The Judean Desert and the Negev: Around Arad, the Dead Sea & Masada

photographs by Nino Shaya Weiss

The lion sleeps in the sun
Its nose is on its paws.
It can kill a man.

(from “Poetry Is a Destructive Force” by Wallace Stevens)

THE eastern edge of the Judean Desert and the northernmost parts of the Negev Desert around the city of Arad and bordering the Dead Sea are most spectacular. Arad is on that border of the Negev and Judean Deserts, nestled in the hills. The city was founded in November 1962 as an Israeli development town, the first planned city in Israel. Nothing is really outstanding about it. Everything is uniformly arid, dry, stony and rocky, as far as the eye can reach.

The human traces in the landscape are lonely signs of civilization: AC units on roofs, utility lines and roads. Masada stands out in the middle – or better, on top – of nowhere. An old dried out mikvah is a remnant of the fight between man and nature for civilization in the middle of the desert. In this hostile landscape, the eye yearns to glean for signs of humanity, burned by the sun and dried by the winds, on the border between human civilization and nature.

 

The desert around Arad, settlements in the distance
The desert around Arad, settlements in the distance

 

The desert around Arad: utility lines
The desert around Arad: utility lines

 

Outskirts of Arad
Outskirts of Arad

 

View through a window on the outskirts of Arad
View through a window on the outskirts of Arad

 

City of Arad and the desert
City of Arad and the desert

 

Desert and AC units on rooftops on the outskirts of Arad
Desert and AC units on rooftops on the outskirts of Arad

 

Desert road near Arad
Desert road near Arad

 

On the road to Arad – utility lines
On the road to Arad – utility lines

 

Utility pole in the desert around Arad 1
Utility pole in the desert around Arad 1

 

Utility pole in the desert around Arad 2
Utility pole in the desert around Arad 2

 

Desert around Arad, (almost) invisible utility line
Desert around Arad, (almost) invisible utility line

 

Utility poles in the desert around Arad
Utility poles in the desert around Arad

 

View from a dirt road on the outskirts of Arad towards the Dead Sea
View from a dirt road on the outskirts of Arad towards the Dead Sea

 

From a dirt road: view of the desert hills around Arad
From a dirt road: view of the desert hills around Arad

 

Bug on a flower on a desert road stone around Arad
Bug on a flower on a desert road stone around Arad

 

Camels on the road from Arad to the Dead Sea
Camels on the road from Arad to the Dead Sea

 

Flag of Israel in Masada with Dead Sea in the background
Flag of Israel in Masada with Dead Sea in the background

 

Rocks around Masada and the Dead Sea
Rocks around Masada and the Dead Sea

 

Mountain cliffs around Masada
Mountain cliffs around Masada

 

View from top of Masada over the hilltops surrounding the Dead Sea
View from top of Masada over the hilltops surrounding the Dead Sea

 

Floor in Masada
Floor in Masada

 

Masada
Masada

 

Stones and rocks around Masada
Stones and rocks around Masada

 

My shadow in a mikvah in Masada
My shadow in a mikvah in Masada

 

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1 Comment

  1. While restarting my website, some of the photography went offline, as it was not pertaining to cooking. But now, as I was asked about their whereabouts, I’ll put them back up, one by one – as a kind of additional background info on me, I guess. I hope you like them.

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