The Dead Sea could be counted as one of the places in the world which would make for a truly exotic holiday destination, both for spiritual and therapeutic reasons. The Dead Sea conjures up a feeling of evocative mystery because of its strange name and lore associated with it.
The Dead Sea is not a sea at all, but a highly saline land locked lake in the Mideast, which is associated with 5 biblical sites of ancient times, such as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is also said that Jesus and David both found refuge and peace around the Dead Sea.
Location Of The Dead Sea
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The Dead Sea is located in the Jordan Rift valley, with Jordan to the East and Israel to the West. It is the point of the lowest elevation on earth; the Dead Sea is approximately 420 metres below sea level. This dark blue beautiful lake is surrounded by higher mountains to the East, and the smaller Judaen hills to the West.
It is about 55 kms south of Amman, the capital of Jordan and it is only half an hour’s drive from there, whereas from the Israeli side, it is a day trip. The Jordan river flows into the Dead Sea, and its source of water is also some perennial underground springs and streams, but it is a lake which is shrinking rapidly even though it has no outflow of water, because of rapid evaporation in the hot, dry climate.
The Dead Sea is about 370 metres deep. It is fairly large lake, extending 34 miles in length, and between 2 and 11 miles in width. The barren hills around the Dead Sea make for a fantastic landscape, and both Israel and Jordan have natural reserves around the Dead Sea.
Why It Is Called The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is so named because it supports no aquatic life within it, because of the extremely high salt-concentration. Fish which find its way into the Dead Sea from the Jordan river do not survive; they are often found dead and floating around its shores.
The Dead Sea is about 8-10 times saltier than the ocean, which means about 34% salinity, which makes it impossible for life to survive in it, and the heavy, white salt deposits which can be seen on the rocks on its shores make for a surreal sight. It is mostly a calm, rippleless lake, with fine, warm weather all the year round, which makes it a tourist destination all year round.
Why The Dead Sea Is A Major Tourist Attraction
The Dead Sea attracts thousands of visitors because largely because of the stories surrounding it about being able to literally ‘float’ on its waters. This is made possible because the high concentration of salts in the Dead Sea give it a high density, resulting in great natural buoyancy. One can see bathers floating almost lifeless in the Dead Sea, doing their reading, and looking as if they are reclining on a water bed.
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The Dead Sea is the richest source of natural salts, containing more than 35 types of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, sulphur and iodine, which give its water its highly acclaimed healing and therapeutic properties. Visitors flock here all year round to get relief and healing from diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, rheumatism and eczema.
The Dead Sea mud is also known for its black mud present along its shoreline, which contains heavy concentrations of minerals, and is known for its beautifying and healing properties. Many cosmetics are made from the rich deposits obtained from the dead Sea. The sun rays here are largely devoid of the UV content because of the extremely low altitude, and this makes the Dead Sea region ideal for sunbathers.
The high atmospheric pressure and clear and dry weather also make it an ideal tourist destination. Besides these, both Israel and Jordan have maintained natural reserves in the region surrounding the Dead Sea, and there is plenty more to do here than just float on the waters of the Dead Sea. There are many avenues for historical and archaeological interests and also many forms of entertainment available.
Where To Stay
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The Dead Sea beaches and areas around offer many kinds of staying facilities for tourists. There are luxury hotels with all facilities, and also kibbutz and guest house accommodations. Among the high-end hotels and spas are the Carlton Dead Sea, Hod, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Dead Sea, Lot and the Radisson Plaza Dead Sea Spa. It has a lot of dermatological clinics and health spas, too.
Tourist Attractions Around The Dead Sea
There are many beaches around the Dead Sea, with various different attractions, for example, Kalia beach has a water amusement park and go-karting facilities. There are many museums such as the Arad Visitors’ Centre, and Bet Hassofer in Almog, a kibbutz or settlement on the north western shore of the Dead Sea, which houses replicas of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Then there are the National Parks, such as the Quman National Park, which also lies on the north western shore and is a site of an ancient Essene settlement, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered, and the Masada national park, the main historical and archaeological site in the area. Masada National Park has a cable car facility to ascend and descend to the famous Herod’s mountain fortress.
There are also attractions such as Mount Sodom, the only salt desert in the region, which is a few miles away from the Dead Sea, and believed to be the site of the ancient towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Mount Nebo on the Jordanian side.
Thus, the Dead Sea is a great holiday destination, offering not only medicinal and therapeutic benefits and a chance to relax and heal, but also spiritual healing in the wonderful and amazing landscape of the region. There are entertainment facilities for those inclined towards a fun-filled time, and for those who are historically inclined, there could scarcely be a better place than the areas surrounding the Dead Sea.