The rise of the Nabateans began around the third or fourth century B.C.E. These traders traveled in caravans from Arabia and made their capital in Petra, in what is now southern Jordan. They eventually controlled trade in perfumes and spices and built numerous fortresses along the branch of the Spice Route cutting across the Machtesh Ramon area.
Part of their success in the harsh desert environment was due to their ingenuity in conserving water. The Nabateans built dams, terraces, cisterns and reservoirs that were very efficient in collecting rainwater and irrigating crops. Elements of this water system survive and can be seen today.
Machtesh Ramon offers plenty of hiking routes and adventures for desert-lovers. There are numerous pathways for both the casual and serious hikers throughout the area. The spectacular views, the exclusive geological phenomena, and the peace and quiet of the desert merge into one harmonious picture of total beauty in Machtesh Ramon. Anyone planning to drive to Eilat should seriously consider routing through the Ramon Machtesh. You will be agape at the beauty that will surround you.