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Ma’aleh Akrabim (Scorpions Ascent)

Ma’aleh Akrabim (Scorpions Ascent – מעלה עקרבים) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful scenic roads in Israel. I just re-visited this old road on my way to Eilat. The serpentine turns are very scary, but are much more interesting than the boring Arava Road. The traffic is one way north to south and a new lookout parking area for a bus has been provided to enable the best view of the famous Lion’s Head Rock (aka Frog’s Head Rock).

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צילום: אילן ארד

This road was paved in 1927 and served as the main transport route between the cities of Be’er Sheva and Eilat, until 1956 when Ma’ale Ha’atzmaut (Independence Ascent) was paved in Mitzpe Ramon. Ma’aleh Akrabim (Scorpions Ascent) is a very steep and winding road, which probably gave it its name (“Akrab” in Arabic means “winding, and in Hebrew “Akrabim” is the plural of “scorpion”).

On March 17, 1954, terrorists attacked an Egged bus returning from the celebration marking 5 years since the liberation of Eilat, and 11 people were killed.”

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