“The Guide to the Traveler in the Southern Judean Desert” gives a glimpse into the world of the
author Dov Ponio, who has set foot in all routes indicated in the guide.
Dov Ponio was born in Hungary and immigrated to Israel in 1949 and fell in love with the Judean
This book aims to open a hatch to a marvelous piece of land like which there are only a few in
the world: the Southern Judean Desert. It is special because teeth of millions of years have
engraved it with tremendous powers and created both an impressive and frightening
presentation. It is special because many peoples wanted to cling to it, came and went, and
their traces are revealed to us as we try to penetrate through the fog of years.
That’s how Dov begins his book. For decades he traveled through every crevice and nook of the
Judean Desert – the familiar and the unfamiliar.
This is the only guide available today with all the information needed for travelers to the Judean
Desert. It includes important information in preparation for, during and after the trip, all the details
about the various routes, trail drawings, photographs and essential information on the area, including
municipal services in Arad.
As a resident of Arad, he initiated with the local residents the “Arad-Judean Desert Connection” group,
which is designed to strengthen the connection between the residents and their historical
environment. The group led tours to various sites at the city’s surrounding, the trails – marked at the
initiative of the community – by the committee for trails marking of The Society for the Protection of
Nature in Israel.
Soon, Arad became Israel’s "capital of marked trails”.
For years, Ponio served as a “Trail Angel” for travelers who walked the Israel National Trial and
arrived in the city. He served as a “human information center" to thousands of travelers who
consulted him on their way to the desert.
This guide is the result of Dov’s efforts and work, and all the income is intended to promote tourism to
Arad and to the Judean Desert.