Hazeva – חצבה
This oasis, located in the Arabah valley, receives its waters from Ein (the spring of) Hazeva. Its frontier location, situated on the crossroads of major ancient routes, was a perfect place for a fortress and inn. archaeological Excavations have reconstructed a number of fortresses and installations dated to the Israelite Kingdom, Nabatean, Roman and Early Arab periods. The site is identified as Biblical Tamar and Roman Tamara.
Hazeva was one of the stations on the road from Petra, thru Ma’ale Akrabbim to Mamshit, and from there to the ports of the Mediterranean Sea and to the center and north of Israel. The Incense & Spice route connected the east (Yemen and Oman), through Arabia, via the Nabatean capital city Petra, to the port city of Gaza on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. This road, with a total length of 2,400 km, passed through harsh desert areas. It was used by the Nabateans, from the 4th C BC until the 2nd C AD to export the incense and spices from southern Arabia and the Far east to the Classic world of Greece and Rome.
This site appears on the Peutinger map (based on a 4th C Roman military road map) as “Thamara” (marked by a red square) as a station on the road from Jerusalem to Eilat.
Tamara is illustrated as an icon on the 6th C Madaba mosaic map, which was found on the floor of a Byzantine Church in Jordan. Above the icon is the Greek word “θΑΜΑΡΑ” (Thamara). The icon shows the two corner towers and the wall and gate between them. Note that an alternative site for Thamara is the Tamar fortress, located on the road from Sodom to Beersheba.
Peace Observation Point
You can see what a quiet border is when you go to Mitzpeh Hashalom, the Peace Observation Point, which is located on the outskirts of Moshav Hazeva, across the border from Jordan, where some of the Israeli greenhouses can be found. The well-kept observation point was established by a group of lovers of Israel from Australia, and demonstrates the lives of those who have chosen to live in the Arava. Large areas of chalky soil surround the area, and they shine from afar on nights when the moon is full. In the chalky soil are natural walking paths where you can hike during the day or at night, with flashlights.
Another good trail is Derech Hashalom, the Peace Trail, 15 miles long. It passes along the border between Israel and Jordan, and on the nature reserve you’ll find the Jewish National Fund’s Hazeva reservoir. The rain waters collected in the reservoir are used to water the fields of Moshav Hazeva. Mitzpeh Hashalom and the nature reserve are open during the day and night, and entrance is free.
Shizaf Nature Reserve
Take the morning tour for groups or families with children at the Shizaf Nature Reserve near Moshav Hazeva, and you’ll hear the singing of birds. The tour includes watching and feeding the Arabian Babblers. These beautiful birds live permanently on the nature reserve, and you can see them up close with the assistance of ornithologists or guides from the Hazeva Field School.
The long-tailed birds arise at dawn and gather on the branches of the trees, and they’re prepared to approach human beings as long as they’re given bread cubes or worms. On a good day you can see their leader sitting on the treetop giving warning chirps with 30 different sounds if danger approaches in the form of a fox, a snake, or a crow.
Hazeva Field School
The Hazeva Field School is a gem in the desert located at the very heart of the Middle Arava regional council. Known for its warm hospitality and quaint environment, the field school provides a rustic haven for any traveler- young and old. Hazeva is located on the main road 90, just 1.5 hours north of Eilat and 1.5 hours south of Beer Sheva and is easy to access both by private car and public transportation.
The Hazeva field school offers a wide variety of tours in the surrounding areas. The guides are friendly, impressively knowledgeable, and offer experiences you will not soon forget. All guides are either professional guides, academics or student researchers pursuing advanced degrees and have been approved by the Israel Ministry of Education, and are experts in leading tours and hikes through the Arava, the Negev and the Judean deserts, as well as the mountains of Eilat. The guided tours are specifically suited to groups. Guided tours are also available for school trips, long hikes, family tours and ecological camps.
Tours in the Shizaf Nature Reserve and Hazeva Field School: Entrance fee charged. Tel.: 972-8-658-1546.
There are many legends concerning Ir Ovot, located some 600 yards west of the Ein Hazeva junction. There is a destroyed spring and an ancient site that in the past was called Ein Husub (the Spring of Plenty). The fact that the spring served in the past as a source of water south of the Dead Sea made it very important in the ancient period. The Biblical Tamar is identified with this place, as is Tadmor, built by King Solomon.
Excavations conducted on the site unearthed three fortresses that existed in the period of the kingdoms. On the ruins of the fortresses were built Nabatean way stations with small temples. A small Roman fortress tower was also discovered here next to a bath house. In the time of the British Mandate in Palestine the Ein Husub police station, captured by the IDF in 1948, was located here. Groups of Messianic Jews live here in trailers.
Ir Ovot: Entrance to the site is free.
The Crocoloco Crocodile Farm at the Ein Hatzeva Junction in the Arava is a unique desert farm for growing African Nile crocodiles, which combines both agriculture and tourism. The farm was established in 2006, and raises crocodiles which will be exported to Europe. The farm also serves as one of the region’s central tourist attractions – See more at: http://www.ica-is.org.il/en/projects/crocoloco-ltd#sthash.cFXP5bOs.dpuf
View Larger Map