Dimona Israel is the third largest city in the Negev with over 33,000 residents and growing. Originally, a development town created under the leadership of David Ben Gurion during the 1950s, this town was initially settled by immigrants from Northern Africa known as the “Black Hebrews”, but now contains many Russian immigrants as well. It is situated south of Beersheba and west of the Dead Sea equidistant about 36 Km. (22 miles).
However, this infamous desert town is most popularly known to the outside world as the location of Israel’s “secret nuclear weapons” facility. Actually there is a Negev Nuclear research center located about 13 km. (8 miles) southeast of the town. The purpose of this facility is assumed to be the manufacture of nuclear weapons although Israel does not confirm or deny this claim. My cousin Avishai was actually stationed there during his military service and refuses to discuss it as well. So, I guess you can draw your own conclusions.
What is there to see and do in Dimona?:
Mamshit, now a National Park and Unesco World Heritage Site, is a Nabatean city historically known as the place where Arabian horses were bred and raised. It is the smallest of the Negev’s Nabatean cities, but many consider it the best restored. It contains uniquely restored architectural elements that you won’t find in any other place. On your visit, you will evidence this first hand due to the restoration of the streets, as well as the terraces, courtyards, and rooms comprised of stone with strong arch ceiling supports.
Don’t Miss: The Nabatean floodwater dam over Mamshit Stream. It is about a one hour hike with great views.
Best Time to Visit Dimona Israel
If you are fortunate enough to be traveling during Passover or Rosh Hashanah, you can attend the fair in Mamshit. All of the ancient shops are reopened exclusively for this one week event. There are vendors selling spices, old coins, hats, copper ware, olives, and various Bedouin crafts. You will also see glass blowers, fortune tellers, and of course palm readers. The event is child friendly with face painting, clowns, and storytelling as well. Be prepared though, It will be crowded as you will find most destinations in Israel during the Chaggim (Jewish holidays).
Overnight lodging is available. You can camp overnight or stay in a family cabin for 5 for about 450 Shekels ($125 at current exchange rates).
Bikor Na’im (Have a nice visit)