Ein Gedi is an oasis in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the caves of Qumran.
The name En-gedi is composed of two Hebrew words: ein means spring and gedi means goat-kid. En Gedi thus means “Kid spring.”
The Ein Gedi nature reserve was declared in 1971 and is one of the most important reserves in Israel.
The park is situated on the eastern border of the Judean Desert, on the Dead Sea coast, and covers an area of 14000 dunams.
The elevation of the land ranges from the level of the Dead Sea at 423 meters (1,388 ft) below sea level to the plateau of the Judean Desert at 200 meters above sea level.
The Ein Gedi nature reserve includes two spring-fed streams with flowing water year-round: Nahal David and Nahal Arugot and two other springs, the Shulamit and Ein Gedi springs, also flow in the reserve.
Together, the springs generate approximately three million cubic meters of water per year and much of the water is used for agriculture or is bottled for consumption.
The reserve is a sanctuary for many types of plant, bird and animal species and the vegetation includes plants and trees from the tropical, desert, Mediterranean, and steppian regions, such as Sodom apple, acacia, jujube, and poplar.
The many species of resident birds are supplemented by over 200 additional species during the migration periods in the spring and fall and mammal species include the ibex and the hyrax.
In the summer of 2005, nearly two-thirds of the oasis burned to the ground after a visitor dropped a lit cigarette!
The Ein Gedi national park features several archaeological sites including the Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi and a first century CE village.