|• ISO 259||Miçpe Ramon|
Neighborhood overlooking Ramon Crater
|Coordinates: 30°36′29″N 34°48′11″E / 30.608°N 34.803°ECoordinates: 30°36′29″N 34°48′11″E / 30.608°N 34.803°E|
|• Type||Local council|
|• Head of Municipality||Roni Marom|
|• Total||62,875 dunams (62.875 km2 or 24.276 sq mi)|
|Elevation||839 m (2,753 ft)|
Mitzpe Ramon (Hebrew: מִצְפֵּה רָמוֹן, lit. Ramon Lookout; Arabic: متسبي رمون) is a town in the Negev desert of southern Israel. The name Ramon comes from the Hebrew "Romai" meaning Romans. It is situated on the northern ridge at an elevation of 860 meters (2,800 feet) overlooking a sizable erosion cirque known as the Ramon Crater. In 2015 it had a population of 4,998.
Mitzpe Ramon was founded in 1951 as a camp for the workers building the road to Eilat. The town's first permanent residents, immigrants from North Africa and Romania, settled there in the 1960s, and it became the southernmost of the Negev's development towns. The previous mayor, Flora Shoshan, sister of former Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz and wife of the former mayor, Sami Shoshan, was voted out on October 23, 2013 and replaced by Roni Marom in a landslide win.
Several young families came from Kibbutz Reim and other parts of Israel around 1956–57. There was an influx of immigrants from Morocco and India in the early 1960s. Conditions in the early years were harsh, with limited food supplies and practically no modern day amenities. Ice blocks and provisions were delivered once a week by a supply truck. There was a single school with one classroom for all ages. The homes of the first settlers were prefabricated asbestos barracks. Later, rows of small attached stone houses were built and after that, apartment buildings, beginning in the early 1960s.
Geology and climate
Mitzpe Ramon's climate borders between hot desert climate and cold desert climate (Köppen climate classification: BWh/BWk), characterized by hot, dry summers and cold winters. There are moderate to strong winds all year long, caused by its location above the crater, which make Mitzpe Ramon feel much colder than it really is. Precipitation is scarce, concentrated around the winter months, with an annual precipitation amount of roughly 70 millimeters (2.75 inches). Snowfall occurs on average once in a couple of years.
The development of Mitzpe Ramon was adversely affected by the opening of Route 90 in the late 1960s. After the inauguration of this highway, traffic to and from Eilat bypassed Mitzpe Ramon almost entirely. However, growing interest in ecotourism, Jeep trekking (access to Nabatean ruins), mountain biking and hiking, and the upgrading of Route 40, which is considered a more scenic route to Eilat, have improved the economy.
Jerusalem Marble, one of a few major suppliers and overseas exporters of Jerusalem stone (established in 1923), inaugurated a new, state-of-the-art factory in Mitzpe Ramon in January 2000. Jerusalem Stone is exported globally by a handful of respected suppliers including companies from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority area who have access to the stone from Mitzpe Ramon quarry.
Mitzpe Ramon has six hotels and dozens of Bed and Breakfast establishments. In 2011, the Isrotel hotel chain opened a luxury hotel, the Beresheet Hotel, in Mitzpe Ramon.
The Tourism Ministry has allocated NIS 9.5 million for infrastructure development in Mitzpe Ramon, and the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee financed the construction of a landing strip for light aircraft. In December 2013, plans were proposed to build a Las Vegas-style Casino in the town.
Music and culture
The Mitzpe Ramon Jazz Club hosts musical ensembles on the weekend. On weekdays, it operates as a music school. The Adama Dance Company, established by Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal, is a troupe based in Mitzpe Ramon. The company opened a complex in the industrial zone that offers classes and workshops, and houses studios and a performance venue. It runs a children's dance school in the town's Spice Route Quarter.
- "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- "Mitzpe Roman". Retrieved 2013-02-25.
- Azoulay, Yuval. "Mitzpeh Ramon's Embattled Mayor Pins Hopes on Interior Ministry". Haaretz. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
- Makhteshim Country, UNESCO
- "Averages and Records for Tel Aviv (Precipitation, Temperature and Records written in the page)". Israel Meteorological Service. Retrieved 1 August 2010.(Hebrew)
- "Extremes for Tel Aviv [Records of February and May]". Israel Meteorological Service. Retrieved 2 August 2015.(Hebrew)
- "Temperature average". Israel Meteorological Service. Retrieved 8 December 2011.(Hebrew)
- "Precipitation average". Retrieved 12 July 2011.(Hebrew)
- Supplying the world with Jerusalem stone
- Israel's Grand Canyon Town Struggles to Shake Off Sand, Haaretz
- Vegas in the Negev?
- The crater good, Haaretz
- Mitzpe Ramon travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Mitzpe Ramon Local Council (Hebrew)
- Mitzpe Ramon High resolution virtual tours of the crater (English)
- Astronomy Israel (English)