Ein Gedi, literally meaning “spring of the kid” is an oasis and a nature reserve in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves. In 2016, Ein Gedi was listed as one of the most popular nature sites in the country and attracts about one million visitors a year.
Ein Gedi nature reserve was declared in 1971 and is one of the most important reserves in Israel. The park is situated on the eastern border of the Judean Desert, on the Dead Sea coast, and covers an area of 3,500 acres.
The elevation of the land ranges from the level of the Dead Sea at 423 meters below sea level to the plateau of the Judean Desert at 200 meters above sea level. Ein Gedi nature reserve includes two spring-fed streams with flowing water year-round: Nahal David and Nahal Arugot. Two other springs, the Shulamit and Ein Gedi springs, also flow in the reserve. Together, the springs generate approximately three million cubic meters of water per year. Much of the water is used for agriculture or is bottled for consumption.
The reserve is a sanctuary for many types of plant, bird and animal species. The vegetation includes plants and trees from the tropical, desert, Mediterranean, and steppian regions, such as Sodom apple, acacia, jujube, and poplar. The park's sites also include an ancient synagogue and botanical gardens.