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  • Luis Constantinovsky

Timna Park


Visiting Timna is like travelling through time, or perhaps more accurate to say it is a journey to another planet. The desert is devoid of vegetation; this fantastic landscape's strange shapes and varied colours create a unique atmosphere and feeling that we step on Mars.

The park has a vast historical and geological richness.

From a bird's eye view, we can see that the park is in the shape of a semicircle. (if you arrive at Eilat by plane, you can confirm this)

As in fairy tales, Timna has a geological sister, the other part of the semicircle, and they, too, as in fairy tales, were separated at birth. This is Pinan in Jordan. Located about 35 km south of the Dead Sea. This separation took place in the process of millions of years in which the Syrian-African Rift caused the two tectonic plates that moved and still moving in opposite directions.

The extensive tectonic activity has exposed rock formations originating 600 million years ago, and on which marine sedimentary rocks were deposited that formed dolomites. The presence of many fossils proves the unimaginable that the entire area was once calm lagoons, which were later entirely flooded by the Tethys Sea that covered our whole region. The Timna Valley is saturated with copper, which originates in different periods. Copper outcrops are found in Timna in three layers: in trending rocks, in dolomite rocks with layers or arteries of copper with manganese, and in white sandstone.

The presence of copper is visible to us and stands out because of its unique turquoise colour resulting from the oxidation process of the copper.

Copper is the one that leads us to leave geology towards the Chalcolithic period (from the word stone in Greek) to the Early Bronze Age, in which man discovers how to create vessels from copper. (Perhaps the period of the history of our ancestors?)

We will tour the park and the Arches site and discover how man produced copper about 7,000 years ago using stone tools. If we look a little further, we will find the gradual change to sharper tools made of metal. We are proud that we are in one of the earliest sites for copper production and the only site in the world where you can see the whole process concentrated in one place only.

We can see how a man wanted to tell his story and left behind paintings depicting his life.

At the Mushroom site, we will be exposed to the masterpiece of the wind and flood; we will see a location for copper production and the remains of a cult site for the goddess Hathor.

We will walk among the cokes, and thus we will recognise where the copper smelting sites were.

We will reach Solomon's Pillars and get to know the story of Nelson Glick, who was convinced that these were King Solomon's Mines, and of Prof. Rotenberg, who, following the presence of the remains of Egyptian civilisation, ruled out this possibility. We will climb to the worship site for Ella Hathor and imagine how workers were held in the area.

We will look down on the breathtaking view, and in observing the Slaves Hill, we may get to know the research of Prof. Erez Ben Yosef, who returns to us the dream of the biblical copper from which the Temple was built. (Or maybe it was constructed by the copper of Timna's twin sister?).

We will reach The Lake , which was created following the site of the copper mining of the 1950s. Here we will not be engaged in copper mines but prepare our souvenir made of coloured sand.

We will take a pause, drink sweet tea, and return happy and admiring all the beauty our eyes have absorbed.

We will walk, have fun and leave behind a clean desert!




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