- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater)
Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater) Review
This immense depression is 40 km (25 mi) long, 10 km (6 mi) wide, and at its deepest, measuring 2,400 feet. Because it's a phenomenon known only in this country (there are two others in the Negev), the Hebrew term makhtesh is now accepted usage. By definition, a makhtesh is an erosion valley walled with steep cliffs on all sides and drained by a single watercourse.
You can take a walk (about 1 km, or ½ mi) along the Albert Promenade, which winds east to west along the edge of the crater from the visitor center to the cantilevered observation platform hanging over the rim. This is not the time to forget a camera—the view is overwhelming. The promenade is fashioned from local stone, as is the huge sculpture by Israel Hadani, the back of which faces town and represents the crater's geological layers.
With the crater as a magnificent backdrop, the Desert Sculpture Park exhibits a far-flung collection of 19 huge contemporary stone sculptures. The park took shape in 1962 with the work of a group of prominent Israeli and foreign sculptors under the direction of Negev artist Ezra Orion. Their idea was to add to the natural stone "sculptures" with geometrical rock formations of similar design. The sculptors brought their chosen rocks and formed their desert works of art with minimal hand shaping. Ibex often wander through. Turn off the main road near gas station at sign marked "Ma'ale Noah."
For a look at one of the crater's geological subphenomena, drive into the makhtesh to see the Carpentry, a hill of black prismatic rock that appears to be neatly sawed. A path goes up to a wooden walkway, built to protect nature's artwork from travelers' feet. Long ago, the sandstone was probably hardened and slightly warmed by volcanic steam, and the rocks split into prisms.
- Address: Rte. 40, going south, Mitzpe Ramon, 80600
- Location: Mitzpe Ramon and Makhtesh Ramon
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- Eilat Savings! Book at The Orchid and Eilat Fr $244+/Nt Expedia
- $312 & Up: Le Meridien Eilat 4-Star Hotel in Eilat Expedia
- Special deal: 4-Star Crowne Plaza Eilat Fr $230+/Nt — $230 Expedia
- Save in Eilat: Book 3 Nts in May at Magic Palace Fr $265+/Nt — $265 Expedia
- Book 3 Nts in Eilat this May Fr $183+/Nt — $183 Expedia
Our trip to Israel was the most extraordinary journey that we have ever experienced, and we travel often. Read more
January 2013 - One short week - 3 nights Tel Aviv, 2 in Eilat, 1.5 in Jerusalem.
This was my 7th trip to Israel and I lived there for a year way back in 1998. I've already seen most of the sights, so Read more
We've been to Jerusalem, but missed the Israel Coast. Read more
· News & Features
We're sure your friends' Instagram photos of their puppies are super cute, but Brad Tully's animal snaps ... Read more
From major airline uniform upgrades to tips from the jet set on doing Paris right, this was a very chic... Read more
The curious and daring among you will discover the vibrant, gilded landscape of Istanbul, the city tha... Read more