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En Prat and the Judean Desert

13 December, 201013 December, 2010 1 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

The Prat riverbed flows approximately 28 kilometers across the northern Judean Desert from Jerusalem to Jericho, beginning from approximately 770 meters above sea level to the Jordan River, at 395 meters below sea level. En Prat is the largest of the three most important springs that comprise this stream. The stream flows strongly year round but during the winter months travelers do need to be cautious and should check with the Nature Parks Authority to make sure that there are no flood warnings in the forecast.

Faran Monastery



People have inhabited the areas of the Prat Stream since antiquity. Walking through the riverbed with our family last weekend, we saw remnants of settlements, monasteries and palaces all along the stream, evidence that the area has seenn life for thousands of years. A number of aqueducts can be seen along the stream as well as several still functioning monasteries. The short walk we did took us by the Faran Monastery, a monastery built over Byzantine ruins by the Russian Orthodox Church. Though abandoned in the 1980's, a monk named Anaopheri came there from Belarus and slowly restored the site and now monks have taken up residence once again. Visits to the monastery are permitted by calling ahead at 052-539-9075.


For those hiking during the summer months or just on warm days the stream offers a number of areas where one can go for a dip or even a swim. There are several natural spots along the stream that are ripe for wading and there are also pools that were built by the Britich to hold the water of the small spring that emerges. 

small spring

En Prat offers some of the most fantastic desert scenery in the Holy Land and therefore the riverbed enjoys a prominent reputation amongst hikers. A number of hiking routes are available of which two are quite popular for families and other shorter day trippers like us- the short loop trail to the mastery and the spring (about 30 minutes walking) andthe longer trail of 1.25 km which is highly recommended for the winter and spring. The loop takes you to Tel Fara where you can see an ancient lime pit and a ruin where remains were found from over 6000 years ago. There are Early Bronze Age ruins inlcuding a wall and a cemetary as well as finds from the Byzantine period. The area offers a beautiful view to the east. On the day we were there we saw a shepherd in the distance bringing his flock to graze down along the riverbed. We stood waiting and watching as a few hundred sheep winded their way down the mountainside to join us along the stream.

sheep grazing along the En Prat stream


En Prat is open daily from 8 to 5 pm in the summer and from 8 to 4 pm in the winter. A number of touring routes are available but hikers must begin certain longer routes by 11 am. The office phone is 02-571-5859.


  • By Anonymous 2642 Days Ago
    0 points    
    This a truly amazing area, it is the land of Jeremiah, there are fish in the stream which will nibble your feet and when its hot the dappled shade, cool water and serenity of this place is unforgettable, its a must visit place
    Reply to this comment

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