Yours truly. Perhaps the ashes of the Parah Adumah are behind me. But we are not allowed to approach the caves.
Back in the gift shop, they're selling books about the Temple (shown in the photo above.) I found the scene a bit amusing. The shop is run by a bunch of surly Hamas-looking Arab guys, selling books about the Jewish temple to Korean Christian tourists.
Because of the similarities of the Essene behavior and attitudes towards those of early Christians, it is believed that the group of Jews who eventually founded Christianity were very closely related to those who settled Qumron. It has now become a site of pilgrimage for Christians seeking to explore the roots of their faith. And to go for touristy camle rides.
The site itself is quite well-preserved.
Rain over the Dead Sea. This site only happens maybe once a year. This is normally one of the hottest spots on Earth. As well as the lowest.
The tower (really, more of a big pile of rocks now,) is believed to be from the Hasmonean period (the dynasty which took power after the Maccabean Revolt.) The rest of the village was likely built around it two centuries later by the Essenes.
The mountains of Moav (biblical neighbor and enemy of the Jews,) today in Jordan.
The cave in which many of the most importand scrolls were discovered.
Snow? Nope, evaporated salt piles left behind by the receeding Dead Sea.
Yours truly, in front of the Dead Sea.