?

I think you might be getting a bit confused - the dip that most people take on a day like you are describing is in the Dead Sea.

Ein Gedi is a national park, and it also has some fresh water pools and an ancient synagogue. Here is the link for Ein Gedi http://www.parks.org.il/BuildaGate5/general2/data_card.php?Cat=~25~~989817747

Anyway, it can easily add up to 11 hours: 1.5 to 2 hours each way, 2-3 hours at Masada, 2 hours at Ein Gedi, 1-2 hours Dead Sea dip and "mud bath" (and getting clean again!!). Add to that lunch, and getting from place to place, and it adds up to a full day.

If you want to visit Qumran, then you will have to drop something else. You might find you have to drop something else anyway, so prioritize ....

Israel
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5. Re: Priority of visiting Qumran?

Just to clarify, you cannot go into the caves of Qumran, even if you want to. They are located in a nature reserve which is not open to the public. You definately can view them from the road by driving up to the archeological site and instead of turning left to the access road continue on the road and once you are parallel to the road stop near the trees and dumpster and observe the caves from a distance. I would suggest getting the book about Qumran by Prof. Hanan Eshel, in order to know what you are looking at.

On another note it is possible to stop at Qumran for an hour enroute if the site is important to you -- or skip it if sitting at the beach is of greater priority.

Chana

israel

Ottawa, Canada
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for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
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6. Re: Priority of visiting Qumran?

If you are into archeology, then a visit to Qumran is a must. If you are not, then you will be seeing the ruins at Masada and might want to take in the nature of Ein Gedi and floating in the Dead Sea is a great experience.

7. Re: Priority of visiting Qumran?

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