A landmark of modern Israel, the Israel Museum is located in Jerusalem’s Givat Ram neighborhood, along with Hebrew University, the National Library, and the Parliament (Knesset) and Supreme Court buildings.
The Shrine of the Book is but one wing of the Israel Museum, opened in 1965 to house the Dead Sea Scrolls, fragments of religious writings discovered in caves overlooking the Dead Sea near the settlement of Qumran. It’s generally accepted that the scrolls were collected by the Essenes, or a similar Jewish sect, which had a community living at Qumran. The fragments are written on parchment and papyrus in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and date from the 3rd-century BCE to the 1st-century CE. The writings include copies of Biblical as well as extracanonical texts.
Local Bedouins found the first cache in 1947. Eventually, eleven caves would yield pieces of some 800 ancient manuscripts, the last found in 1956.
Scroll fragments are displayed on a rotating basis under the museum’s distinctive white dome. The Shrine of the Book is open daily and most Ya’lla tours to Israel include a visit there.
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