A makhtesh is a geological landform considered unique to the Negev desert of Israel. A makhtesh has steep walls of resistant rock surrounding a deep closed valley which is usually drained by a single wadi. The valleys have limited vegetation and soil, containing a variety of different colored rocks and diverse fauna and flora. The best known and largest makhtesh is Makhtesh Ramon.
Here, in this single photo, are three plants from the Exodus story, in the very desert were the Israelites wandered: the Burning Bush in the foreground, Manna to the left, and an Acacia Tree, behind.
Here, in the Negev Desert, his geologic dike, a flat body of rock that cuts through another type of rock in the center of the photo, is made of igneous rock formed after magma, the hot, semi-liquid substance that spews from volcanoes, cools and eventually becomes solid.
For hundreds of years beginning in the 3rd century BCE, great camel caravans trekked between the shores of the Arabian Peninsula to the Mediterranean port of Gaza carrying spices and incense. Led by the Nabateans, an ancient Arab culture that grew rich from the trade until it was eventually conquered by the rapidly expanding Roman Empire, the spice route was famous for fueling the desires of the very empire that would eventually destroy it.
Khan Saharonim is the remains of a roadside inn where the travelers would rest and recover from the day’s arduous journey before continuing . The ruins clearly show that this was one of the stops along the spice route where dozens would gather and camp together and regroup before moving forward in an effort to protect themselves from bandits hiding out in the desert.
And the resulting home:
Lotan residents designing a structure.
Kibbutz Lotan is a Reform kibbutz in the Arabah Valley in the Negev desert in southern Israel. It was founded in 1983 by idealistic Israeli and American youths whom together built a profit sharing community based on pluralistic, egalitarian and creative Jewish values while protecting the environment. One of those youths was Karen’s cousin, Alex. No longer a youth, Alex is still committed to sustainable architecture and agriculture.
This is the welcoming chicken of Loton.