Ein Radian, also known as Ein Adian, is an archaeological site near Kibbutz Yotvata, about a half-hour drive from Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat.

 

Ein Radian is located in the Arava region, a long, narrow valley in Israel’s desert zone that has few water resources and an arid climate. Thus, it initially seems surprising that settlements and farms were established here alongside fortresses and throughout various kingdoms. In the ancient times, the Arava region was a stopover on the main route to the Holy Land (from the Spice Route to the Derb el Haj Route) and was located at the boundary for the empires. It explains why this area has always been a major settlement throughout the history. Ein Radian was founded by the Nabateans more than two millennia ago after they had discovered a water source in the area and built a temple here. On this site, archaeologists have also found an Egyptian fortress that dates from the 19th and 20th dynasties and the fortress was built to defend this unique oasis. Under the Roman occupation of Palestine, the site served as a stopover and its fortress, which was part of the Limes Arabicus fortress, acted as the border of Roman Empire from the fourth to the sixth century.

 

There was additional proof of the importance of the site revealed in 1988 when a major water pipe broke in the region. The water flowing from the pipe exposed a tablet from the reign of Emperor Diocletian (4th century) that bears the Latin inscription “For perpetual peace – Diocletian Augustus and Maximian Augustus and Constantius and Maximanius.” Some scholars believe that the site was dedicated to Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt who in Greek mythology, is the goddess, Artemis. It is possible that Radian is a distortion of Diana. There was also a relatively new structure built atop of the site that is mentioned by Lawrence of Arabia and which, following the British conquest of Palestine, served the Imperial Camel Corps.

 

An early water source helped the young settlers who established near this site at Kibbutz Yotvata in late October 1951. The kibbutz was initially a Nahal outpost, that is, an outpost of the Nahal (acronym for Fighting Pioneer Youth) Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces. In 1957, the outpost became a civilian kibbutz. In the area where the kibbutz is located, you can find considerable evidence attesting to copper mining that was carried out there even in ancient times, and the adjacent Timna Park, which contains copper mines, provides further evidence that copper was once mined there.

 

Kibbutz Yotvata is famous primarily for its dairy products. From the very beginning, the members of this kibbutz raised cows and manufactured dairy products. Now, their dairy products can be found throughout Israel, and the kibbutz’s restaurant, located along the highway leading to Eilat, has become a favourite stop for those travelling in this area. In addition to the dairy products, Kibbutz Yotvata is well known for the Yotvata Hot Air Balloon Festival, which has been held annually during the intermediate days of the autumn Festival of Sukkot since 2007.