The South means desert – literally. Negev – the Hebrew name for the country’s southern desert – means “south”. Think of spectacular “lunar” landscapes of granite and sandstone, scorching temperatures, and stream beds with rarely a sign of water. But don’t think lifeless or uninhabited. The Negev is full of life – plants, birds and animals that thrive in this arid region, and humankind too; from the earliest times, man has found his niche in the desert, and has found ways to mold the desert environment.
In the Negev, we can still see traces of the desert “kites” – traps into which neolithic inhabitants of the Negev drove game. We can trace the “spice route”, the caravan roads taken by ancient Nabbatean traders threading their way between the hidden water holes whose whereabouts only they knew. The remains of several major cities from the late Roman and Byzantine periods can be explored. And of course, since the 1940’s, David Ben Gurion’s vision of “making the desert bloom” has been taking shape here.