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Monday, October 10, 2011

Israel: King Solomon's Pillars & an Ancient Egyptian Mining Goddess!

On our Israeli drive south to Eilat we stopped to see King Solomon's Pillars amd the ancient copper mines at Timna Park- and stumbled into an ancient Egyptian temple dedicated to miners! How cool is that?! Timna Park was another amazing place I'd never been to, as I'd always gone to Eilat by bus from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, and so never got to stop along the way! This time Dan and I had a rental car, and so we stopped at every cool thing we discovered, and this oasis- with a beautiful lake in the middle of it- was one of them! The neatest thing for us, living, as we do, smack in the middle of the southern West Virginia coal mines, was to find the ancient shrine to the Egyptian goddess Hathor, patroness of miners! Approx. 8,000 stone circles that led to copper mine shafts were discovered in Timna Park- these were the first copper mines in the world! (A by-product of Israeli copper mining is the beautiful turquoise gem known as the Eilat Stone, a classic component of modern Israeli jewelry. My dad bought me a beautiful silver Eilat Stone necklace in Israel in 1973 which I still have!)

Israeli Eilat Stone Jewelry

Dan, Walkin' Like an Egyptian!

From the Israeli website: "The star of Timna Park is Solomon’s Pillars, towering sandstone columns so perfectly formed that you might really think they were a gargantuan public works project initiated by the biblical king for whom they are named. But of course, they, like all the other formations in the 23-square-mile park, are nature’s handiwork. So are stripes of magma frozen in geological time in the cliffs, and the sandstone, in its soft palette of pastels, shaped by wind and water into strange shapes like “the mushroom” and “the sphinx.”  (They give you a cool map when you arrive, so we got to see them all!)

Ancient entrance to a copper mine shaft, Timna

Archaeological site at Timna

Timna's Ancient Copper Mines

Ancient Temple of Hathor, Egyptian Mining Goddess

Ancient Temple of Hathor, Egyptian Mining Goddess

Dan, at the Lake at Tmna Park

While we were there, a team of event designers were setting up what was, without a doubt, THE event of the season: a gala with dining, music, and dancing under the stars at the temple! We almost crashed it (not for nothing do we travel with Black Tie in our carry-on bags...), but decided to high-tail it to Eilat, as a fabulous guest room awaited us at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel Eilat, with, as we were to discover, a romantic (*wink wink*) balcony overlooking the Red Sea!
Next: Snorkeling, Sea-Dooing, and Camel-Trekking in Eilat!

1 comment:

Jeff Taxdahl said...

Very cool pictures! It's weird, the term "ancient copper mine" doesn't sound like a real thing... But I guess man has been mining for quite some time. Thanks for sharing!