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Avdat, Israel: a Journey into the ancient desert oasis

Updated: Jun 1

Ruins of Avdat, Israel

Avdat National Park: Unraveling an Ancient Desert City 

Avdat is an ancient Roman city located in the Negev Desert in Israel. It was founded in the 2nd century BC by the Nabataeans, who founded the lost city of Petra. The "path of Essences" was a strategic stopping point on their commercial routes.

The city was abandoned in the 6th century AD, but its ancient ruins are still well preserved and are one a popular tourist attraction.

A Journey Through Time: Unveiling Avdat's History

Avdat was founded in the 2nd century BC by the Nabateans, an Arab people who controlled trade in the region. The city was initially called Oboda and was an important commercial center for trading spices and other products.

In the 1st century AD, Avdat was conquered by the Romans. The Romans built a series of fortifications in the city, including a theater, a temple, and a public bath. Avdat became an important military center for the Romans and was used to control trade routes in the region.

Despite the dry desert conditions, the locals relied on agriculture and wine production as their primary means of subsistence. Today, several small local wine producers do the same.

In the 6th century AD, Avdat was abandoned. The cause of the city's fall is unclear, but it may have been due to a combination of factors, including earthquakes, droughts, and foreign invasions.

Exploring Avdat's Ruins: A Window to the Past

The theater is the most impressive structure in Avdat. The theater was built in the 1st century AD and could accommodate up to 8,000 people.

The temple is another important building in Avdat. The temple was built in the 2nd century AD and was dedicated to the Nabataean god, Dushara. You can still see the columns and the altar.

The public bath is one of the best-preserved buildings in Avdat. The public bath was built in the 2nd century AD and was used for bathing and massages.

The aqueduct is a structure that supplies water to the city. The aqueduct was built in the 2nd century AD and was 12 kilometers long. Once again, an impressive, ingenious, and complex system of canals and cisterns for collecting, draining, and conserving water.

The houses and shops are an example of Roman architecture in the area.

Be amazed by the agricultural terraces, immerse yourself in the Byzantine & Roman Architecture of the residential caves, Churches, and Temples, and enjoy the spectacular desert views.

Petra x Avdat

Petra and Avdat are both fascinating relics of the Nabataean past. While the ruins of Petra boast the glory carved into their pink facades, the much more humble Avdat reveals everyday life through its well-preserved streets and aqueducts.

Petra, an architectural masterpiece, dazzles with its grand temples and elaborate tombs. Avdat, an ancient living city, tells stories of caravans and trade. If Petra's mysteries are enchanted with their grandeur, Avdat captivates with their authenticity and intimacy.

Both testify to the ingenuity and resilience of the Nabataeans, but each has its own charm and narrative. For the adventurer thirsty for mysteries, Petra is the ideal destination. For the curious in search of everyday stories, Avdat opens its doors to the past.

How to get to Avdat

The drive from Tel Aviv to Avdat takes about 2 hours. The road is well-signposted and easy to follow. Exit towards Eilat via Highway 1

The drive from Jerusalem to Avdat also takes about 2 hours. While you are there, do not miss Eilat with its beaches on the red sea.

Compare rental car prices and book in advance on

Travel tips

When in Avdat, go to Mitzpe Ramon with its unmissable craters. It's 35 km away, and you won't regret it!

Find other activities on TripAdvisor.

Take a jeep tour through the craters of Mitzpe Ramon. Try this one from Viator.

The Beresheet Hotel in Mitzpe Ramon is an excellent and expensive option to stay. The view from the rooms is simply sensational.

If you are more adventurous and prefer a calm and rustic place in the middle of the desert, stay at the Carmey Avdat Desert Estate. Quite an experience!

The chalets at Carmey Avdat Estate are built in a rustic style, with stone and wooden walls. Each chalet has a living room, an equipped kitchen, a bedroom, and a balcony with desert views. The most beautiful sunset I've ever had the opportunity to see!

Carmey Avdat Estate is a family-owned winery. Guests can enjoy a wine tasting and learn about the desert wine production process.

Or, find other hotels in the Negev desert here.


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