Nahal Amatziahu Park
The site was set up for you and your enjoyment.
To ensure your safety and security, please adhere to these rules of conduct:
- The trail is for pedestrians only.
- No entrance for car / bicycle / electric bicycle.
- When there is a flood warning, it is forbidden to approach the banks of the stream.
- When there is a flow of water in the dry river bed – the passing through or over the water is dangerous and forbidden.
- Burning fires is dangerous and forbidden.
- It is forbidden to operate amplification systems and/or a generator in the area of the site.
- Staying overnight including activities at night – prohibited.
- Harm to animals, plants and inanimate objects is prohibited.
- Keep clean and dispose of waste in designated waste bins.
- Signage guidelines must be observed and adhered to.
- Visiting the area is at the responsibility of the visitor.
- In case of any hazard or problem, call:
Enjoy your visit!
The paddling pool:
- Entrance to the paddling pool and bathing is the sole responsibility of the bather.
- The water depth is about 40 cm. Jumping into the water is dangerous and forbidden! Be careful not to slip.
- Children under the age of 6 must be under close supervision at all times and are the sole responsibility of the accompanying adult.
- Do not throw dirt or bottles into the pool.
Nahal Amatziahu begins on the Jehoaddan hills at the edge of the Hatzra ridge (west of Road 90). The stream is about 20 km long and the flow sinks into the soft, white rocks of the tongue-shaped rocks and forms a wide canyon that rises about 50 meters above the river bed. The stream ends at the Dead Sea, near the Amatziahu River Park, in front of the Red Mountains.
The inspiration for the name of the stream comes from the Bible. From the description in the Bible it can be deduced that Amaziah king of Judah passed through the area on his way to suppress the revolt of Edom in Judah: “And he smote Edom with the rods of salt” (2 Kings 2: 7).
The Arabic name of the stream is “Wadi Katzib” (Nahal HaKanim). This name faithfully describes the many reeds that grew in the creek in places where high groundwater was exposed.
Tamar. Nice to meet you!
The palm trees in Nahal Amatzia Park invite you to spend time in a desert garden, have fun in its facilities and get to know the secrets of the brave tree, who is not afraid of the desert heat and its salty soil.
Greetings from the ancient world
The origin of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is in the warm regions of the Fertile Crescent, probably in the southern part of Aram Nahariya. The earliest remains of what appears to be a cultural date have been found in Sumer in southern Iraq (4th millennium BCE).
Date pits from the Chalcolithic period, about 5,000 years ago, were discovered in the Treasure Cave in the Judean Desert. Excavations in Masada also revealed 2,000-year-old date pits, and in 2005 a seed was germinated in Kibbutz Ketura. From the seed grew a healthy male tree, which was given the name Methuselah. Additional seedlings sprouted from other seeds originating in Masada and Qumran. So far, only males from the ancient nuclei have grown. Will we be privileged in the future to taste the flavors of dates that have grown in the area in the distant past?
In praise of the Dead Sea palm
The date fruits that were grown in ancient times by the people of the Dead Sea area – in Jericho, Ein Gedi and Tzoar – gained a great reputation in ancient times. Here are three testimonies:
“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo … and the LORD saw the whole land… (Deuteronomy 1: 1-3)
“An act in the sons of Levi who went to the cadet of the city of dates …” (Mishnah, Yevamot 16: 7)
“The only dates that will be preserved are grown in the Syrian Valley (Jordan Valley and Dead Sea Valley). These that are grown elsewhere are eaten fresh.” (Theophrastus, 4th century BCE)
- Remains of a cadet are found near Nat a-Safi, in the territory of the Kingdom of Jordan, in front of Nahal Amatziahu Park.
The return of the date
In the Land of Israel, dates were grown as early as 5,000 years ago and perhaps even earlier. The importance of the industry in ancient times increased after dry varieties that can be preserved for a long time were developed in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area. In the Middle Ages, the secret of growing the date palm was forgotten and the renewed Hebrew settlement was forced to rediscover it.
The return of the date to the Land of Israel involved dangerous journeys to Muslim countries in the Middle East and the smuggling of date threads from them. Arab countries saw their date varieties as a national treasure because of their great importance to their economy. The smuggled roots were planted in “Gan Rachel” on the Kinneret farm and from there were distributed in the settlements of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea Valley. Spouts brought to Sodom were planted near Ein Tamar (Ein Arus).
Many contributed to the renewal of the industry. Prominent among them was an Israeli, Ben-Zion (1887¬-1954) who set out on dangerous journeys in Sinai, Iran and Iraq; Yaakov (Yani) Avidov (1901¬-1970) smuggled from Iran and Iraq about 75,000 palm spouts, and the agronomist Shmuel Stoller (1898¬-1977) acclimatized and adapted date varieties to the conditions of the land.
Thus, the date returned to the Land of Israel.
Date palm is a heat-loving tree and therefore it is grown commercially in the hot areas of the country – the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea Valley and the Arava. The wood can exist on water with relatively high salinity such as brackish water and muddied water, but too high salinity will reduce the wood yield. One yielding tree needs about 200 cubic meters of water per year in the climatic conditions of the Arava and the Dead Sea.
The proliferation of dates is made from naturally developed stems on the side of the tree trunk. A box is built around the base of the pothole, filled with sawdust or planting material and irrigated. After strong roots separate the stalk from the mother plant they then transfer it to the ground. This method ensures that the new tree will be identical in its properties to the mother plant.
Tamar is a dioecious tree, that is, there are male and female trees. The wind blows the pollen from the male trees to the female trees and after fertilization fruits are formed. This type of pollination requires a huge amount of pollen.
In order to optimize the use of male pollen and grow fruit in female orchards, an ancient method of artificial pollination has already been developed in the ancient world (in the language of the ancients, “assembling palm trees”). On the female blossom, even today the date growers struggle with the female inflorescence.
The fruits ripen in August-October. A large cluster of dates can reach a weight of about 10 kg and more and therefore the clusters are sometimes supported by tying them to the branches. To prevent the penetration of pests, the ripe clusters are wrapped in sacks, an operation known as “pocketing”.
Symbol and source of inspiration
The palm tree symbolizes transformation and beauty in the Bible: “This is your stature, like the palm tree …” (Song of Songs, p. 8) and therefore the temple and the ancient synagogues were decorated in its image. The figure of the date palm, a symbol of independence and uprightness, is imprinted in ancient coins. In Roman times, the date palm symbolized the Land of Israel and its image adorns ancient mosaics.
In the early days of Zionism, the date palm returned to being a symbol of the Land of Israel: Bezalel artists incorporated the wood into their early works. The date palm has inspired poets such as Haim Nachman Bialik and the poet Rachel, and his figure continues to be an Israeli symbol today, in the sense of a modern day as before.
The date and the seven species
The date palm is not mentioned in the Bible by name as one of the seven species blessed within the Land of Israel: “the land of wheat and barley and vine and fig and pomegranate, the land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8: 8). The unifying nickname “the seven species” was first given in the Mishnah, where the date is indeed mentioned by its explicit name (Tractate Bikurim, A-C).
We will not forget the four species either. Lulav, a bud of the palm branch, holds a place of honor as one of the four species welcomed on Sukkot.
The generous tree
“What this date has is not waste but dates to eat, lullabies to rejoice, shields for shielding, fibers for ropes, sensors for the cobra, the flu happens to happen in the house” (Bamidbar Rabbah, c, paragraph a).
This verse testifies that the people of the land valued the tree that gave them everything: the trunks make beams for the pillars of the house and the palms cover the roof. The leaves and sensors are a raw material for weaving mats and the leaf spine is a raw material for furniture. The branches that bear the fruit are bound to brooms and from the fibers that wrap the trunk of the tree are woven by ropes.
We almost forgot the fine fruit … eat it as it is and you can also make sweet sesame, liquor and other delicacies from it.
Three natural worlds
In the Tamar Park, the large river bed of the Amatziahu River meets the salt of Sodom. On either side of the gorge rise cliffs made of the soft, clear rocks of the tongue formation. The variety of habitats, which differ markedly from each other, are joined by small springs springing from the salt.
Sodom salt extends in the area where Nahal Amatziahu, Nahal Tzin and Nahal Arava flow into the Dead Sea. The salt marsh was formed from a combination of the spring of saline springs, seasonal floods of the streams and periodic flooding into the Dead Sea.
Malcha is a habitat characterized by high soil salinity. In the saltiest places no plants can exist. In the less saline areas, the plants are organized in “belts” that grow according to the level of salinity. In the first circle, around the salt focus, a bluish salt plant grows. In the second circle, in the less saline areas, there is the vegetative belt of a monocotyledonous (Bottlebrush) squirrel and a square Eshel Tree.
In the third circle, in areas that are not flooded, bush shrubs and rosemary ivory grow, and in the fourth, on the dry margins, damaged saline is common.
Due to the development of the area for agricultural cultivation and industry, the Sodom salt lost about 90% of its original area.
At the edge of the Sodom salt marsh, near the access road to Moshav Ein Tamar, small springs can be found. Their waters are relatively salty but they serve as a support for plants and animals. In the vicinity of the water, plants grow that are slightly resistant to salinity, including common reed, common date, Euphrates poplar and sea buckthorn.
WARNING: Much of the surface of the Sodom salt mine is mined and hiking is prohibited outside the marked trails.
Nahal Amatziahu is a large river bed, which can reach 200 meters wide. The surface of the stream is relatively rich in sand, a feature that improves water permeability and contributes to the reduction of salinity in the soil. The vegetation in the upper part of the stream is relatively rich. Among the prominent species are the Eshel Hayor trees, the spiral method and the awning method, and they are joined by the shrub on the fringe.
In the lower part of the stream, where the bottom is richer in the tongue formation rocks, the vegetation is sparse and less diverse. Notable species are the Eshel Hayor, the desert hawthorn, the salt marsh, the soft begonia and the thorny jet.
In the Amatziahu River, the rare plant grows from a spiral pentagon.
Sedimentation of the tongue
About 60,000 years ago, a large lake stretched between the Hatzeva area and the Sea of Galilee. This historic lake, which existed until about 15,000 years ago, is called the “Lake of the Tongue”. Its maximum water level was about 230 meters higher than that of the Dead Sea.
Every winter they brought streams that flowed mud and alluvium and leveled at the bottom of the sea a layer about one millimeter thick, green-gray in color, made of mud and chalk. In the summer, a thin white layer formed over it, made of almost clean chalk rock. A pair of layers represents summer and winter.
In the area of the park is a replica of Amatzia. This is a geological fault that extends from west of the Neot HaKikar to the southeast and reaches as far as the foot of the Red Mountains. The rift separates the sediment formation in the south from younger sediments that sank in the Sodom prairie.
The sediments of the tongue hardly support vegetation, and because they contain high concentrations of salt from the ancient times, the plants have difficulty extracting water from them. Vegetation exists only in streams that receive rainwater. Among the plants that live here are mainly disgusting salt, crocheted salt, scaly salt and bristle discharge. Only in particularly rainy years are annual plants visible in the small depressions outside the streams, mainly a bleaching stork source.
Dead Sea Rift
The Dead Sea Rift extends for about 6,000 km from the Maras Tai region of Turkey through the Red Sea to East Africa. This system began to form about 20 million years ago, following the horizontal movement of the Arabian calendar north relative to the African and Sinai calendars.
The dividing line between Arab (Jordan) and Sinai (Israel) is not always straight. In the Dead Sea area, the next rift faces slightly to the west. The movement of the plates opens a local gap and forms the Dead Sea Valley.
The stones of friendship
This sculpture, created by the artist Yosef (Jojo) Ohayon from Moshav Ein Tamar, combines stones from the Himalayas – the highest place in the world and the Dead Sea region – the lowest place in the world. The sculpture was created in two copies. One is located on the roof of the world, at the foot of Mount Everest, and the other here. The height difference between the two places is more than 9,200 meters.