Timna Park, a trip to a place where lost trails of history were covered by the sand of time and winds are bearers of forgotten ancient tales
I was still astonished by Ramon Crater when I took the road 40 which started winding through the desert. An amazing landscape appeared before my eyes and I wanted to stop at every curve just to be able to catch the best image on my camera. I was thinking that probably by now I have seen all the best places worth seeing. I also knew that close to Eilat is Timna Park where Solomon`s mines were, but somehow the word park did not sound too appealing to me. It sounded more like an amusement park and amusement parks are definitely not my thing. But..I could not be more wrong.
Getting closer to Timna my eyes were caught by the sudden change of the landscape. jugged red hills contrasting with the yellow cliffs in the background looked like being at the border of an unusual world. The contrasting colours were amazing and even without knowing what is really there I knew that it is going to be fantastic.
Before entering this magnificent world, a traveller must go first to Timna Park Visitor centre to pay the entrance fee, of course. The park is open from 8 am to 4 pm. My advice, go there as soon as possible because there is so much to see and the park is quite large. The fee is 44 NIS, almost 10 euros. Oh, another thing, make sure you take plenty of water.
I have been there at the end of April and it was really hot. I did my best to resist and see as much as possible but I have to say that having a car and air conditioning did come handy from time to time. Prevented me from melting down. I would have stayed more and have longer hikes around if it weren’t that hot because is worth it, the landscape is so beautiful.
Timna Park was a mining centre since Chalcolithic almost 5000 years ago. Here were probably the oldest copper mines in the world. The copper ore is easily accessed being on the surface or fairly close to the surface. The entire site is dotted with pits and shafts and seeing those make me realize that I was walking on a place where echoes of the past were still present.
Along the centuries, here were mining the Egyptians, the Edomites during the reign of Solomon, the Romans and later the Arabs.
The history of this place is fascinating, the smelting camps, the shafts and the pits are the living proof of that. But nature left its mark as well. The wind and the rain were eroding the walls creating strangely stone shapes. Nature had a twisted sense of humour doing that because while walking there I had the sensation that I was walking through the ruins of humanity. It is the history of this planet those stones ware telling. It was written in the stone, it was written in the sand of time…
The stars of the park are Solomon`s Pillars, nature made those sandstone pillars looking like towers of a fortress surrounded by the desert. For many years it was a dispute whether or not it was any mining activity during the reign of Solomon. Latest discoveries indicated that it was mining activity during the 10th century BC when Solomon ruled and that the Biblical counts are true.
The entire rock formation looks like the ruins of a megalithic temple and it is so fascinating to know that this is entire nature`s work.
I climbed its stairs and went around it, in a way it was a temple after all. A temple dedicated to the beauty of nature and its complexity. its stories were written in the stone and I was happy that I decided to come here so I can be able to tell Timna Valley story.
The desert is fascinating and I travelled so many miles to be able to hear its stories kept in the sands of time. I know that there are still so many stories waiting for me, I just have to cross the mountains of Moab and go deep in the valleys of Wadi Rum to hear some more. One day…I will.