The Bustling Desert Resort of Eilat
Eilat is a bustling desert-resort located on the shores of the Red Sea – Israel’s southernmost town. It is in the intersection of four Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and the two continents of Asia and Africa.
The origin of the name Eilat is debatable. It may have originated from the Hebrew word, ayil, which has a translated meaning of “ram.” This kind of animals fed in the lands of Eilat in Abraham’s time. In the Bible, this was also mentioned. The Israelites “passed by the way of the plain of Elath” and “encamped at Etzion Gaber”. King David was said to have instituted his most important defense line in this city. While King David’s son, the wise King Solomon, also developed the area by building a navy ship-line that brings back gold and exotic spices from Ophir.
Like every other city in Israel, Eilat has many conquerors. During the King Ahaz reign, Eilat fell into the hands of the King of Syria. The Egyptians called Eilat Berenice and the Romans called it Aila. From then on, the city of Eilat changed along with the many hands of the conquerors that held it. Eilat’s importance then gradually declined. This was particularly after the Ottoman Turks created a new port at its neighbor town called Aqaba. It was until 1949 that Eilat was of mere importance as it was just compared to a small Turkish police station – Um-Rashrash. Eilat’s ancient site is where the remains from the Roman, Nabatean, Byzantine and medieval periods have been located.
The Israeli forces occupied Eilat in a military procedure called the “Operation Uvdah” on March 13, 1949 – as the last move in the War of Independence. The United Nations partition plan shows that Eilat was the Jewish state’s southernmost tip. In December 1949, the members of the Kibbutz ha-Me’uhad set up a temporary camp in Eilat. Since the Israeli independence began and the Straits of Tiran opened in the 1956 Sinai war, there was great progress in the town as it has grown into the major resort today.
The Port of Eilat is the only Israeli port on the Red Sea. Its strategic and economic importance is significant to the country of Israel. The Port of Eilat was opened in 1957 and is mainly used for trading with Far East countries today. It allows Israeli shipping to reach the Indian Ocean without making it go through sail through the Suez Canal.
Eilat’s arid desert temperature often exceed 40 °C in summer, and 21 °C in winter. The water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C. All the while, the city’s beaches, nightlife and desert landscapes make it a popular destination for domestic and international tourism.
Tourism In Eliat
In the 1970s, tourism became increasingly important to the city’s economy as other industries shut down or were drastically reduced. Today, tourism is the city of Eilat’s major source of income.
The main tourist destination of the city of Eilat is in the waters of the Red Sea, precisely in a gulf named Aqaba – one of the most talked about underwater treasure. You can see a wide variety of astonishing and brightly colored coral reefs and fish: a venomous lion-fish, moray eel, sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays.
You can still explore the fascinating coral reefs using snorkeling masks. If you really crave for a unique view, an underwater safari using a submarine which holds 50 people and goes up to two-hundred feet underwater is available. And, if you are interested on exploring marine life, there is the Coral World Underwater Observatory which lets you enjoy the wonders of the Sea as if you were inside an aquarium. It offers a kaleidoscopic-view of the reef and sea life 15 feet below the sea level. Another attraction is the Dolphin Reef – where you and your friends can swim and dive with the dolphins.
Eliat’s Main Attractions
Eilat is one, if not the best place in the world for bird watching. Twice a year, billions of birds fly over Eilat on migration passing between Europe and Africa, above gorgeous red mountains and aquamarine crystal waters of the Red Sea Gulf. The migration of these creatures begins during the months of September, October and November. They can be spotted again in the months of March to May when they fly back to their shelters.
There are plenty of land activities in Eilat, including rappelling on rough and uneven cliffs of the desert mountains, hiking in the desert and mountain biking.
Approximately 17 miles north Eliat is where you can find Timma Valley, a desert. This is considered as a National Park in Eliat. This desert is an excellent area for land activities, such as: jeep tours, camel rides and hiking. It is an ancient copper mine spot which is run by King Solomon during his time. The most famous and intriguing spot in the Timmy Valley Park is called “The Mushroom”. When you see the place, you will immediately discover why it was named as that.
The Hai Bar wildlife reserve is also found in the northern part of Eilat. This eight-thousand acre sanctuary is the home of many endangered and rare species of desert animals. You are most welcome to take a tour and see the sanctuary of the undomesticated animals.
If the searing heat has not drained all your energy, Eilat is also known as a great place for night escapades with its numerous line up of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. It’s also the perfect place to shop because the city is a free trade zone with no Value Added Tax on any purchased items.
It is better to discover and explore the all-natural wonders and wonderful attractions found in this area, the enticing beach resorts, the sunny climate and the magnificent crystal sea, consider Eliat an option for your holiday escapade which will make you relax and enjoy the wonders of nature.
How to Get in Eilat
Eilat is, of course, connected to the rest of Israel. It can be reached via airways, roadside and sea journeys. The Eilat Airport is located in the city centre and is used for domestic flights. International flights often use Ovda International Airport, located some 50 kilometers northwest of the city. Eilat has two main roads connecting it with the center of Israel. Egged, the national bus company provides regular service to the northern points on an hourly basis. There are two main border crossings: the Taba Border Crossing to Taba, Egypt and Wadi Araba Crossing to Aqaba, Jordan. The Port of Eilat and Eilat Marina allow travel by sea.