For me the ancient site of Qumran is arguably the most remarkable landscape in the world.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, written by the Essenes, were found here some 70 years ago. The Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab are immediately ahead. Herod’s fortress of Masada is a few miles to the south, overlooking the – perhaps legendary – sites of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jericho, possibly the world’s oldest city, is to the north. This region is the lowest place on Earth, the ‘wilderness’ spoken of in the Bible.
I first visited Qumran five years ago and was fortunate to be able to return a few days ago. The ruins here are very probably those of the Essene sect, which wrote the scrolls some 2000 years ago before the site was cleared by the Romans during the 66-70AD Jewish War.
Here are some photos of what remains of the complex, the caves where the scrolls were found, and the brilliant horizons on every side.
Please click the thumbnails for the full sized images. The photos can also be viewed on Flickr.