Eshkol Park situated along the Besor River and springs. The wading pools become the most popular and refreshing spots in the park in the summer. All year, you can ride a bike in the park, but spring is the most beautiful time to do it. There is a fortress from the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, a Byzantine reservoir, and an English railroad. When spring bloom, the park becomes the most beautiful place in the western part of the Negev desert.
Eshkol National Park is a green pearl in the heart of the Negev desert. Numerous sources create small pleasant pools where you can splash around. A large area is designed for overnight in the tents. The park is gorgeous in winter. The bicycle tracks here are the most beautiful.
A small but very convenient car parking is In this part of the park. It is close to pools and toilets as well as to the picnic tables.
Sources along the lower reaches of the Bsor River were known in antiquity. Numerous sources together supply about 60 cubic meters of water per hour. At the beginning of the twentieth century, British troops equipped the main concrete pool to collect spring water. The National Parks Office created modern swimming pools.
Water allowed people to create a settlement. During the Bronze Age, about five thousand years ago, the Egyptians built an inn here. It was made of unbaked brick, which was produced on the lime banks of the Bsor River. The Ministry of Antiquities restored the walls using ancient technologies.
The hill as an elevated place located near the springs was an ideal place for the development of the settlement. Indeed there was a Canaanite settlement, but the Egyptians turned it into their outpost. Apparently, the Egyptians set their northern border in these places.
The Besor River is one of the longest rivers of the Negev desert. Its length is about eighty kilometers. The lower part of the river passes through the Gaza Strip and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. In these places, the river spills and irrigates vast territories. Fruit trees were grown here.
During World War I, British troops captured Beer Sheva. As a trophy, they got a new railway station, which was built by the Turks and Germans. The British decided to connect Beer Sheva and Rafah by rail.
A railway bridge was constructed over the Besor River. Partially this bridge has been preserved. Two bicycle tracks diverge at this location. If you come to the park with the aim of cycling, you can confidently approach to this starting position.
It is amazing how in the desert, in the presence of water, vegetation abounds. A salad of rocket and calendula leaves is right under your feet.
A short bicycle route goes to the left, and a more extended way goes down to the riverbed and goes beyond the park.
The name of the plant in English sounds like a star of Bethlehem. This name is due to its six petals like the rays of the star. In Hebrew, its name is a direct translation from Greek. Bird's milk - this is the name of this plant in ancient Greece.
Winter rains wash ravines in the sandy soil. By several signs, you can understand what is happening in nature. Anthills are already open after winter. The "grand opening" means that spring is coming.
Vast territories of the park are cultivated. Low mounds in shallow areas retain winter water and allow tree roots to grow and hold soil. The National Israeli Land Fund has greened the desert with the support of foreign sponsors. The project in the park was implemented with the help of South Africa.
Plantaginaceae is a whole plant family. But it is also a dynasty of English kings of French origin. The most famous of them was Richard the Lionheart. His heart was embalmed. Among the herbs used for embalming was plantain.
The park has a vast and pretty equipped camping place. It is a convenient place to set a camp in for traveling in the surrounding area for a few days.
The campsite is equipped with toilets and showers, large tents and picnic tables. Camping should be vacated until ten in the morning.
Bicycle trails pass in the park in the most picturesque places. At the bottom of the hill is lush vegetation. Among the trees, it is easy to recognize the blackthorn bush, thanks to its thorns.
During the reign of the Byzantine Empire, rural life concentrated in the Negev desert. Farmers have often developed farms near monasteries and churches. Large farms spread in vast areas. This deep tank was used for the storage of water. Water was brought from sources at the bottom of the hill.
At the top of this hill once stood a church. Nothing remained of it, and flourishing agriculture was utterly destroyed at the end of the Byzantine period. The human presence returned to this hill during the First World War when the Turkish army organized an observation post here. To this day, this observation deck is one of the most beautiful in the area.