The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is one of the most amazing places on earth, it was even a runner up for the “7 Wonders of the World” competition held in 2011. The Dead Sea is located on the border between Jordan and Southern Israel in the Jordan Rift Valley and water from the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea. The name Dead Sea derives from the fact that nothing can live in the highly saline water and in Hebrew the sea is called Yam Hamelach or The Salt Sea. The Dead Sea has many qualities that are the “best in the world” or “only one in the world”. It is the lowest point on Earth at 423 meters below sea level it is the deepest hyper-saline lake on the planet reaching a depth of 377meters and at 33.7% salinity (imagine 33.7% of the water is salt)
it is about the 3rd or 4th saltiest bodies of water in the world. Being in the desert the Dead Sea region gets an average of 330 days of sunshine a year.

Floating in the Dead SeaRecords from historical documents show that the natural curative qualities of the waters have been appreciated for centuries and many Biblical events took place in the nearby fascinate. The Biblical city of Sodom and Gomorra is nearby. Even Aristotle mentioned the sea and the Roman settlement of the Essenes people was in nearby Qumram where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. Since the 60′s the site has been one of Israel’s most impressive tourist attractions. Chemists have studied the natural potash and bromine content of the sea, the Dead Sea Palestine Potash Company provided half of the British’s potash during WWII and today that company has become the national Israeli Dead Sea Works Ltd. The company factory on the shores of the sea extracts the minerals including magnesium, sodium chloride, carnalite, potassium and caustic soda to be used in beauty products and medicines.

What is there to do at the Dead Sea

Visitors can enjoy one of the hotels which line the shore and which also offer spa treatments. If you just want to take a dip in the water (without staying at a hotel) the hotel area called Ein Bokek has public beaches as well as amenities, restaurants and stores. Another popular stopping point on the way to Eilat, Masada or just to visit is Ein Gedi where there are also tourist amenities, public bathrooms, picnic areas and a kiosk. At Bianki Beach (Siesta Beach) there is a wooden deck and narrow beach with full tourist facilities, this is where the annual Dead Sea Love Festival is held. Kalia Beach is the most northerly beaches on the Dead Sea Israeli coast. For religious bathers the International Beach has women and men’s separate beaches. Nave Midbar has a camping area, restaurant and stores. Mineral Beach, close to Ein Gedi also has tourist facilities. It is possible to take a tour of the Dead Sea Works plant and also to buy the world famous Ahava (Hebrew for love) skin and beauty products from the many outlets in the area and all of Israel.

Health benefits

Visitors come to the Dead Sea not only to see this incredible site but to benefit from the therapeutic qualities of the water and atmosphere. The Dead Sea has a unique micro-climate with high oxygen content in the air making not only the water therapeutic but also the air you breathe. There are spa hotels lining the coast line of the sea, many with private beaches and all offering treatments which put to use the natural minerals from the water. Those coming for a short time and not visiting one of the hotels can dig the famous black Dead Sea mud out of the rocky shore line or from the sea bed.  The mineral rich mud is then lathered onto the skin and left to dry, letting the goodness be absorbed and leaving your skin feeling fresh and clean. The Dead Sea mud can also be bought in vacuum packed bags and taken home.

The Dead Sea is luckily easily reached from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem by car, bus or tour. And you don’t have to worry about drowning as the salty water keeps you afloat, just keep the water out of your eyes!