Southern Jordan Valley (Bikat HaYarden/ Aravot HaYarden)
The Jordan Valley is part of the Great African Rift that stretches about 70 km. between the Bezek Riverbed in the north (south of Bet Shean) to the Dead Sea in the south, between the foothills of the Samarian Hills and the Judean Hills to the west, to the Hills of Gilead, land of Amon and Moab in the east. The valley divides into two parts: the northern part, which accounts for about one third of the length of the valley, stretches to where the Yabuk Stream meets the Jordan River, and the Sartaba tributary on the opposite side. At this point the Jordan Valley is mostly only about five kilometers wide. The southern part widens towards the south until it reaches a width of 52 kilometers near the Jericho Plains. The terrain gently slopes down from 275 meters below sea level in the north to 400 meters below sea level in the south. The plain that comprises the basis of the Jordan valley is called the kikar in Hebrew and or in Arabic. The Jordan Valley has cut into the marlstone plain to create a narrow valley of between 500 meters and 1,500 meters wide and is several dozen meters lower than the kikar. This valley is called Gaon Hayarden (zor in Arabic).
In the winter and early spring the Jordan Valley is a celebration of nature. The air is fresh and the whole region is a festival of contrasting colors, from the blue of the sky, to the brown and green mountains, and the low lying areas checkered with the red buttercups, yellow chrysanthemums and purple lupins. There are strong, bright colors everywhere while white egrets hover in the air, and hoopoes, swallows and sparrows squat on the electricity cables, and from to time spread their wings and set off in group glides in a celestial formation dance. This pastoral scene fronts a rich life that began in ancient times.
**see http://www.jordanvalley.org.il/?categoryId=38842 for more information
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