Sunday, 7 October 2012

Ein Prat

With the holiday of Sukkot in full swing, we are spending time out and about with friends. However, before I show you the great places we have already visited this week, I thought I'd post some photos of a wonderful hike we did in the summer. My Italy pictures sort of took over and I never managed to show you this gorgeous place we visited back in July. 
Nahal Prat is a canyon created by a riverbed running from North of Jerusalem to the Jordan River. It is located in the Judean desert. Nahal Prat, also referred to as Wadi Kelt, has three main springs. Ein Prat, where we hiked, is the upper spring.
The entrance to the Ein Prat Nature Reserve is through the settlement of Anatot, a 15-20 minute drive from Jerusalem. We entered the reserve by car and followed the winding road downhill to the car park.  By the time we got there the pools and park area were already quite busy with picnickers but, after my youngest son had swum in the pool, with fish nibbling at his toes, we hiked a little way along a well-marked trail and quickly reached areas without crowds.
The trail led us past flowing springs, the remnants of ancient structures, and caves which have become hiding places throughout history.  We passed the Faran monastery, a monastery built over Byzantine ruins by the Russian Orthodox Church. The original monastery was built by a hermit-monk called Haritoun in the 4th century. The rebuild was abandoned in the 1980's, but a monk named Anaopheri came from Belarus and slowly restored the site and now monks have taken up residence once again.
Haritoun’s tomb is inside the restored monastery. The monks live modestly; they do not use electricity or eat meat. At night they read by the light of oil lamps. They bake their own bread and draw water from rain-water cisterns. The monastery has orchards as well as remains of buildings which originally housed pilgrims.
Ein Prat offers some of the most fantastic desert scenery in Israel, as well as some incredible flora and fauna, but it was hot on the day we visited. After climbing up to see the monastery, only to find that visits are only permitted by calling ahead, we decided to turn back and enjoy a little more time in the pools.  On our way we passed the old pumping station, from the days when the Ein Prat spring provided water to Jerusalem. It has since been restored and is now a visitors centre housing the nature reserves offices.
There are a number of hiking routes available in the area so we will definitely go back to enjoy the wonderful views again one day.
Ein Prat is open daily from 8 to 5 pm in the summer and from 8 to 4 pm in the winter. The office phone is 057 893 6708.

5 comments:

Meeling said...

Fabulous desert scenery!! Must have been a lovely outing.

dottycookie said...

It's so beautiful and so far removed from anything we have here. A real treat to share your hike - thank you!

Ann Martin said...

So beautiful and rugged!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Wow! The landscape is so beautiful! It is quite different from anything around me. It looks so dry but luckily there are springs around!

Additionsstyle said...

Looks like it was an amazing day. Your right, it is very beautiful, with lots to see. Nice collection of photos.
Valerie
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