Eilat 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, 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.
Eilat`s arid desert climate is moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in summer, and 18 °C (64 °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.
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".
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:
*Birdwatching and ringing station: Eilat is located on the main migration route between Africa and Europe.
*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
*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.
*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.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.
Capra ibex nubiana, a resident of Hai-BarIMAX theatre.
Kings City, a biblical theme park located in the hotel area next to the Stella Maris Lagoon.
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.
"What`s Up" the Observatory in Eilat, a portable Astronomical Observatory with programs in the desert and on the promenade.