Eilat is a city in Southern Israel that lies on the famed Red Sea. It is a town with a population of about 51,000 people, however it’s population and economy are heavily dependent on tourism to the area. It is the southernmost city in Israel, and is a well-known resort area frequented by Europeans. Many of our Christian Holy Land Tours visit this town if they will be crossing over into Jordan or Egypt, both of who closely border the town.
Geography of Eliat
Eliat is located in the Negev Desert, and is on the coastline of the Red Sea, a seawater inlet that is the northernmost tropical body of water in the world. It is known for being where Moses led the Israelites across from enslavement in Egypt. It has a very hot and dry climate, ranging from and average of the 70’s in the winter and an average of about 104 degrees in the summer.
History of Eliat
Eilat’s has an ancient and meaningful history. It is believed to have been originally settled around the 7th century BC. It was known for it’s mining for centuries and Egypt kept record of trade to the area. In ancient texts it was referred to as many names, including Elath. Elath was mentioned several times in the Bible.
Mining in the area of Eilat was very lucrative. King Solomon was believed to have operated many mines in the area. One product mined was copper at the mines of Timna, an area so historically associated with King Solomon, that it’s interesting cliffs and natural pillars are referred to as “Solomon’s Pillars”. These are located in Timna National Park, which is about 20 miles from the resort town.
Another item that was mined in the area is the “Eilat Stone” or “Solomon Stone”. This stone is actually a sort of by-product of copper, and also consists of malachite, azurite, turquoise, pseudomalachite, chrysocolla and others. It has a blue-green color and is the national stone of Israel. You may find “Eilat Stone” items, specifically jewelry in shops frequented by tourists around the country, but most of these stones are imported from active mines in other countries. If you want an authentic stone from Israel, it is very difficult to find and much more expensive because of its rarity, so be cautious.
Things to do in Eilat
The main reason our groups go to Eilat is to cross over into Jordan to visit the city of Petra, but there are many other things to do as well! Here is a list of a few:
As we said, most groups who include Eilat in their tour is to cross over the Jordanian border and visit the “Rose City” of Petra. Petra is an ancient city that has exquisitely carved building facades in Roman style leading into the caves. For many, this is a bucket-list item that they feel they must go to when so close in Israel after seeing and hearing about it in popular culture items such as Indiana Jones and the Left Behind book series.
Groups typically stay in Eilat and cross over for the day into Jordan, returning that evening.
Snorkeling and Diving
Snorkeling and diving in Israel may not jump immediately to one’s mind, but Eilat is a sought after location for enthusiasts the world over. With over 650 varieties of marine life, including rays, lion fish, dolphins and turtles, as well as 100 types of coral, it’s an impressive sight and experience. What’s interesting about this reef is that unlike practically every other reef in the world, its health is actually improving. The marine-life population has been growing at about .5% per year.
The Underwater Observatory Marine Park
For those who want a view of the fish, but also prefer to keep their hair dry, there is the Underwater Observatory Marine Park. The park allows you to visit “The Tower” which gives you the ability to walk underwater and view the natural sea life happening around you. They do not feed the fish or interrupt in any way, so you never know what you might see.
Another option is to board the glass bottom boat. This allows you to see varying environments and watch the sea life move around you.
There is one thing that many at the end of their Holy Land travels enjoy while they have a little free time in Eilat, and that is enjoy hotel spa treatments. From massages to Dead Sea mud treatments, many find a little relaxation the perfect way to rest from their days of touring and prepare for their long journey’s home.
However you wish to enjoy Eilat, you should consider adding it to your itinerary! Talk to your tour operator and book your 2021 tour today!