Timna National Park


Timna Park or Timna Nature Reserve, is located near Eilat. The park is located in the valley of the same name, in the Arava desert, with rocky plumb rocks.

The park has thought out routes for visiting attractions. The Solomon pillars, which are part of an intricate cliff, attracts great attention. Entertainment programs are also offered, where you can ride a water bike and fill bottles with colorful sand on an artificial lake on the shore.

In the reserve there are famous and mysterious mines of King Solomon. Excavations by archaeologists showed that the mines were used by the Egyptians and Midianites in the XI-XIV centuries. BC, then the extraction of copper was carried out by Amalekites, Jews and in 1-2 centuries. AD - the Romans. Also discovered were the cave paintings of the ancient Egyptians, smelting furnaces, tools for the extraction of copper and copper mines, as well as the remaining parts of the Khurvat-Timna settlement.

With the advent of new technologies, in 2002, a modern Center for tourists was opened. A media show, with various technical and stereo effects, clearly reveals the history of the valley and the mines.

Photo and description

Timna Nature Reserve - a desert valley north of Eilat, surrounded by sheer cliffs. Legend has it that it was here that the famous mines of King Solomon were located.

The valley lies in a tectonic fault that exposed the surface of minerals containing copper, iron, and sulfur. Iron colors the rocks red, copper - green, sulfur - yellow. One hundred million years ago, this waterless land was the bottom of the ancient sea; powerful sedimentary layers formed here. The properties of the rocks are different, and over millions of years, water, wind and the sun have sculpted a truly alien relief. The reserve is saturated with natural sculptures of the most bizarre forms. There are huge stone “Lion” and “Sphinx” floating in the air “Mushroom” on a thin leg, many miraculous arches. There is a spiral hill surrounded by a real spiral staircase. The Solomon pillars, the colossal natural columns of red sandstone, make a strong impression. The height of a twenty-story house, they rest, as on supports, on relatively small boulders.

The ancient Egyptians knew Timna well. On the rocks found ancient images of camels, chariots, warriors with axes and shields, capricorns, ostriches, deer. An image is carved on a rock near the Solomon pillars: Pharaoh Ramses III makes an offering to the goddess Hathor. Nearby are the ruins of a celestial temple, which is thirty-five centuries old.

Appeal to the patroness of miners Hathor is not accidental: Timna is famous for the oldest copper mines in the world. Copper is the first metal that man used to make weapons and tools. In the thirties of the last century, archaeologist Nelson Gluck suggested that it was here that King Solomon (X century BC) mined it. So it is or not, but the name - the mines of King Solomon - has taken root. Metallurgy originated in Timna six thousand years ago and reached a peak during the time of the pharaohs from the XIV to XII century BC. e. The Egyptians, skilled engineers, cut through narrow tubular shafts with leg supports. They mined ore from a depth of 30 meters. There are thousands of such mines in Timna. You can see the genuine tools that the ancient miners worked, their furnaces.

Copper is not Timna's only wealth. Here, from ancient times, Eilat stone, a semiprecious mineral, was mined to which copper compounds give an amazing blue-green color.

Flora and fauna of the reserve are not rich. Wavy acacia grows here with fruits in the form of twisted pods, small desert wolves, mountain goats live.

You need to come to Timna by car: you won’t walk much in the sultry desert, and asphalt roads for cars are laid throughout the park. Routes are marked with many signs. In addition to natural attractions, it makes sense to look at a copy of the Tabernacle, a sanctuary in which, according to the Bible, Jews kept the Ark of the Covenant during a forty-year journey through the desert. At the end of the route, tourists can relax in an oasis by an artificial lake (you can’t swim, but there are pedalos) and fill a plastic bottle with colored sand of Timna as a souvenir.

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Timna Park is about the bottom of Eilat's most famous attractions. Here are the oldest copper mines, whose age exceeds 6 thousand years. The park is located in the Arava desert, it is about 25 kilometers north of Eilat.

Timna Park is a valley surrounded by sheer cliffs of different periods and various shades, in places these rocks extend up to a height of 850 meters. Climbing one of the cliffs, you will see a landscape that is just breathtaking: cliffs of red and white sandstone, canyons and arches of granite, strolling along all this magnificence of a herd of mountain goats and deer.

The park was formed tens of millions of years ago as a result of natural tectonic movements of the earth's crust and part of the Syrian-African fault.

Excursion from Eilat to Timna Park

Timna Park is one of the most amazing places in Israel. It harmoniously combines stunning landscapes, breathtaking stories of bygone days and exciting events for the family. Here you can touch the mysterious secrets of antiquity and enjoy the breathtaking panorama of this beautiful and mysterious park. You will see landscapes of peers that are not found in any other point on the globe, the most ancient copper mines in the world, traces of the legends of ancient Egypt, the story of the copper goddess Hathor and Pharaoh Ramses.

You just have to start your journey with the most interesting guides of the Atlantida Tours travel company.

Departure from the hotel at 8.00. The tour is conducted in comfortable jeeps.

Sightseeing time 4.5 hours from the moment of departure and the moment of arrival at the hotel.

It should be stocked with water, a hat and comfortable shoes.

Price of the tour 65 $ (entrance ticket is included in the price of the tour)

Departure days: every day.

Timna Park

Timna Park, also known as the Mine of King Solomon, is located about 35 kilometers from the city of Eilat, the southernmost point of Israel, a resort on the Red Sea.

Its area is about 60 km. sq. Objects reminiscent of the distant past, when ancient people mined copper ore here, are scattered on this territory. At that time jewelry, weapons, dishes were made from it.

Copper was very much appreciated. The one who had copper was rich and had power. To this day, the ancient rock paintings, the remains of the temple of the goddess Hathor, the patroness of the mine, in which the mines were mined, have been preserved on the territory of the park. Along with this, in Timna there are also fruits of creativity of nature itself - a stone mushroom, arches, Solomon pillars, a spiral hill, unusual colors and shapes of rocks.

The lake, where you can ride a water bike, a cafe and a life-size tabernacle of the Tabernacle is the final stop of the trip.

At the appointed time, a car will arrive at the hotel for you. The journey takes less than half an hour. We will ride along the border with Jordan, past the kibbutzim and mountains. In Timna Park we will move from object to object. Near each of them, leaving the car in the parking lot, you can, without rushing, to see the sights, photograph them.

We will start with a tour of the stone mushroom and cave paintings, and the final stage will be water biking on the lake. Near the lake there are cafes and shops with souvenirs.

At the appointed time, we will return to the entrance to the park to watch a multimedia show in English.

At the end of the tour you will be taken directly to the door of your hotel in Eilat.

Having ordered an individual tour, you will choose the route yourself, decide what you want to see first and when to return. No one will rush you.

The price includes entrance tickets to Timna Park, an advertising brochure describing the attractions in Russian and a map, riding a water bike, watching a show.

This does not include additional costs - lunch, souvenirs, etc.

Headgear, sturdy athletic shoes and a supply of water are required.

Timna Valley

The national park is located in the Timna Valley on the territory of the Arava desert, small in area, but very arid. In the north, the border of the valley is the drying stream of Timna, and in the south - the river Nekhushtan. The Timna Valley covers an area of ​​more than 60 sq. Km, has a semicircular shape and is surrounded on three sides by cliffs of different colors and periods of formation. This region has been covered with water for a long time, the relief has changed, increased and decreased. An amazing corner of the world stores millions of years of history!

The Timna Valley arose as a result of the formation of the Syrian-African geological fault 10 million years ago. The plate shift, stretching for 6500 kilometers, exposed rocks with minerals. Since ancient times, people here mined copper, manganese and other minerals, the rocks in the valley are composed of various volcanic, igneous and sedimentary rocks, multi-colored sandstones. Not in vain, I think, “Timna” is called the Stone Park.

How to get to Timna Park

In my opinion, there are several options:

  • By private car: From Eilat (or another city), take the 90 highway. Turn onto the sign. It must be borne in mind that a car with a low landing will not pass through the sand. Depending on the chosen program, the price for a ticket to the park is different. The exact amount can be found in the administration and at the box office when buying tickets, where every tourist receives a route map. Independent travelers will have to consider that you need to walk a lot, and stock up on plenty of drinking water in advance.
  • By bus: No public transport runs directly to Timna Park. However, buses from north to south regularly run on Route 90. Near the turn to Timna there is a bus stop No. 390, 393, 394, 397, 444, 990, 991, 993. One-way ticket will cost about 3.6 EUR (15 ILS).
  • With a guided tour: more interesting and much easier will be to visit Timna Park in Eilat as part of a tourist group. The cost of the trip is from 11.7 EUR (49 ILS) for an adult, 10 EUR (42 ILS) for a child.

The main attractions of the park "Timna"

There are many routes laid along Timna, depending on the wishes of tourists: short walking trips, jeep or camel safaris, bike rides. As far as I know, there are 25 routes of different difficulty levels. They pass through the main attractions of the Park: the famous Solomon pillars, copper mines and Skala Mushroom, an artificial lake. If you wish, you can visit the remains of the ancient temple of the goddess Hathor, explore the cave paintings of the ancient Egyptians or simply admire the amazing “Martian” landscape. Rocks of bizarre shapes sometimes resemble man-made sculptures.

Solomon's Pillars

Solomon pillars (pillars) - massive columns of sandstone - in the early twentieth century were considered the work of man. But upon closer examination, it turned out that Mother Nature had tried, sculpting her works for centuries. Wind and time are the main sculptors of most local attractions.

The pillars got their name in honor of King Solomon, the third Jewish king of the 10th century BC. According to the Bible, he was fabulously rich. Obeying the command of the Gods, Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem, and gave the names of Boaz and Yakhin (in honor of the grandson of Jacob and great-grandfather of King David) at the entrance to the bronze columns. These pillars are called the Solomon’s, and the stone statues in Timna embody the power of the elements of the Jerusalem temple.

Was Solomon in Timna?

The main question that interests every tourist who has come to Timna is whether King Solomon was in these places? In the 30s of the twentieth century, the American-Jewish scientist Nelson Gluck suggested that the copper mines in Timna are the very Mine of King Solomon, thanks to which the ruler introduced his monopoly on copper mining. With a light feed of Gluck, this name began to be applied to Israeli mines.

At the end of the tour, the guides give an answer to the exciting question: Solomon was not in Timna! Local mines date back to the 6th century BC and perhaps were the first to mine copper. People came here back in the Neolithic era, and in the Copper-Stone Age large-scale metal mining unfolded. In the XIV-XII centuries. BC e Timna has become a major center for the extraction of copper. But according to a recent study conducted in the 1980s, copper was not mined in Timna during the reign of Solomon (10th century BC). Such an absurdity - officially recognized Mines of King Solomon without Solomon himself!

Copper mines

Who was involved in copper mining in the region? First of all, the ancient Egyptians, whose civilization reached its peak in the 14-12th centuries BC. In Timna, they launched large-scale copper production! It was copper that became the first metal that people began to process, to make weapons, household items, and jewelry from it.

At the entrance to Timna Park, on both sides of the desert road, guests are greeted by huge dolls dressed in traditional Egyptian clothes. And this is no coincidence. The first place my excursion came was the multimedia room, where they show a short (15–20 minutes) interactive presentation of the “Time Mine”. A cognitive program will talk about how copper was mined in Timna at the dawn of time.

The tunnels cut by the ancient Egyptian miners went tens of meters deep into the rocks. But tourists at the next stage of the tour are offered to get acquainted with the most accessible and passable copper mines. These are small recesses, tunnels in the thickness of the cliff, through or not. In the low tunnels you can feel like an ancient miner! And our guide also led a group uphill, where he suggested independently searching for dark-colored stones of valuable breeds. Like other tourists, I took away from Timna a handful of stones of various shapes and sizes, reminiscent of “rare minerals” according to descriptions.

Stone compositions

Timna National Park in Israel is different from other protected areas: instead of forests, fields and rivers, it has picturesque rocks and bizarre stones. Without exception, all tourists (including myself) come here to admire the amazing creations of nature created as a result of rock erosion. From the observation deck, guests descend into the valley, where the famous Skala Mushroom rises. Behind her is another Mushroom, but smaller, and interesting in shape Helical Hill. On the other side are sandstone arches. There is a wonderful rock "Observer" in the valley, reminiscent of the silhouette of a lying lion.

Stone sculptures can be examined briefly, from a car window, or you can stop and feel by spending a day's walk in Timna. I could not deny myself the pleasure of embracing Rock-Grib, fortunately, this is not forbidden. By the way, belated guests are lucky: in the evening, all stone statues are highlighted.

Attractions are scattered throughout the park, so pedestrian tourists will have to run around. Fortunately, in the park there are signs with which you can navigate.

Colorful sand

During our excursion to the park, the guide brought us to the place “where the three deserts meet”, and the sand in these deserts has a different color. Due to the high content of copper, it is bright red, like the entire surrounding landscape, or completely white (sandstone), or a greenish tint.

The park has an artificial lake - a small green oasis in the middle of the sands! Tourists tired of staying in the heat are brought to the lake, where you can compete in the manufacture of souvenirs. After a small master class, guests of the park independently pour colored sand collected in the park into bottles. It doesn’t turn out as masterly as the masters, but it is done with their own hands. Such multi-colored jars can often be seen on the shelves of Egypt and other African countries. It was unusual and interesting to bring “Egyptian souvenirs” from Israel! I brought such jewelry made of colored sand as a gift to my family.

Eilat stone

At the end of the tour, tourists are brought to a souvenir shop where you can purchase whatever your heart desires. The most popular is the local "landmark" - the Eilat stone, it is also the national stone of Israel. It is sometimes called the "King Solomon's stone." Semiprecious mineral of green-blue color. The composition of the Eilat stone includes copper, turquoise, malachite, lapis lazuli and other minerals. This stone looks very unusual, in ancient times it was even attributed magical properties, and was also used (and continues to be used) for medicinal purposes.

The guests of Eilat are regularly taken to the factory for processing this mineral, which is located at the entrance to the city. But the Eilat stone is mined precisely in Timna. In local stores you can also buy souvenirs made of Solomon stone - jewelry, dishes, magnets and more.

Souvenirs and food

I bought a pair of magnets in the shop of Timna Park. They cost about the same as in Eilat souvenir shops - from 1 EUR to 2.5 EUR per magnet (3-10 ILS).

In the same place, in the Oasis souvenir shop, Timna's guests are offered a break from a long journey through deserted lands and cool off. In the store you can buy standard snacks (chocolates, soda) from a vending machine. Their prices will be slightly more expensive than in the city. For example, half a liter of Coke will cost 1 EUR. But during the tour I did not indulge in purchased drinks and drank the free tea offered to the guests from a large teapot, reminiscent of a Russian samovar. Excellent refreshing in the heat!

Timna Park Hours

The opening hours of the park are constantly changing, depending on the time of year and the flow of tourists:

  • During the summer months, you can visit Timna from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
  • In the autumn and winter months, the park’s working hours are reduced: Monday through Thursday and on weekends from 8:00 to 16:00, on Friday from 8:00 to 15:00.

Details and exact opening hours can be found on the official website of Timna Park. Unfortunately, the information on it is presented only in English and Hebrew.

A trip to Timna Park gave me the most pleasant memories from a visit to Israel. One excursion covered many different aspects: we touched in ancient history, got a little knowledge from the field of geology, combined active leisure with cultural. Despite the fact that during a long walk through the desert the whole family was burned, we received a lot of pleasure. I would love to repeat a walk through the amazing lands of Timna!