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Introducing Arad

On the road between Be’er Sheva and the Dead Sea, this lethargic eastern Negev community benefits from its surrounding wealth of mineral deposits. Situated on a high plateau with commanding views of the desert, the town itself doesn’t offer too much to either see or do. The Arad tourist office (995 4160; 9am-5pm Sun-Thu) is behind the Paz petrol station.

Visitors to the Masada sound-and-light show will necessarily pass through Arad, since the venue is not connected by road to the main north–south highway linking the Dead Sea and Eilat.

An attractive addition to the city is Eshet Lot Artists’ Quarter, being developed in an abandoned industrial zone 2km southwest of town. Nearly 20 artists have transformed the old hangers, garages and factories into gift shops, studios and workshops. Check out the Glass Museum (www.warmglassil.com; Sadan Rd; 10am-5pm Sat-Thu, 10am-2pm Fri) opened by artist Gideon Fridman, and Studio 11 (054 554 0002; Sadan Unit 4), a bar and concert hall featuring live music on weekends.