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Arad: 46km (29 miles) E of Beersheva

The modern desert city of Arad, with a population of 25,000, is not a mirage, but rather a well-planned town located on the site of an ancient Israelite settlement -- a concrete testimonial to the continuity of Jewish history. Arad is a logical place to stay if you're exploring the northern Negev. At 2,000 feet above sea level, the town's ultradry, mold-free climate is especially good for people who suffer from allergies or asthma, and hotels in Arad cater to such visitors.

Modern Arad was founded in 1961 and laid out, Western-style, with broad streets that bake in the Negev's summer sun. Today many believe an inventive city plan more rooted in desert tradition, with narrow, shaded, labyrinthine streets, might have been more successful. Arad's "development town" cityscape may seem bleak, but slowly Aradis have been reshaping the urban planner's 1960s concept of how to create a desert city. The Arad Artist's Quarter is a great example of recycled urban space.