Timna is part of the Tentative list of Israel in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Timna Valley is located on the edge of the Negev Desert in southern Israel and is an example of an ancient industrial site. In the valley are remains of numerous ancient copper mines and smelting furnaces from different periods, the oldest dating back to the 5th century BCE. These Egyptian mines are the oldest metal mines in the world. The most impressive rock formation in Timna National Park are the so-called Solomon's Pillars, formed by natural erosion.
Map of TimnaLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
I visited Timna Park back in May 2018, a few days after all the flash floods in the Negev. The park is a little detour when driving north from Eilat, so it was naturally the first stop in the morning. In the visitor center, you must pay the entrance fee, and you may also watch the film, but if you have a guide as we did, you shouldn't need it. A vehicle is definitely needed to reach the various points of interest within the park. The road winds through Timna Valley, surrounded by tall volcanic hills and littered with countless interesting rock formations (mushrooms, Solomon's Pillars, and all). At the end of the valley is a small manmade lake beside another visitor center.
Now this may not all sound like much. Timna is a beautiful desert landscape, formed by the interaction between sandstone and volcanic rock, and erosional forces. We even sighted a herd of Nubian Ibex. It's a wonderful place of nature, but is it unique? No, not even in the region, as wilder and more beautiful landscapes with intact ecosystems can be found in neighboring Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula. In terms of beauty and vastness, Timna doesn't hold a candle to Wadi Rum. This is why my opinion is that the site doesn't have natural OUV. Then why am I still giving it the thumbs up?
A 10 minute detour from the main valley is the Arches, one of many natural highlights in the park, and they tower majestically over my eyes. But it isn't what's above me that's important, but below me. The ground, though still the usual brown, yellow, or red sand and small pebbles, it's strangely a shade of green. This is a copper deposit, and it's one of the earliest ones to be exploited by humans. The Ancient Egyptians mined copper ore here 7000 years ago! I heard one can still walk a bit further to the mined tunnels, but the green ground and the vertical shafts all around us were a wonder enough. Back at the Mushroom, there was even an ancient copper smelting center found, although not much is left. And although we did not visit the following, Timna Park is also home to many petroglyphs like Wadi Rum, and the Egyptian Shrine of Hathor was excavated near the Solomon's pillars.
This is a landscape of great history as one of the first and most important metallurgical sites in the world. It shows its story as a crossroads of different ancient civilizations through the remaining few structures and rock art. Cultural OUV is very clearly present throughout the landscape. At the end of the day, this is one of the most significant sites on the early development of civilization, and being set in a beautiful natural landscape doesn't hurt it.
Timna is a marvellous geological park beautifully set in the Negev desert. It also shows the remains of an ancient copper mine, of the oldest of its sort in the world. If you happen to sunbathe in Eilat this is certainly a nice day tour. It could also fill a gap of Ancient Egyptian sites, non-European technological properties and desert landscapes.
2000 Added to Tentative List
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