Outdoor The Israeli Experience Magazine

Mount Sinai in the Negev

An ancient desert landscape and a sacred and fascinating mountain. Is this the Biblical Mount Sinai? It depends on whom you are asking. But what is certain is that while you are touring the mountain of Karkom ("Mountain of Saffron"), you will be feeling just like Indiana Jones
by: Israel Traveler   |   22.03.2011
Countless research deals with the journey of the Israelites through the desert, with their exact course and with the places and sites which they visited on their way. Mount Karkom joins no less than 23 other mountains in the Middle East that compete among themselves for the prestigious Biblical title of Mount Sinai. Mysterious Mount Karkom, the subject of Professor Emanuel Anati’s research, is one of them. The finds at Mount Karkom and around it are extraordinarily rich for such a dry desert area and they testify to a continuity of human presence in this area through almost every era.
A rare archeological find under any standard, and of course an interesting attraction for visitors, are the more than 43,000 rock engravings and symbols that are found here! These include a great variety of styles. Among them one can find some which depict hunting scenes, armed figures and praying figures, and various animals, such as: mountain goats, camels, dogs, foxes, wolves and ostriches.
The attempt to locate the Biblical Mount Sinai seems na?ve and romantic to many archeologists and Bible researchers and thus a tour of Mount Karkom really turns into a typical Indiana Jones style adventure. But, with all due respect to the sense of adventure, a tour of Mount Karkom demands a good knowledge of the terrain. Of course having a bit of an archeological and historical background and familiarity with the way of life in the desert would not hurt either. It is important to mention that Mount Karkom is located inside an Israeli Defense Forces Fire Zone and in order to enter the area one needs to coordinate with the IDF in advance.
How to arrive: From the North, through road number 40. Turn West on the HaRuhot Junction toward Mount Harif, and from there go South on the West Border Road, road number 10. From the South one can arrive at Mount Karkom through road number 12, which connects between Eilat and Shizafon Junction. Entering West into road number 10 will lead the visitors to the access road to Mount Karkom (a 4x4 vehicle road only).
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