Traveling the ancient Incense Route in the Negev; Abigail Klein Leichman; ISRAEL21c

Israel – Incense Route – Desert Cities in the Negev

The Nabateans traversed the hilly desert by camel, but you can do it by car, jeep or bike and see some spectacular scenery along the way.

Close your eyes and travel back in time 2,000 years. You’re riding the back of a camel laden with frankincense and myrrh from faraway Yemen, navigating 100 kilometers (62 miles) across the harsh, hilly Negev Desert to get your precious cargo to the Mediterranean ports.

For 700 years, from the third century BCE until the second century CE, this was the hazardous but hugely profitable task of the nomadic Nabatean people.

Today, the small Israeli portion of the 2,000-kilometer Incense Route – a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is a fascinating trail filled with beautiful desert vistas and archeological discoveries.

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