The archaeological excavations at Qumran is a highlight for the visitor with an interest in history. The more than two millennia old settlement unearthed there contains remnants of ritual baths necessary for a Jewish life style, communal living facilities like dining rooms, common work areas, artefacts of glass and roman coins. The excavations are very well kept and of high quality, and guided tours are given. There is an interesting movie on site and for those seeking more adventure, the park offers excellent hiking trails up to the caves.
Qumran is the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls displayed at the Shrine of the Book were found in 1947 by a shepherd boy. The caves of the finds are visible from the archaeological site which is open to visitors. The nature of the historical settlement at the site is greatly disputed among archaeologists and the suggestions range from the more traditional perception of an Essene settlement to a Hasmonean fortress. What is agreed upon is that the site was abandoned at the time of the fall of the Second Temple in year 70 and hasn’t been occupied since.
Qumran is about 45 min drive from Jerusalem and has good facilities for visitors. Guided tours are given in several languages upon request. Beware of very high outside temperatures during summer. Partly accessible to wheelchairs.
There is a restaurant and visitor center on site.
Other nearby sites include Kalia Beach (at the Dead Sea), Qasr el Yahud, Jericho, Ein Gedi and Masada