The Dead Sea -- Qumran and Masada

It was Saturday -- and our drive to the Dead Sea was fast and traffic free. This is the only day of the week that is traffic free, since it is the Holy Sabbath, and all orthodox Jews would be in serious violation if they drove, creating a spark which according to the Talmud is equivalent to building a fire which is prohibited on the Sabbath. Getting to the sea involved driving to Jerusalem, going north of the city on route 1 into the West Bank and on the highway 90. This corridor is safe as long as one doesn't turn left to Jericho at this point. That is sad since Jericho is the oldest city in the world and would have been fun to visit. Here, we have just turned right on 90 and see the Dead Sea for the first time behind those palm trees. 

Qumran, our first stop, is located near the top of the Dead Sea. It is the excavated site of the place where the famous Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. 
What they was pretty funny. Apparently, one of the previous persons doing the same thing lost his yarmulke. I applied Photoshop to a tiny part of the picture.
Most of the village must be seen from these wooded walkways. Here Ruth and her children are peering down into a deep pit that has been excavated.
The upper section of the site led to the caves where the scrolls were actually found. To the left, you can see two of the caves up in the hills.
Just to prove to you that we were actually there!
Sheldon actually got pretty close to the cave entrance.
We were intimidated by the scary sign telling us what not to do.
He must have seen this up close what my tele-camera captured. 
Looking back -- that bright patch appeared to be a layer of plastic. I never found out what it really was. 

  Next: Masada -- Israel's Last Stand