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Qumran was an ancient city dating back to the Hellenistic period. Archeologists believe the area was built around 134-104 BCE, during John Hyrcanus’s rule. The entire area was later destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE.

Today the area serves as an archaeological park. It is located about 25 kilometers from Jerusalem, situated extremely close to the Dead Sea. Qumran is perhaps best known as the location where almost 900 scrolls were discovered, in 11 different caves, by archeologists in 1946. Referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls, these scrolls were written between 200 BC and 68 CE, making them the oldest bible in the world. Due to the site’s proximity to Jerusalem, archeologists question whether the scrolls originated in the Temple in Jerusalem and were brought here; or if they were written on site.  Today the scrolls can be viewed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Some of the other interesting findings at the site include silver and bronze coins, pottery and cisterns. Walking around the archeological park, one will see the remains from what might have been a dining room or assembly room, a room some believe was for writing scrolls, a tower, ritual baths and cemeteries. And of course there is a phenomenal view of the Dead Sea.