Qumran and Ein Fashka

The archaeological site of Qumran lies 20 km south of Jericho on the western shore of the Dead Sea. It consists of a monastery and the remains of a tower, kitchens, dining hall and the “Scriptorium”, where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were written and found. The discovery of the Scrolls was made in 1947 by an Arab shepherd who was looking for a stray goat. Seven scrolls were found, the most famous being the scroll of Isaiah, which is one foot wide and 24 feet long. Excavations at the site found more than 900 pieces of scrolls in more than 30 caves. Except for two scrolls written on copper, all the scrolls were written on leather and papyrus. Covering a period of 300 years, the writings in the scrolls include the birth of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and offer insights and a background to the teachings of Christ. One can also find various cisterns, aqueduct and channels, evidence both of the importance of water in the desert, and of the role ritual bathing played in the life of the Essenes – a religious sect who first emerged around 150 BC. This was their religious center from then until 68 AD, when it was destroyed by the Romans. At the far side of the site one can look out to the caves where the Scrolls were found. Ein Fashka lies just 3 km south of Qumran. A fresh water spring, whose waters tumble down from the hills leading down to the Dead Sea shores, creating pools of lush vegetation and attracting wildlife.

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