A short account of the Judean Desert, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide
The Judean Desert is a geographical region about 85 km (52 mi) long and about 20 km (13 mi) wide, located at the center of the country, between the Judean Mountains and the Dead Sea Valley. It covers a very small area, but is filled with beautiful landscapes, deep canyons and springs, and above all – lots of history.
Jerusalem’s backyard desert
The average amount of rainfall per year in Jerusalem is 550 mm (22 inches). A few kilometers to the east, only 50 mm (2 inches) falls per year. This significant difference is created by the difference in altitudes between Jerusalem and the Judean Mountains’ ridge (800-1,000 m or 2,600-3,300 ft above sea level) and the Dead Sea area (420 m or 1,350 ft below sea level). Rain clouds in the mountains become warmer as they move further down the eastern slopes. As a result, the air becomes drier. The differences in temperature can amount to 10 degrees C (20 degrees F), or more. In the summer, the desert is an extremely hot and dry area.