The abundance of fresh water always drew people to Ein Gedi, the largest oasis on the western side of the Dead Sea. There is plentiful evidence of inhabitants here as early as the Chalcolithic period, fourth millennium BCE. En-gedi (of the Bible) is mentioned in the description of the pursuit of David by King Saul (1 Samuel 24:1). From the beginning of the seventh century BCE (the period of the kings Hezekiah and Manasseh) until the Early Arab period, Ein Gedi was almost continuously inhabited. From the end of the seventh century BCE (in the days of Jeremiah the Prophet) until the first century BCE, the settlement at the oasis was located at the ancient mound of En-gedi situated on the northern bank of Nahal Arugot.
During the five years of excavations conducted at this tel (from 1961 to 1965), strata from the end of the First Temple period until the end of the Second Temple period were uncovered.
This lavishly illustrated and clear and easy-to-use guide takes us through the history of Ein Gedi, followed by a description of hiking trails and principal sites that may be visited in and around the oasis.