Timna Park Copper Mines
Have you ever looked admiringly at beautiful copper jewelry or utensils and wondered how copper was made? Did you ever wonder where copper came from? At Timna Park, situated 25 km north of Eilat, Israel, site of the world’s first copper mine, are ancient smelting pots and mine shafts that are thousands of years old. Here the ancient Egyptians mined copper for the Pharaohs more than 6,000 years ago. Three thousand years later King Solomon mined copper for ancient Israel and shipped it through the port of Etzion Geber near Eilat. In modern times, the State of Israel mined copper from 1955 to 1976 and 1980 to 2002 when the area was declared a nature reserve and all mining activity ceased.
Timna Park Sandstone Beauty
Timna Park not only opens a window to a fantastic ancient archeological site but is also a place of magnificent desert beauty. Timna’s horseshoe-shaped valley stretches over 60,000 dunams with Mt. Timna at a summit of 453 meters in the middle. There are fascinating rock formations formed by the erosion of sandstone over hundreds of years such as one in a mushroom shape. “Solomon’s Pillars” are the most spectacular, having been formed by erosion that left a series of standing pillars. Near Solomon’s Pillars are the archaeological remains of a temple that was first Egyptian but later Midianite. Many ancient Egyptian and Midian artifacts have been found here, shedding light on these ancient civilizations.
Acacia trees like those used in building the altar for the Temple in Jerusalem flourish here along with other desert vegetation and are an important source of food for many animals. Herds of wild ibex and Dorcas gazelles graze under the acacias. An image found on one of the high sand ridges includes ostriches, supporting the argument that they too roamed this area.
Timna Park Activities
Mined for centuries, the park was created in 1982 and today is host to a variety of fun-filled activities for the entire family. Mountain biking, guided bus tours , pedal boats on Timna Lake, and colored sand bottle crafts are some of the highlights.
Enjoy a delicious light meal at the King Solomon Khan Restaurant sitting on mats and cushions and eating on low tables. Bhop for copper jewelry and other beautiful copper items at the souvenir shop.
One of the outstanding attractions at Timna is a guided tour of the reconstructed tabernacle, the mishkan that G-d commanded the Children of Israel to build for Him. The Tabernacle housed the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai. On each of the 42 stops made in the desert, the mishkan was dismantled and reconstructed.
Timna Park at Night
Timna Park comes alive at night with a spectacular illumination of the giant cliffs using sophisticated lighting techniques and images that cross the mountains, telling the history of Timna. If you want to extend your stay, the overnight campgrounds, by reservation only, have large tents and mattresses or a place to pitch your own tent, hot showers, toilets, a faucet and electric lighting.
Entrance to Timna Park is by vehicle only!
Timna Park: Did You Know?
Copper melts at 1083 degrees centigrade; it is an important component in paint and turns green when it oxidizes.