Monday, March 5, 2018

Eilat, Israel

Eilatאֵילַת, is the southernmost city in Israel.  The earliest settlements in Eilat were established around the 7th century BC but as an Israeli city it was founded in 1951.  Today the city is home to just over 50,000 people.

The city is south of the Negev Desert.  It's on the northern tip of the Red Sea, wedged between Egypt and Jordan.  On a good day you can see Saudi Arabia across the Gulf of Aqaba.

Eilat is a popular beach resort with an average of 360 sunny days each year.

The 1947 UN Partition Plan designated the Eilat area as part of the Jewish state.  The British Umm Al-Rashrash police post was taken in Operation Uvda on 10 March 1949 without a fight.  The 1949 Armistice Agreement formally granted Eilat to Israel.

The Ink Flag sculpture commemorates the capture of the police post during the war.  When the Negev Brigade discovered they didn't have an Israeli flag, soldiers made a flag by drawing ink stripes on a sheet and sewed on a Star of David from a first-aid kit.

The Artists Gallery is dedicated to the work of local artists.

The Eilat Museum is all about the history of the city of Eilat.  It's small but interesting.  But there's not much history wise since around the mid-1990s.

Behind the museum is a big blue pyramid.  It's the former IMAX theatre which is no longer open.

The Coral World Underwater Observatory is the largest public aquarium in Israel.  It was founded in 1974 and it is home to over 800 species.

In 1989, there was a Sculptures for Peace exhibit.  One of the pieces still on display in a city park was by Czech Artist Jan Koblasa.  He was a founding member of the Czechoslovak post-war art scene.  In 1971, he defected from Czechoslovakia and was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison for illegally leaving the country and much of his work was hidden in custody.  He passed away in 2017.

Eilat is a small town but it's a great place to go to just to get away.  It's possible to visit Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.  It's also quite easy to cross in to Jordan to visit Aqaba or tour Petra.  Or you can cross over to Egypt to visit St. Catherine's.

Of course you can also just hang out at the beach which is totally awesome!  You can't beat beat 28℃ (82℉) on the beach, especially when it's -14℃ (7℉) in Europe.  Though I'm not so sure I'd want to visit in the summer when it reaches +40℃ (+104℉).

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