Solomon's Pillars (Timna)


Solomon's Pillars are natural geological formations named after the biblical king. They are located in Timna valley, 20 miles north of the Gulf of Aqaba (or Gulf of Eilat) of the Red Sea. This area is called Arabah and it is known for a wide variety of distinctive landscapes. Please see a typical view of Timna valley on the left. Click here to see a Timna valley map.

Timna is considered the place the first mines on Earth. These were copper mines developed by Egyptians about six thousand years ago. It is also believed to be the place of copper mining under King Solomon. And due to this belief, the name 'King Solomon's Mines' is often associated with Timna. That is how, in my understanding, the name of Solomon got connected to the pillars as well.

The fame of King Solomon's Mines was boosted by H. Rider Haggard's novel titled the same: 'King Solomon's Mines'. This novel has nothing to do with Timna. Its setting is in Africa, far south from Timna. Nevertheless ... King Solomon's Mines has been my favorite adventure fiction since teenager years. That is actually why I decided to make this page.

Instead of presumed biblical ties, Solomon's Pillars apparently have an Egyptian connection. An inscription nearby depicts pharaoh Ramses III offering gifts to goddess Hathor. Also, a goddess Hathor temple was built by Egyptians next to Solomon's Pillars.

Most of the rocks in Timna valley consist of sandstone. Sandstone is a base material for unique geological formations in Timna like Solomon's Pillars. Erosion of sandstone caused by wind and rain results in peculiar forms. On the right, you can see one of the most interesting examples of this erosion. It is called, of course, 'Mushroom'. As far as Solomon's Pillars are concerned, water eroded sandstone through cracks in the rocks to separate the rocks into distinct pillars.


      Solomon's Pillars photos      

Click on the photos to see them full size.

As for background, here are a few links to web sites devoted to Timna:
Timna Valley
Timna: Valley of the Ancient Copper Mines
Timna Park
Har Timna

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Copyright (c) 2005 Alexander Sakharov