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Eilat
Eilat2.jpg
View of Eilat
Coat of arms of Eilat.png
Emblem of Eilat
Eilat is located in Israel
Eilat
District South
Government City (from 1959)
Hebrew About this sound אֵילַת
Arabic ايلات = قرية أم الرشراش المصرية
Population 65,000[1] (2007)
Area 84,789 dunams (84.789 km2; 32.737 sq mi)
Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi
Founded in 1951
Coordinates 29°33′N 34°57′E / 29.55°N 34.95°E / 29.55; 34.95Coordinates: 29°33′N 34°57′E / 29.55°N 34.95°E / 29.55; 34.95

Eilat (Hebrew: אֵילַתAbout this sound (audio) ) is Israel's southernmost city, a busy port as well as a popular resort, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Eilat. Home to 65,000 people,[2] the city is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arava. The city is adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba to the south, the Jordanian port city of Aqaba to the east, and within sight of Saudi Arabia to the south-east, across the gulf.

The city was built in the 1952 At the site known as "Um al-Rashrash" or " [Umm Rashrash [3]]" [4] [5] [6], which was an Egyptian village under Furman draw borders with Palestine in 1906, occupied by Israeli force -led by Yitzhak Rabin-, in a barbarian military operation known as " Aovida " in the March 10, 1949, where an Egyptian force of 350 soldiers and officers from Egyptian border guards were stationed in "Um al-Rashrash", and were killed and buried in a collective mass grave discovered in 2008 [7].

Eilat's arid desert climate is moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in summer, and 21 °C (70 °F) in winter, while water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C (68 and 79 °F). The city's beaches, nightlife and desert landscapes make it a popular destination for domestic and international tourism.

Contents

Archaeology and history

Despite harsh conditions, the region supported large populations as far back as 8,000 BCE.

North Beach

Beginning in 1861 ancient sites have been recorded throughout the region, but to date only around 7% of the area has undergone a detailed archaeological survey with around 1500 ancient sites recorded in a 1,200-square-kilometre (460 sq mi) area. In contrast to the gaps found in settlement periods in the neighbouring Negev Highlands and Sinai, these sites show continuous settlement for the past 10,000 years.

The geology and landscape are varied: igneous and metamorphic rocks, sandstone and limestone; mountains up to 892 metres (2,930 ft) above sea level; broad valleys such as the Arava, and seashore on the Gulf of Aqaba. With an annual average rainfall of 28 millimetres (1.1 in) and summer temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) and higher, water resources and vegetation are limited.

"The main elements that influenced the region's history were the copper resources and other minerals, the ancient international roads that crossed the area, and its geopolitical and strategic position. These resulted in a settlement density that defies the environmental conditions."[8]

Early settlement

The original settlement was probably Eilat[9] at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba.[10]

Archaeological excavations uncovered impressive prehistoric tombs dating to the 7th millennium BCE at the western edge of Eilat, while nearby copper workings and mining operations at Timna Valley are the oldest on earth. Ancient Egyptian records also document the extensive and lucrative mining operations and trade across the Red Sea with Egypt starting as early as the Fourth dynasty of Egypt.

Eilat is mentioned in antiquity as a major trading partner with Elim, Thebes' Red Sea Port, as early as the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt.[11] Trade between Elim and Eilat furnished Frankincense and Myrrh, brought up from Ethiopia and Punt; Bitumen and Natron, from the Dead Sea; finely woven Linen, from Byblos; and copper amulets, from Timnah; all mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.

In antiquity Eilat bordered the states of Edom, Midian and the tribal territory of the Rephidim, the indigenous inhabitants of the Sinai.

Biblical references

Eilat is first mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Exodus in the stations. The first six stations of the Exodus are in Egypt. The 7th is the crossing of the Red Sea and The 9th-13th are in and around Eilat after they have left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. Station 12 refers to a dozen campsites in and around Timna in Modern Israel near Eilat.

When King David conquered Edom, which up to then had been a common border of Edom and Midian, he took over Eilat, the border city shared by them as well. The commercial port city and copper based industrial center were maintained by Egypt until reportedly rebuilt by Solomon at a location known as Ezion-Geber (I Kings 9:26).

In 2 Kings 14:21-22: "And all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept among his fathers." And again in 2 Kings 16:6: "At that time Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath to Aram, and drove the Jews from Elath; and the Edomites came to Elath, and dwelt there, unto this day".

Roman and Muslim periods

A glimpse of blue waters from the Darb el Hajj - today Ovda - approach to Eilat

During the Roman period a road was built to link the area with the Nabataean city of Petra (modern-day Jordan). The remains of a large copper smelting and trading community which flourished during the Ummayad Period (700-900 CE) were also found between what is now Eilat's industrial zone and nearby Kibbutz Eilot.

The Darb el Hajj or "Pilgrim's Road", from Africa through Egypt to Mecca, passed out of Sinai from the west at Eilat before skirting the sea and continuing south into Arabia.

Modern settlement

The area of Eilat was designated as part of the Jewish state in the 1947 UN Partition Plan. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War an old Ottoman police station, called Umm Rashrash in Arabic, was taken without a fight on March 10, 1949 as part of Operation Uvda, in which both the Negev and Golani Brigades participated. (Only one of Umm Rashrash 's mud-brick buildings remains standing, in a tiny park.) Having forgotten to bring an Israeli flag with them, the Negev Brigade soldiers improvised and raised the "Ink Flag" in order to claim for Israel the area upon which Eilat would be constructed. The Timna Copper Mines[12] near Timna valley were opened, a port was constructed, the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline laid, and tourists began visiting.

Eilat Skyline

The Port of Eilat became vital to the fledgling country's development. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War Arab countries maintained a state of hostility with Israel, blocking all land routes; Israel's access to and trade with the rest of the world was by air and sea alone. Further, Egypt denied passage through the Suez Canal to Israeli-registered ships or to any ship carrying cargo to or from Israeli ports. This made Eilat and its sea port crucial to Israel's communications, commerce and trade with Africa and Asia, and for oil imports. Without recourse to a port on the Red Sea Israel would have been unable to develop its diplomatic, cultural and trade ties beyond the Mediterranean basin and Europe. This happened in 1956 and again in 1967, when Egypt's closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping effectively blockaded the port of Eilat. In 1956, this led to Israel's participation alongside the U.K. and France in the war against Egypt sparked by the Suez Crisis, while in 1967 it was cited by Israel as an additional casus belli leading to the outbreak of the Six-Day War.

Open borders

Following peace treaties signed with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, Eilat's borders with its neighbors were finally opened. In 2007, over 200 Sudanese refugees from Egypt who arrived in Israel illegally on foot were given work and allowed to stay in Eilat.[13][14][15] Eilat's population includes a large number of foreign workers, estimated at over 10,000, working as caregivers, hotel workers and in the construction trades.

Eilat as seen from Aqaba, Jordan, across the gulf.

Transportation

Eilat is connected to the rest of Israel and internationally by air, road and sea.

Eilat has two main roads connecting it with the center of Israel.

The Port of Eilat and Eilat Marina allow travel by sea.

Near-term plans also call for a rail link to substantially decrease travel times from Eilat to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, via the existing line at Beer Sheba; planning is underway.

Economy

In the 1970s tourism became increasingly important to the city's economy as other industries shut down or were drastically reduced. Today tourism is the city's major source of income, although Eilat became a free trade zone in 1985.[18]

Tourism

Coral World Underwater Observatory.

Eilat offers a wide range of accommodations - from hostels to luxury hotels - as well as many unique attractions and recreational options within a 50 kilometer (31 mile) radius.

  • Bedouin hospitality.
  • Birdwatching and ringing station: Eilat is located on the main migration route between Africa and Europe.
  • Camel tours.
  • Coral Beach Nature Reserve, an underwater marine reserve of tropical marine flora and fauna.
  • Coral World Underwater Observatory - allows visitors to view marine life in its own habitat. The park, located at the southern tip of Coral Beach, has aquaria, a museum, simulation rides, and shark, turtle and stingray tanks.[19]
  • Diving: Skin and SCUBA diving, with equipment for hire on or near all major beaches. Scuba diving equipment rental and compressed air are available from a number of diving clubs and schools open all year round.
  • Dolphin Reef, offering visitors an opportunity to swim and interact with dolphins, is also a marine biology and research station.[20]
  • Freefall parachuting.
  • Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve, established in the 1960s to conserve endangered species, including Biblical animals, from this and similar regions. The reserve has a Visitors Center, care and treatment enclosures, and large open area where desert animals are acclimated before re-introduction into the wild. Hai-Bar efforts have successfully re-introduced the Asian Wild Ass, or Onager, into the Negev.[21] The Hai-Bar Nature Reserve and animal re-introduction program were described in Bill Clark's book "High Hills and Wild Goats: Life Among the Animals of the Hai-Bar Wildlife Refuge". The book also describes life in Eilat and the surrounding area.[21]
Capra ibex nubiana, a resident of Hai-Bar
  • IMAX theatre.
  • Kings City, a biblical theme park located in the hotel area next to the Stella Maris Lagoon.[22]
  • Marina with some 250 yacht berths.
  • Timna Valley Park - the oldest copper mines in the world. Egyptian temple of Hathor, King Solomon's Pillars sandstone formation, ancient pit mines and rock art.[23]
  • "What's Up" the Observatory in Eilat, a portable Astronomical Observatory with programs in the desert and on the promenade.[24]

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Eilat is twinned with:

Eilat has streets named after Durban, Kamen, Kampen and Los Angeles as well as a Canada Park. Several Maple trees also grow in various parts of the city.

An Eilat beach with Aqaba, Jordan across the Red Sea, against the backdrop of the Edomite Mountains.

Climate

Weather data for Eilat
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) 20.8
(69.4)
22.1
(71.8)
25.5
(77.9)
31.1
(88.0)
35.4
(95.7)
38.7
(101.7)
40.1
(103.8)
39.8
(103.6)
37.3
(99.1)
33.0
(91.4)
27.2
(81.0)
22.3
(72.1)
Average low °C (°F) 9.6
(49.3)
10.6
(51.1)
13.6
(56.5)
17.8
(64.0)
21.5
(70.7)
24.2
(75.6)
25.9
(78.6)
26.2
(74.7)
24.5
(79.2)
21.0
(69.8)
15.5
(59.9)
11.2
(52.2)
Precipitation mm (inches) 3.5
(0.14)
5.8
(0.23)
3.7
(0.15)
1.7
(0.07)
1.0
(0.04)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
3.5
(0.14)
3.5
(0.14)
6.0
(0.24)
Source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics[30][31]

Gallery

See also

Trivia

  • Folksinger Pete Seeger recorded The Road to Eilat in Hebrew ("Hey Daroma" - היי דרומה).

References

  1. ^ "Tribute to Englishman who put Eilat on map | The Jewish Chronicle". Thejc.com. http://www.thejc.com/articles/tribute-englishman-who-put-eilat-map. Retrieved 2009-06-16.  
  2. ^ "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008-06-30. http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2009/table3.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-18.  
  3. ^ http://www.eyeonisrael.com/ummrashrash.html
  4. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/78601.stm
  5. ^ http://www.eilat-guide.com/history.html
  6. ^ http://www.alarabiya.net/views/2009/06/08/75270.html
  7. ^ http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/01/06/43866.html
  8. ^ Avner, U. 2008. Eilat Region. In, A. Stern (ed.). The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavation in the Holy Land, Volume 5 (Supplementary). Jerusalem. 1704-1711.
  9. ^ Nelson Glueck(1959). Rivers in the Desert. HUC. ISBN
  10. ^ Dr. Muhammed Abdul Nayeem, (1990). Prehistory and Protohistory of the Arabian Peninsula. Hyderabad. ISBN.
  11. ^ Michael Rice(1990). Egypt's Making. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-06454-6.
  12. ^ "Timna Copper Mines homepage". http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:sGkh__5q9ncJ:www.timna.co.il/+%22timmna+copper+mines%22&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=il.  
  13. ^ Jonathan Saul, Elana Ringler for Reuters (2007). "Sudanese refugees in Israel face uncertainty". Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/06/01/enemy_sudanese_refugees_in_israel_face_uncertainty/. Retrieved October 29, 2007.  
  14. ^ Joshua Mitnick (2006). "Sudan's "Genocide" Lands at Israel's Door". The Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0602/p04s01-wome.html. Retrieved October 29, 2007.  
  15. ^ Neta Sela (2007). "Israel must reject Darfur refugees, rabbi says". Ynet News - Jewish World. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3401140,00.html. Retrieved October 29, 2007.  
  16. ^ Israel Airports Authority (2007). "Eilat Airport". Israel Airports Authority. http://www.iaa.gov.il/Rashat/en-US/Airports/Eilat. Retrieved November 16, 2007.  
  17. ^ Israel Airports Authority (2007). "Ovda Airport". Israel Airports Authority. http://www.iaa.gov.il/Rashat/en-US/Airports/Ovda. Retrieved November 16, 2007.  
  18. ^ Maltz, Judy (1989-01-12). "Eilat turns to industry to complement tourism trade". The Jerusalem Post. p. 9. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/99154829.html?dids=99154829:99154829&FMT=ABS. Retrieved 2007-10-30.  
  19. ^ Coral World (2005). "The Underwater Observatory Marine Park, Eilat". Coral World. http://www.coralworld.com/eilat/eng/. Retrieved November 16, 2007.  
  20. ^ The Dolphin Reef Eilat (2007). "The Freedom To Choose". The Dolphin Reef Eilat. http://www.dolphinreef.co.il/Default.aspx?tabid=1. Retrieved October 29, 2007.  
  21. ^ a b The Red Sea Desert (2007). "Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve". The Red Sea Desert. http://redseadesert.com/html/060haibar.html. Retrieved November 16, 2007.  
  22. ^ Kings City (2007). "Kings City, Eilat". Kings City. http://www.kingscity.co.il/en/index.asp. Retrieved November 16, 2007.  
  23. ^ BiblePlaces.com (2007). "Timna Valley". BiblePlaces.com. http://www.bibleplaces.com/timnavalley.htm. Retrieved November 16, 2007.  
  24. ^ "What's Up" Observatory in Eilat
  25. ^ a b c d e "Eilat Sister Cities". Israel-Times.com. 2007-11-07. http://www.israel-times.com/business/2007/11/israel-coral-beach-scuba-diving-in-eilat-3271/. Retrieved 2007-12-16.  
  26. ^ "What we do: Humanitarian Aid". Israel MFA. http://mashav.mfa.gov.il/mfm/web/main/document.asp?SubjectID=43850&MissionID=16210&LanguageID=0&StatusID=0&DocumentID=-1. Retrieved 2007-12-16.  
  27. ^ "Facts about Durban". 2003-09-07. http://www.fad.co.za/Diary/diary007/diary007.asp. Retrieved 2007-12-16.  
  28. ^ "Municipal Smolyan". http://www.smolyan.com/index_en.aspx?v=1. Retrieved 2007-12-16.  
  29. ^ "Weiterführende Informationen: Städtepartnerschaften". Israel MFA. http://berlin.mfa.gov.il/mfm/web/main/document.asp?SubjectID=9030&MissionID=88&LanguageID=190&StatusID=0&DocumentID=-1. Retrieved 2007-12-16.  
  30. ^ Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. "Monthly Average of Daily Maximum and Minimum Temperature" (PDF). Statistical Abstract of Israel 2006. Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. http://www1.cbs.gov.il/shnaton57/st01_03x.pdf.  
  31. ^ Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. "Precipitation" (PDF). Statistical Abstract of Israel 2006. Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. http://www1.cbs.gov.il/shnaton57/st01_04.pdf.  

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Israel : Eilat

Eilat (d0;d9;dc;ea;, aka Elat) is an oddity in Israel, because it has so many tourists and relatively few Israelis. Located at the southern-most tip of the country, within its small "window on the Red Sea", Eilat is first and foremost a resort town these days, devoted to sun, fun, diving, partying and desert-based activities. 320 km (200 miles) away from the tension often felt in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, Eilat is a convenient escape for Israelis on vacation, but during the mild winter months also attracts thousands of European sun-seekers.

Understand

Eilat (pop 55,000) is the southernmost town in Israel, isolated from the rest of the country by the Negev desert. It is sprawled along 7 kilometers of Red Sea coastline, between the borders of Egypt and Jordan, and offers spectacular views of the Gulf of Aqaba. Originally a strategic military outpost, Eilat's first incarnation was as a port, used for importing goods from Asia, such as oil and vehicles. In the 1970s, tourists began visiting Eilat. They were attracted by the coral reefs, sandy beaches, and the dry and sunny desert climate. The town began to develop, and tourism has become its main industry.

Orientation

Today, the 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) North Beach area is full of hotels with opulent names like Herod's Palace and Queen of Sheba. The Tayelet promenade extends the length of the beach front and hosts numerous stalls, street artists, restaurants, and fashionable shops. The promenade has great views of the bay, and each evening it is full of strolling tourists. The southern beach, which has coral reefs, is protected by the Israel Nature Reserve Authority. It has many public beaches and excellent scuba diving centers. The Navy and commercial ports lie between the south and north beaches.

Get in

By plane

Eilat Airport (ETH) is right in the middle of the city. Flights to Tel Aviv are frequent and take only 50 minutes, but expect to pay around NIS 250 for a one-way trip. However, tourists can arrive in Eilat on charter flights via the Ovda International Airport (VDA), also known as Uvda, 65 km (40 miles) and nearly a 50 min drive from town.

A cheaper way to get from Europe directly to Eilat is via the nearby Taba International Airport in Egypt. Charter flights to Taba are operated by several airlines, e.g. the German "Condor" (on Wednesdays from/to all major German airports). Taxis from Taba airport to the Israeli border station at the Hilton hotel run for max. 150 Egyptian pounds (40 min), from there a taxi to Eilat is around 25-30 NIS (10 min). Or take local bus 15 (6 NIS). Border crossing normally takes less than 30 min. On arrival at the airport insist on Egyptian "Sinai only" visa, otherwise you're charged 15 USD visa tax. Note that Egypt charges 75 LE tax when leaving Taba coming from Eilat.

By bus

All buses in Eilat leave from the Central Bus Station on HaTemarim Boulevard.

Egged express buses drive from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (444) to Eilat hourly, the trip takes around 5 hours and costs NIS 70 one way (60 for students) or 120 NIS for a return ticket.

Local bus 15 shuttles from the bus station both to the Jordanian border at Arava, for connecting to Aqaba, and also the Egyptian border at Taba, from where you can continue on south into Sinai. There is at least one bus a day heading from Taba bus station to Sharm-El-Sheikh via Nuweiba and Dahab (Dahab 22 LE).

By car

There are a couple of ways to drive from Tel Aviv to Eilat. One is via Mitzpe Ramon. Another nice alternative is from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea via Arad, stay a couple of days there or just make a short stop and then continue to Eilat. It takes approx 5 hours from Tel Aviv.

Get around

Central Eilat can be covered on foot, although during the summer the scorching temperatures make walking around unpleasant. A limited bus system serves the suburbs, and taxis prowl the streets looking for fares. Insist on the meter or at least agree on the fare in advanace, as Eilat's taxis are famously mercenary.

Parrotfish among coral at Coral Beach
Parrotfish among coral at Coral Beach

The main beach is in the North beach, and many of the major hotels are situated here. The south beach area (Coral Beach) is protected by the Israel Nature Reserve authority, but recent years have seen a decline in the marine life and reef quality. More serious divers head south to the Egyptian Sinai coast to Dahab or Sharm el-Sheikh, to experience better diving conditions.

  • Coral Beach - is the best place for scuba diving and located here are some of the best dive clubs in Israel offering technical diving courses, rebreather, nitrox, tri-mix etc.. The whole coastal area is protected by the nature reserve authority and divers are expected to follow regulations. The south beach is a great place for snorkeling, windsurfing and kite-surfing plus it has fantastic views over the bay.
  • Underwater Observatory. - One of Eilat's most popular attractions is a good way to view the Red Sea marine life without getting wet. It's white tower (Eilat's most famous landmark) offers great views above water and goes below the surface where the marine life is seen. In the marine parks aquariums are sharks, sting rays and turtles, plus lots of multi colored Red Sea fish. The huge glass windows allow visitors to get a great view the tanks occupants. The Oceanarium simulator is also a lot of fun for kids - a little scary for the smaller ones though. All in all it's a nice family morning out.
  • Dolphin Reef - [1], South Beach (3 km south of town towards the Egyptian border), tel +972-8-637-1846. Entry fee: 42/28 NIS adults/children. Not just a tourist trap, the staff actually work to rehabilitate dolphins for life in the open sea - from whence they came. However in the past, the occasional release of the dolphins into the bay resulted in the immediate consumption of many of the nearby coral reef's inhabitants. The dolphin release project is since on hold. Various paid options are available for interacting with the dolphins, starting with snorkeling with the dolphins at NIS 227. It's a very nice beach with lots of small pools and rich shrubbery. It has a fantastic spa (relaxation pools) and is well worth a visit. For those who want to get up-close to a dolphin book your swim or dive as early in the morning as you can. The dolphins get weary of visitors as the day goes on. Piers leading out onto the water allow everyone to get as near to the dolphins - as the dolphins want.
  • "What's Up" The Observatory in Eilat [2], "What's Up" The Observatory in Eilat has begun a new show. With the addition of a special camera we can show you the deep sky as well as the moon and planets on a computer screen rather then through the eyepiece of the telescope. We can now collect photons in a way the eye could never do and see the wonders of the sky in living color. Watch the image build as the light is collected and hear tales about the personalities of the heavens as well as scientific explanation of what is going on up there. "What's Up" is suitable for all ages as well as being accessible to the handicapped although there are no toilet facilities at the site.
  • Kings City in Eilat [3] is a biblical theme park in Eilat, which has been inaugurated in June 2006. Built over a 40,000 square feet area on three levels, the park resembles a king's palace. The palace has four sections: Journey to the Past, Cave of Illusions and Wisdom, Bible Cave and King salomon Falls.
  • The Negev desert surrounds Eilat and its scenic Eilat Mountains Nature Reserve has some of the most spectacular desert routes in Israel. Trails include ancient trading routes and the Great Rift Valley. Desert Hiking, 4x4 jeep tours and camel treks are major attractions in this area of the Negev desert.
  • Every summer, the Red City music festival is held in Eilat (sponsored by 99 ESC radio station.) This beach festival is held on the beach and consists of consecutive days of all night performances (Hip-Hop, rock and especially trance)
  • Red Sea Jazz Festival This annual event takes place in the last week of August and Jazz musicians from all over the world come to Eilat, for a week of fun, sun and lots of Jazz.

Learn

The Ginsburg-Ingerman Overseas Student Program [4] of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev [5] offers short-term academic programs at the Eilat campus. The programs focus on Hebrew language, Marine Biology and Gastronomy.

Eat

The main promenade is packed with stylish restaurants catering to tourists and locals alike, offering some of Israel's finest cuisine prepared by Israel's master chefs. Mainly owned by the major hotel chains. The vast variety of restaurant's understandably come at a price, but they don't get as pricey as the restaurants of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

  • The Underground Pub (New Tourist Centre, corner of Derech Yotam and Derech Mitsrayim) is an Eilat institution, offering cheap beer and basic pub grub at the lowest prices in town. Sadly this excellant pub is closing down for good on 30th November. A real loss for all those in Eilat.
  • For Eilat's cheap yet excellent falafel, check out the falafel joint just across the street from the bus station at the International Birdwatching Centre, on HaTemarim Boulevard.
  • Pago Pago floating restaurant [6]is an attraction in itself. The restaurant is strictly non-kosher, serving great sushi, sea-food and fantastic steaks. Not just good food but a nice relaxing evening bobbing on the waters of the marina. It's well moored so no chance of drifting off. The restaurant is a little pricey, but no more than other restaurants and you definitely get far more for your money. If you only spoil yourself with one good restaurant during your visit to Eilat, Pago Pago is definitely the restaurant to go to.
  • Pedro's Restaurant, for an excellent steak, the hang-out restaurant of Eilat's diving instructors, you'll have to get a cab because it's nowhere near the tourist haunts. Well worth the effort if you are steak lover... or if you consider yourself an honorary local, either way, it's hard to tell what's tastier, the restaurant's meat or the punters..
  • Ginger Restaurant, [7] restaurant and bar. The who's who of Eilat are found in Ginger, its the new 'IN' location for Eilat's elite. Not nearly as expensive as it is exclusive, its good spot for dining if you don't mind seeing your picture in the local Eilat gossip pages.
  • Barbis, [8] American Foods Restaurant, is a great burger place in the middle of the tourist center. Prices are cheap and the burgers are tasty and huge.
  • The Unplugged bar[9] is a good option. If you're looking for a place with stuck-up people, barbie doll bartenders, or tough-looking bouncers, look somewhere else, because Unplugged is nothing like it. The drink selection is somewhat limited, but still fairly good. The music ranges from American pop to Israeli trance, and they play songs in both Hebrew and English. You have the option of either sitting at the bar, chilling on a big couch, or dancing with the friendly locals. This place is often crowded, even on a Monday night.

Sleep

Budget

The hillside around the Central Bus Station is home to many hostels which are popular with backpackers. You can find some real gems hidden among them but be prepared to take some time checking them out.

  • Youth Hostel, Derech Ha'arava 7, 08-6370088, [10]. Not at all expensive yet very clean and nice place to stay. One can book entire room or bed basis as per the need. The cafeteria servs very good breakfast as well in the morning. Dorms: ? Private rooms $66.  edit
  • Cactus B&B, Yelim Eilat, +972 (0) 54 5948139, [11]. A new & nice place to stay, off the beaten track, very colorful & cozy. €65 - 85.  edit
  • [Holiday Inn] - Express Beat Eilat, Tel: +972-3-5390808, [12]. Located on the city's north side (opposite the Crowne Plaza), ten minutes away from the beach and the shopping center.
  • [Holiday Inn] AFI Patio Eilat, Tel: +972-3-5390808, [13]. Guestrooms, some with balconies facing the pool. Family-friendly. 15-20 min walk to the beach.
  • Club Hotel Eilat, (Eilat), *6090, [14]. Eilat Club Hotel is the largest suites hotel across the Middle East and the only hotel across Israel designed and built under the inspiration of the sea.  edit
  • Club Inn Eilat, *6090, [15]. Eilat Club Inn Hotel is a resort located in a wadi over looking a breathtaking desert view.  edit

Splurge

Eilat's North Beach is positively packed with luxury hotels, but in season rates can be as high as US$200 per night.

  • Crowne Plaza Eilat, Tel: +972-8-6367777, [16]. Family-friendly hotel on the Promenade, featuring the Freckles Club for kids.
  • Dan Eilat, Tel: +972-3-5202552, Fax: +972-3-5480111, [17]. Central beach front hotel with a great pool area.
  • Herods Palace Hotel, North Beach. checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 11 am. Formerly but no longer run by Sheraton, Herods offers a "near Las Vegas" experience, with staff in togas wandering around a pompously decorated palace. Service isn't quite up to scratch though, although the (separately charged) Vitalis spa is excellent by any standard.  edit
  • Le Meridien Eilat, North Beach, tel. +972-8-6383333, [18]. Le Meridien offers a wide range of suites featuring various luxury levels. The hotel features 245 luxurious suites designed and built to unusually high standards.
  • Yotvata Kibbutz [19] specializes in fruit cultivation and dairy farming. It supplies much of the milk and several varieties of fresh fruit and packaged goods to the Negev / Eilat region under its logo of a setting sun with two linked palm trees. They also take in traveling volunteers and have a Hebrew school for foreigners.
  • In Israel itself, Jerusalem, Masada and the Dead Sea are a few hours away by bus, and can be easily visited in a day or two on organized tours.
  • South of Eilat is the border crossing to Taba Egypt, where the Taba Hilton and nearby Taba Heights beach resorts are situated. Here begins the Egyptian Sinai peninsula where St. Catherine's Monastery and Mount Sinai are located.
  • Within walking distance of Eilat's North Beach is Israel's border with Jordan. A short drive away is the Rabin border crossing to the adjacent Jordanian town of Aqaba, Jordan's largest port and tourist resort. Further inland is the ancient Jordanian city of Petra.
  • To get to the Egyptian border take a taxi (35 NIS) from Eilat to the border, or take bus line 15 (6 NIS) and walk across. On the Egyptian side there is a minibus station as well as further along a full bus station. Note the border can take between 20 min to 2 hours. You will need to pay an exit fee when leaving Israel (94.50NIS - Apr 09) and if travelling further south than Taba another fee (75EGP - Apr 09) at the checkpoint south of the border. If you plan to continue further than the Sinai, deeper into Egypt (Cairo) then you need to apply for a visa in the Egyptian consul in Eilat. It takes aprox. 20 min for European and American tourists, and costs 100 NIS. Remember to bring a passport photo with you to the embassy - it is required for the visa, and the embassy has no photo-taking facilities. If you don't have a passport photo handy, you can take one on the 2nd floor of the shopping mall right at the corner of the Eilat beach. If you are on an organised tour, some tour companies can arrange the visa on the day of the tour at the border.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Simple English

File:PikiWiki Israel 8126 underwater observatory in
Entrance to the underwater observatory in Eilat

Eilat is a city in the most southern part of Israel. 65,000 people live in Eilat (as of 2007).

Eilat is at the southern end of the Negev Desert and the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea. It is an important port for Israel. Ships bring many products to Israel from the Far East and other places here.

Many tourists from Israel and other countries visit Eilat to enjoy the desert views, beaches and all-year warm weather. The temperature is often more than 40 °C (104 °F) in summer and 21 °C (70 °F) in winter. The sea water is between 20 and 26 °C (68 and 79 °F). Coral reefs grow in the sea near Eilat and people can see them by scuba diving or from an underwater observatory.

Other websites

Eilat Municipality - Official Website (English)








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