Between Mitzpe Ramon and Sde Boker: A meeting with the treasures of the Negev

Spring is an ideal time to travel around the country. Many travelers turn the country in search of seasonal blooms, but this season you can also see a different kind of bloom – a bloom of festivals. Now that we are after Pesach and Independence Day, a variety of seasonal festivals are emerging, some old and some new. One of the new ones, which will open right next weekend (May 19-21), is the “Desert from Within” festival, which introduces us to the Negev treasures, the hidden secrets of the desert and the people who chose to settle the area of ​​choice and love for the isolated region.

The festival, which will take place in the desert area between Mitzpe Ramon, Sde Boker and Yeruham, will include markets, workshops on art, energy, astronomy, geology, agriculture and more, urban tours and field trips, meetings with Jewish and Bedouin residents and more.

Among other things, there will be star gazing in the Great Crater and the Cinnamon Cliff, there will be a mounted tour of ancient places of worship, a lantern tour of the ancient city of Avdat, a musical workshop, a desert night tour that combines music and listening to nocturnal animals and an intimate show in the Nabataean cisterns. Market lovers will have the opportunity to jump into the markets of artists and farmers with original produce in Yeruham, Mitzpe Ramon and Sde Boker.

One of the main focal points of the festival is of course Mitzpe Ramon. The southern oasis is located in the Negev Mountains on the edge of the Ramon Crater. Mitzpe, which is known to many as another stop on the way to Eilat, has in recent years become a favorite destination by young people who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the center. The migration of the young people to the observatory made it a particularly interesting tourist destination.

One of the best ways to get to know Mitzpe Ramon and understand its magic is to go on a tour with “Inside Mitzpe” – “hat tours”, which take place on Thursdays and Saturdays. Hat tours are free tours, or actually based on participants’ tips. We are used to seeing tours of this kind in the capitals of Europe, so it is fun to find out that they have also come to Israel and they allow visitors to hear a little about the story of the observatory from its inception to the present day. This charming venture is led by two young people, Eyal Alexander and Shir Amir, mentors who have moved to the observatory in recent years after falling in love with the people and the serenity of the desert.

The tour, which lasts about two hours, allows travelers to enter the small streets of Mitzpe, meet the people connected to the place’s DNA and hear about the small initiatives that pop up every day. Open.Another point is the “cart” – a unique supermarket, which teaches more than anything about the local experience.The author is actually a cooperative of locals.

If you follow the history of Mitzpe, you probably remember the outcry that arose about 20 years ago about the exorbitant prices of basic products. Residents say that until 2010 there was no proper supermarket with reasonably priced products, and although there were many protests, the prices of the products here were significantly higher – until some residents banded together and began to independently bring wholesale products, then set up the “cart” – a super cooperative, Where members pay NIS 250 (one-time) to buy a share. Members are also committed to a two-hour shift a month on the spot, and in return they receive a regular discount on the basket.

Archery (Photo: Meital Sharabi)

The tour also stops at the municipal library. On the face of it, it’s hard to believe this is a point that will interest an independent tourist, but it’s a real gem. The designed library has a book corner for sale at a cost of NIS 5 per book, so that vacationers in the area can have fun jumping in and buying a book to read at the hotel. Besides, there is a large reading room for children with an igloo designed for numbers.

It is impossible to walk in the observatory without knowing the people who do it, so during the tour you also meet Jonathan Frantos, a local circus artist who does acrobalance workshops. Jonathan is another of the young settlers in Mitzpe Ramon. He moved south four years ago to teach circus and perform, and during the week he conducts acrobatics workshops for the whole family. It’s a two-hour sporting experience, in which he says he “teaches people to fly.” The workshop, beyond its experiential nature, touches on the dimensions of safe contact, trust in the other, self-confidence and more. Such a workshop, which is not part of the tour, costs from NIS 450 per couple.

Shir and Eyal - Mitzpe Insight (Photo: Private)Shir and Eyal – Mitzpe Insight (Photo: Private)

Phone details: 050-5931745


The tour usually ends in the Spice Roads district, the cultural center of Mitzpe Ramon where you can find a variety of galleries, cafes, bars and shops. There you can also visit the “Uma” gallery – a gallery, shop and cafe where works by local artists are displayed and sold. In “Uma” you can see a little of the local activities, buy works of art or a set of works, sit and relax, drink coffee and snack.

The gallery is open Sunday-Friday. On Thursdays (16: 00-18: 00) and Fridays (11: 00-13: 00), creative workshops for children are regularly held for NIS 20-65. You can also just buy a creative kit and create with it at home. More activities can be followed on their Facebook page.
Har Boker 5, Mitzpe Ramon.

UMA Gallery (Photo: Private)UMA Gallery (Photo: Private)

Phone details: 054-7408511

If you are not satisfied with art, you should stop at “Backstage” – a picturesque cafe and gallery that is also located in the district. Roni Herman, the owner of the cafe, is a unique video artist. Ronny has a typical predictive story. He came here for a weekend eight years ago, and has since had a hard time leaving. After falling in love with the place and the people, he left Tel Aviv and his successful gallery, and moved his life to the observatory. He runs his cafe with his partner Elian. Roni belongs to the stream of Dedeism, and in the past he was the right hand of the artist Honi HaMa’agal. Today he sculpts and photographs on video, creating an augmented reality. He projects his art on mountains and buildings.

Mount Ardon 8, Mitzpe Ramon. Phone details: 052-8130301

And if you already expect, you can not ignore the individual farms that are at the door. One of the best known is Noam Farm in the desert – a lone farm that is about ten minutes from Mitzpe. The farm is part of a project through the local wine route, and you can find a tourist complex that includes B & Bs, caravans and tents, a summer harvest of plums, grapes and sabers, an intimate boutique winery, which also offers olive oil and jams. There you can also order meals from local chefs, including Almog from “Sky and Food” catering. Almog is a young man who came to the observatory two years ago by chance and fell in love with the place.

In his catering he offers vegetarian / vegan meals that he brings to the area or to any place your heart desires. He also prepares hummus and sushi meals at home, which are visited by tourists and locals who want to enjoy a good atmosphere and delicious food. Apart from food, it also incorporates a unique content experience of astronomical activity in the desert sky. That means you can combine a guided stargazing activity with a fun dinner. Meals with him will cost about NIS 1,500 for 7-12 people.

Catering meal of Catering meal of “Sky and Food” (Photo: Private)

Details: 054-744979 or “Sky and Food” on Facebook.

Another thing you can do at Noam Farm in the Desert: archery with Ben Hadani and Max Zaslavsky from “Bull in the Middle”. Ben and Max are two professional archers who offer an hour and a half workshop during which they teach proper technique of sporty arches. Their workshop is suitable for almost everyone, from age 4 to 104. This is an experiential workshop where everyone learns to use this amazing tool. The beauty of the workshop is that there is no need for prior knowledge, and everyone who participates in it comes out with a rich world of concepts and experiences. The cost of the workshop for up to six participants – NIS 400, each additional person – NIS 70.

Phone details: 054-4370776.

The library, Mitzpe Ramon (Photo: Meital Sharabi)The library, Mitzpe Ramon (Photo: Meital Sharabi)

Each workshop, activity or tour of the “Desert from Within” festival will last up to three hours, and most activities will cost NIS 30 for an adult and NIS 15 for a child.
Details and registration for “Talking from Within” Activities:

www.desertfromwithin.org

For details and to register for the inside tours, look forward to: 054-4502483.


Source: Maariv.co.il – תיירות by www.maariv.co.il.

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