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Rappelling in Wadi Qelt
Nahal Prat stream

Wadi Qelt (Arabic: وادي القلط‎‎; also: Wadi al-Qult, Wadi el-Qult, Wadi Kelt, Wadi Qilt or Wadi Qult), also Nahal Prat (Hebrew: נחל פרת‎), is a valley or stream (Arabic: وادي‎wādī, "wadi"; Hebrew: נחל‎‎, "nahal") in the West Bank, originating near Jerusalem and running into the Jordan River near Jericho, near the Dead Sea.

Wadi Qelt is home to a unique variety of flora and fauna. St. George's Monastery and the Wadi Qelt Synagogue are located in the Wadi, which has been identified with the biblical Perath mentioned in Jeremiah 13:5.[1]



Ancient historyEdit

Wadi Qelt contains monasteries and old Christian locations. Several aqueducts have been found along the stream, the oldest dating to the Hasmonean period (2nd century BC).[2] The aqueducts transported water from three main springs in the valley to Jericho.[3] It was home to the winter palaces of Hasmonean kings and Herod the Great.[4] The Wadi Qelt Synagogue, built as part of the Hasmonean royal winter palace, is believed to be one of the oldest synagogues in the world.[5][6]

Qubur Bani Isra'in are huge stone structures which rise from a rocky plateau overlooking Wadi Qelt.[7]

The Monastery of Saint George was founded by John of Thebes around 480 AD, and it became an important spiritual centre in the sixth century under Saint George of Choziba. Hermits living in caves in nearby cliffs would meet in the monastery for a weekly mass and communal meal.[8]

Modern timesEdit

The area was occupied by Israel in 1967, and hence parts of the wadi were declared the Ein Prat Nature Reserve.[9]

Wadi Qelt is a popular route for Palestinian and Israeli hikers. It is possible to hike all the way from the town of Hizma to Jericho, a journey of 25 kilometres and an 850m descent.[10] The wadi is used by many Bedouin shepherds.

On December 20, 1968, Israeli lieutenant-Colonel Zvi Ofer (Tzvika Ofer), commander of the elite Haruv unit, former Military Governor of Nablus and recipient of the Israeli medal of valour, was killed in action in Wadi Qelt while pursuing Arab militants who had crossed the Jordan.[11]

Today, both Israelis and Palestinians use the land in harmony. This area has been a land of peace for all people in the region for more than 20 years. Palestinians are generally able to visit the land from Nablus, Ramallah and Jerusalem without having to pass through checkpoints.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Wadi Qilt". 
  2. ^ "En Prat Nature Reserve". 
  3. ^ Gruber, Angela (3 April 2015). "In the occupied West Bank, even hiking is political". +972 mag. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Jericho - The Winter Palace of King Herod - Jewish Virtual Library". 
  5. ^ Oldest Synagogue Found in Israel, March 29, 1998. Associated Press
  6. ^ Israel's Oldest Synagogue, Archaeology, Volume 51 Number 4, July/August 1998, Spencer P.M. Harrington
  7. ^ "The Tombs of the Children of Israel". 
  8. ^ Palestine & Palestinians. Beit Sahour: Alternative Tourism Group. September 2008. p. 181. ISBN 9950-319-01-3. 
  9. ^ "En Prat Nature Reserve". 
  10. ^ Szepesi, Stefan (2012). Walking Palestine: 25 Journeys Into The West Bank. Oxford: Signal. p. 201. ISBN 978-1-908493-61-3. 
  11. ^ Teveth, Shabtai (1969/1970) The Cursed Blessing. The story of Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Weidenfield & Nicolson. SBN 297 00150 7. Translated from Hebrew by Myra Bank. Page 347.

External linksEdit