Relax, Heal, Float…
The Dead Sea, known in Hebrew as Yam Ha-Melakh, is a lake situated on the long border between Israel and Jordan. It is a popular hotspot for tourism as not only is it a place of relaxation and beauty, but also extremely concentrated salty water which withholds numerous medical advantages for its visitors. The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest point on the surface of the earth, its surface measures around 423 meters below sea level, and are the most intriguing natural phenomena existing on our planet. Aside for some microorganisms and algae, this salt water lake is completely devoid of life, as there is no seaweed, fish, or creatures found in the turquoise waters.
“Cleopatra also loved the Dead Sea and used its products as part of her beauty regime”
The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, with almost 10 times more salt than ordinary seawater. This is due to the water which flows into the Dead Sea from one main tributary, the River Jordan, however, as there is no way for it to get out of the lake, it forced to evaporate. In this popular destination, there are a number of public beaches open along the shores of the sea. Famous sites include the Ein Gedi and the Ein Bokek resort, where many hotels offer private beaches. In the relaxing waters, Israeli’s and the country’s visitors, cover themselves in the mineral-rich mud and float on the surface, as the place is well known for its healing properties.
The Dead Sea’s healing waters have been sought even since Biblical times. Herod the Great, who reigned between 37 to 4 BC, built one of the world’s first health spas along its shores. According to legend, Cleopatra also loved the Dead Sea and used its products as part of her beauty regime. First time visitors to the Dead Sea can enjoy numerous Spa clubs and hotels, finding a good choice of stores, bars, and restaurants, as well as specialized regional line of treatments. Guests are also welcome to enjoy personalized in-room treatments and outdoor pools, relaxing in the elegant views of the nearby waters. Numerous visitors also come to this popular destination for treating skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and cellulite, as well as muscle ache and arthritis.
Apart from the healing water itself, the Dead Sea was home to one of the most important discoveries in modern archaeology. In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 11 caves near the ruins of Qumran on its northwestern shore. These ancient manuscripts date from around 250 BC to 68 AD. These texts were key to the world’s understanding of Christianity as they included numerous Biblical prayers. Yet another connection to the ancient times, an unusual feature of the lake is that it spits up small pebbles and blocks of asphalt too its surface. Ancient Egyptians used to import this to use in their mummification processes.
Whilst the Dead Sea is one of Israel’s most popular tourist destinations, it’s unfortunately disappearing at an alarming rate, as water is being taken from the Jordan River for developments in the country. Its surface level is dropping by more than one meter every year and it’s only half the length it was just a century ago. To stabilize the situation Jordan and Israel signed and agreement to save the waters of this natural wonder.
By: Mina Vučić