Qumran National Park lies at the foot of the vertical cliff of the Judean Desert, rising up from the shores of the Dead Sea. In the 2nd century BCE, Qumran was settled by members of the Essene sect, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Exhibition of archaeological items, and presentation of the history of Qumran: The visit to the site starts with the screening of a film on the history of Qumran. From the hall, visitors continue to a small museum illustrating the way of life at Qumran. The visit then continues along the path to the site itself, following the route of the aqueduct that collected the floodwater from Nachal Qumran.
Visit to the archaeological site: The buildings that have been uncovered at Qumran offer evidence of a communal lifestyle, and the path passes through meeting rooms, a central dining room (refectory) in which ceremonial meals were held, the remains of the kitchen, the watchtower, pottery workshops, and stables.
Particularly notable is the large number of ritual purification pools – a find that is in line with the meticulous approach to purification of the Qumran residents. There is a large concentration of purification pools by the dining room, where the people of Qumran gathered for communal meals.
In the two rooms of the scriptorium, pottery inkwells and a metal inkwell were found, which are particularly exciting because they may have been used by the residents of Qumran to write their texts. Hundreds of pottery lamps were found in these rooms, and by their light the people would write and study even at night.
To the east of the observation deck a cemetery was uncovered. It was built to the east of the settlement, and held some 1,100 graves, mainly of men. Burial was in trenches. The bodies were laid on their backs, arms by their sides, lying north to south.
Guided activity – night-time lamplight tours are held at the site, as well as dramatized tours reconstructing the discovery of the scrolls and the dramatic operation involved in purchasing them.