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Qumran or Khirbet Qumran, is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank, just next to the Israeli Kibbutz of Kalia.
Qumran was probably constructed during or before the reign of John Hyrcanus, 134 - 104 B. C. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A. D., Titus and his X Fretensis destroyed it. Qumran is best known as the settlement nearest to the location of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves located in the sheer desert cliffs.
The site of the Qumran ruins (Khirbet Qumran) has been occupied for centuries. The remains of walls and pottery from Iron Age II (8th - 7th centuries B.C.) have been found here. Some think this place was the City of Salt described in the Bible as "Ir ha-Melah".
There is evidence that the manuscripts discovered in the Qumran caves belonged in the library of the occupants of this community referred to as the Dead Sea Sect .
In 1947 two Bedouin shepherds accidentally came across a clay jar in a cave near Khirbet Qumran that contained seven parchment scrolls. The scrolls aroused intense interest throughout the world and considerable controversy, especially with regard to their dating. The seven scrolls are known as the Manual of Discipline, War of Sons of Light, Thanksgiving Scroll, Isaiah A and B, Genesis Apocryphon and the Habakkuk Commentary.
The scrolls were sold to dealers in antiquities who offered them to scholars. The first scholar to recognize their antiquity was E. L. Sukenik, who acquired three scrolls for the Hebrew University. Then between 1948 and 1950 Sukenik published specimens of the scrolls, appearing posthumously in 1955.
The other four scrolls were smuggled into the United States, where three of them were published between 1950-51. Later they were offered for sale. Yigael Yadin, who was the son of E. L. Sukenik and also an archaeologist, succeeded in buying them and bringing back into Israel.
In 1965 the Israel Museum in Jerusalem opened the Shrine of the Book to exhibit the scrolls.
A group of scholars under the leadership of R. de Vaux began to search and excavate the cave known as Cave 1, where the first scrolls were found, as well as about 40 other caves in its vicinity. Many scrolls and thousands of pieces were found in 11 caves. Due to difficulties in deciphering, the scrolls they was published very slowly. Most of the manuscripts were sent to the Rockfeller Museum in Jerusalem, and became available to to Israel scholars after the Six-Day War in Jerusalem.
The Qumran manuscripts were mostly written on parchment, some on papyrus. They date at the closing period of the Second Temple and are assumed to be a part of a library belonging to a community from Qumran, known also as a "Dead Sea Sect" . In some caves the manuscripts were carefully placed in covered cylindrical jars, and in other caves they appear to have been dumped in great haste. Cave4 yielded the greatest amount of documents, but its' storage conditions were the worst, and the manuscripts disintegrated into thousands of fragments, which had to be slowly pieced together with great care.
The documents found contain over 100 copies of the various books of the Hebrew Bible, most survived only as fragments. All books, except the Book of Ester are represented. Fragments of the Septuagint text have been also identified.
Several apocryphal documents in Hebrew and Aramaic were also found, some of them previously unknown.
The community called the "Dead Sea Sect" to which the Dead Sea Scrolls apparently belonged occupied Qumran about 130 B. C. to 70 A. D..
The Dead Sea Sect was an extreme offshot of the Jewish apocalyptic movement, whose basic doctrine was the expectation that the world would soon end. When the world would end, the wicked would be destroyed, and Israel freed from the power of other nations. Before this would happen, God would raise for Himself a community of elect who would be saved from the divine visitation, and who would become the society of the future.
They believed that God had decreed not only the end of the world but also the division of mankind into two antagonistic groups called "the sons of light" and "the sons of darkness", to be led lead by a godlike "prince of light" and an "angel of darkness". Reference is also made to "the spirit of truth" and "the spirit of perverseness" which are given to mankind. Of these, each person receives his portion, in accordance with which he is either righteous or wicked. Between these two categories God has set "eternal enmity" which would cease only in the end of all days, with the destruction of the spirit of perversion and the purification of the righteous from the spirit of perversions influence. Then "the sons of the spirit of truth" would receive their just reward.
The bulk of mankind was immersed in evil ways and liable to suffer from the divine visitation. To avoid this destiny, members of the Dead Sea Sect chose to go into the wilderness and to live a strict way of life in a zealous preparation for their future reward. The members of the sect regarded themselves as "an eternal planting", and waited for the beginning of the end of days, when God would raise up for Himself the future Human society, in which they would be "leaders and princes".
The members of the sect probably had several forms of organization. Two forms are described in documents known as the Manual of Discipline and the Damascus Document. The Manual of Discipline called for a full communal life. The community was presumably a celibate male one. The members of the sect joined of their own free will.
However, another form of organization also existed, allowing private property, women and children.
The history of the Dead Sea Sect is unknown. However, some details about its founder are known. He was known as "the teacher of Righteousness".
The ruins of Qumran are now the Qumran National Park. Go west of Road 90 along the Dead Sea. The turn to the Qumran National Park is about 7 km south from the Beit Haarava junction.
The easy way to get to Qumran, is to fly into the Ben Gurion International Airport. The airport is close to Jerusalem, which is about 5 miles away.
The Ben Gurion International Airport, (IATA: TLV, ICAO: LLBG), also referred to by its Hebrew acronym Natbag, is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel. It was named the best airport in the Middle East by the ACI organisation.[ The airport is located near the city of Lod, 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv. It is operated by the Israel Airports Authority, a government-owned corporation that manages all public airports and border crossings in the State of Israel. The Ben Gurion International Airport is considered one of the world's most secure airports, with a security force that includes both police officers and IDF soldiers.
There are several hotels in or near Jerusalem.
There are several Guided Tour Agencies offering standard city, and historical tours of Jerusalem, Israel and the surrounding areas.
After arranging your flight we would suggest getting your hotel and then letting them arrange tours of the area for you. If you call the hotels Concierge Services ahead of your arrival, all of this can be pre-arranged for you.
I do this all the time. It is safe and it works!!! I have never experienced a problem doing it this way!
I have links to Priceline.Com on our page so that you can arrange your flight and hotel in the Jerusalem, Israel area.
Special Note - To Arrange Tours:
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Blend holy sights with centuries of history on a 2-day tour of Israel from Jerusalem, led by a local guide! The experience includes walking tours of must-visit ancient cities such as Caesarea, Acre, Nazareth and Capernaum as well as an overnight stay in a traditional Israeli kibbutz (family-run guesthouse). Visits to the UNESCO-listed Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, underground grottos of Rosh Hanikra and the baptismal site of Yarendit are also part of this exciting 2-day tour.
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Journey through Israel's holy and historical highlights on this 7-night tour from Jerusalem, with accommodation, transport and select meals included. Explore the spiritual sites of Old and New Jerusalem, follow the miracle trail around the Sea of Galilee, visit holy Bethlehem and Nazareth, and explore the Golan Heights, Haifa and ancient ruins at Caesarea and Beit She'an. Finish with a free day in Tel Aviv or an optional day trip to the Dead Sea to float in its waters. Airport pickup and drop-offs are included either side of your tour.
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Discover Israel's holy highlights on an action-packed 5-day tour from Tel Aviv, with hotel and 'kibbutz' (family-run guesthouse) accommodation included. Led by an expert local guide, the experience is packed with walking tours and excursions that offer perfect introductions to Israel's top attractions. Explore Jerusalem's Old City and the City of David on walking tours; ride to the hill-top fortress of Masada by cable car; float in the desolate Dead Sea; tour Nazareth and the villages around the Sea of Galilee; visit the ancient ruins of Caesarea and more!
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This action-packed 5-day tour from Jerusalem offers a perfect introduction to Israel's holy highlights and top attractions. With your expert local guide, explore Jerusalem's Old City and the City of David; take a cable car ride to the hill-top fortress of Masada; relax by floating in the Dead Sea; tour Nazareth and the villages around the Sea of Galilee; visit the ancient ruins of Caesarea and more. Your experience includes guided walking tours, free time to spend at your leisure, and overnight accommodation in 3-star hotels and a family-run guesthouse."
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Explore some of Israel's finest ancient cities and religious sites on a 2-day tour of Israel, led by a local guide! After visiting King Herod's old stomping ground at the coastal town of Caesarea, stroll around the UNESCO-listed Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, and then discover the delights of the underground caves at Rosh Hanikra. Enjoy an overnight stay in a traditional Israeli kibbutz (family-run guesthouse) in Mizra and then spend the final day visiting sites in and around the Sea of Galilee, such as Nazareth, Capernaum and Yarendit.
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Marvel at the wonders of northern Israel on a 2-day tour of Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee from Jerusalem! This exciting experience includes visits to all the top Golan Heights attractions such as the Hammat Gader border, the Talmudic village of Katzrin and Mount Bental, a dormant volcano. After an overnight stay in a traditional Israeli 'kibbutz' (family-run guesthouse), head south to the Sea of Galilee, enjoying a tour of Nazareth plus visits to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, Yarendit baptismal site and more.
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Indulge both body and soul on the 2-Day Best of Israel Tour from Tel Aviv. After an action-packed day exploring the ancient biblical cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, spend your second day relaxing and taking in the sights at Masada before a spot of Dead Sea pampering.
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Indulge both body and soul on the 2-Day Best of Israel Tour. After an action-packed day exploring the ancient biblical cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, spend your second day relaxing and taking in the sights at Masada before a spot of Dead Sea pampering.
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Explore Golan Heights and the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee on a 2-day tour of northern Israel from Tel Aviv! With overnight accommodation in a traditional Israeli 'kibbutz' (family-run guesthouse) included, this must-do tour introduces you to local culture as well as northern Israel's top sites. Visit the Hammat Gader border and the Talmudic village of Katzrin in the rugged Golan Heights region, and then head south to the Sea of Galilee to discover the delights of Nazareth, Capernaum, Yarendit baptismal site and more.
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See the highlights of Israel in one day on an evocative sightseeing trip from Tel Aviv. You will discover the ancient city of Jerusalem, a holy site for many different religions, before enjoying a therapeutic spa visit to the Dead Sea. Few places in the world mean so much to so many people as these do, so if you only have a day to spare, make sure you see the best that Israel has to offer!
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See the highlights of Israel in one day on an evocative sightseeing trip from Jerusalem. You will discover the ancient city of Jerusalem, a holy site for many different religions, before enjoying a therapeutic spa visit to the Dead Sea. Few places in the world mean so much to so many people as these do, so if you only have a day to spare, make sure you see the best that Israel has to offer!
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Take a day out to discover the iconic religious sites of Jerusalem and visit the Dead Sea on this private day trip from Tel Aviv. With a private driver-guide, visit Old Jerusalem to see landmarks including the Western Wall, Via Dolorosa and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and absorb the city views from the Mount of Olives. Then, cross the Judean Desert to float in the Dead Sea and enjoy a revitalizing, mineral-rich mud bath before your return to Tel Aviv. Enjoy in-depth attention from a guide on this private tour.
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Discover Old Jerusalem's top sights and float in the Dead Sea on this private day trip from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. With a private driver-guide, visit the Mount of Olives to admire glorious views over Jerusalem's old city. Then, head inside the city walls to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Western Wall, and walk the Via Dolorosa, Jesus' path to his crucifixion. Finish at the Dead Sea, with free time to swim in its waters and enjoy a mud bath. Receive the full attention from a guide on this private tour.
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