En Prat Nature Reserve
Meet En Prat Nature Reserve
En Prat is a spring of gushing water, rising in a spectacularly beautiful desert canyon. In addition to the flowing stream and natural pools.
Points of interest
- En Prat
- Faran Monastery
- Climbing and rappelling cliff
- Tamar Pool
- Picnic area
- Hurvat Alamit
- Hiking routes
The spring flows into a natural rock pool, and its output (around 1500 m³ a day) creates a brook that flows all year round. In ancient times, the spring was an important source of water for Jericho. In Hasmonean times an aqueduct carried water from the spring, over which an aqueduct was built in the Early Moslem period. To the east of the spring the remains of aqueducts from the Byzantine period were found, and also the ruins of a flour mill.
In 1927 the British began to pump water from the spring to supply the needs of the residents of East Jerusalem. In 1970, the whole of Jerusalem was connected to the national water system, and pumping was stopped. The remains of the Mandate-era pumping station and pipes can still be seen within the nature reserve. In the past, the pool was used for irrigation, and today it is a bathing pool for the enjoyment of visitors to the site.
A visit to the monastery offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the monks of the Judean Desert during the Byzantine period. This is the first of the monasteries in the Judean Desert, and its founder, the monk Hariton, also built two others. Hariton was born in Iconium (today Konya, in Turkey), a town in Asia Minor. At the beginning of the fourth century CE he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem as a result of religious persecution. According to Christian tradition, he was captured by robbers and imprisoned in a cave near En Prat. The monastery was founded in 330 CE. Its monks secluded themselves in niches, meeting only on Saturdays and Sundays to pray together in the church – a type of monastery that is called a laura.
In 614 CE the Persians conquered the Land of Israel, and executed the monks of the Judean desert monasteries, including those of Faran Monastery. Later the Russian Church, representative of Greek Orthodoxy, took the monastery under its patronage, and at the end of the 19th century new buildings were built over the foundations of the Byzantine structure, but at the beginning of the 20th century the monastery was abandoned. At the beginning of the 21st century the monk Oleg came from the White Church in Hebron and began to restore the place. Today, the cave in which, according to the tradition, Hariton was imprisoned is a chapel decorated with icons.
Hariton’s tomb is in a small cave in the heart of the monastery courtyard. Sharp-eyed visitors may spot the remains of the early structure surrounding the site of the tomb. The tomb was apparently in the church crypt, as was the custom in Byzantine churches.
The cave in which the main prayer hall is located today (and other places in the stream) served as a hiding place in which the Jews hid from the Romans during the Great Revolt, long before the Byzantine period.
Visitors to the monastery must wear modest clothing – covered shoulders, and long (below the knee) trousers or skirt. The monk receives visitors graciously, by prior arrangement only. Telephone number for making arrangements: 052-5399075.
Climbing and rappelling cliff
The cliff on the northern bank of the stream, near En Prat, may be used for rappelling. The Nature and Parks Authority has prepared grip rings, but rappelling is permitted only with a qualified guide and following all the precautionary rules.
A small spring rises on the northern bank, into a 2.5 m deep concrete pool. A date palm (Tamar) grows alongside the pool, from which it gets its name. The pool is beside a black trail. The trail ascends from the parking lot in the shade of eucalyptus trees to Hurvat En Prat (hirbet En Fara).
Hurvat Alamit lies slightly to the west of the junction of Road 437 and the access road to Almon. In the ruins, the remains of an Iron Age (early Israelite period) settlement were found. The site has been identified with the Levite town of Almon (Joshua 21:18), and buildings, underground spaces, and a concealment system from the period of the Bar Kochba revolt have also been found. At the foot of the mound, near the road to the village of Hizma, is the tomb of Sheikh Abed al-Salam, sometimes used as a site for prayer by residents of the area.
En Prat Nature ReserveUseful Information
Reserve entrance closes one hour before cited closing timeSummer hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 17:00 - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 16:00 - 08:00 Winter hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 16:00 - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 15:00 - 08:00 Holiday eves: 13:00 - 08:00 Yom Kippur eve: 13:00 - 08:00
- Paved parking
- shaded picnic area on a paved area
- the stream is accessible via a dirt trail with no stairs
- concrete observation deck
We recommend that people with mobility impairments visit with a companion.
year-round flowing spring, special animals, an active monastery
From Jerusalem’s French Hill intersection, take the road to Pisgat Ze’ev. Pass the Hizmeh checkpoint and continue east on road 437 to Almon (Anatot). Enter the community, turn immediately south onto an unpaved road for about 500 m, which turns into a paved road. Caution: drive slowly, the road has many turns.
|Adult in group||₪ 23.00|
|Child in group||₪ 14.00|
|Israeli senior citizen||₪ 15.00|