Updated: Oct 2, 2022
Most scholars identify the inhabitants of historic Qumran with members of the Essene desert sect. The members of the sect lived an ascetic communal life and adhered to study and purity.
Some argue that the cult has a significant influence on the movement of monasticism in Christianity. According to tradition, John the Baptist, who lived as a monk in the desert, visited Qumran - and therefore, the site is essential to Christians.
Many mikvahs (baths in which certain Jewish ritual purifications are performed) were found here, as well as other public buildings such as the dining room and kitchen.
However, the absence of residential buildings in the place raises some questions. Maybe the place wasn't a permanent settlement but rather an annual gathering site of the sect. If so, it is possible that the ascetic customs of the denomination did not characterize their daily way of life but only their conduct during the days of the annual convention.
In any case, Qumran, which was inhabited from the first century BC until the Bar-Kochba revolt in 136 AD, is a fascinating archeological site. The hidden scrolls, written in Qumran, were found in the caves nearby - one of the most important archeological finds of the twentieth century.
One of the caves can be seen from the site itself. In 1952, Bedouins discovered the cave, which contained thousands of fragments of scrolls. The researchers were able to consolidate over 500 fragments of scrolls.
The site is accessible, and signs are scattered along the path.
Using a canal, the residents collected the floodwaters for cisterns, ponds, and mikvahs.
Before the communal meals, the diners bathed in the mikvahs and put on the holy garments. Then, according to the scrolls, they ate bread, dates, dairy products, and meat.
About a thousand pottery vessels were found in the warehouse. Many cooking utensils were discovered in the central courtyard.
The tower served as an observation and guarding point.
You can hike towards the mountains, and the site is also ready for abseiling trips.
🎫 Admission fees are according to the rates of the Nature and Parks Authority (free for Israel Pass and Matmon cardholders).
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