Reproduced from "Getting Israel Together", 1986, © The Jewish Agency/WZO
During the period from the 4th century BCE to the 2nd century CE an empire was established in the Negev by a group of former nomads known as Nabateans. In their early stage, the Nabateans were shepherds, caravaneers and bandits. Later, however, they settled down in cities which stretched across the Negev and into Jordan, where they established the city of Petra.
One of their cities was Avdat, named for the Nabatean king who battled with Herod, in the 1st century BCE. In addition to serving as a caravan station along the spice route to southern Arabia, Avdat was an agricultural center - for the Nabateans developed techniques for farming the desert without the presence of local springs or rain! By channeling the water of flash floods and collecting soil, these former nomads managed to produce extensive crops in the barren wastes.
Ein AvdatEin means spring and Ein Avdat is a beautiful spring located in between the city of Avdat and Sede Boker. It is a beautiful, steep waterfall where one can find ibex at morning and evening hours.