The Dead Sea (יָם הַמֶּלַח) is a large body of hypersaline water bordering Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. Its surface and shores are 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level making it the lowest elevation on earth. The Dead Sea is 377 m (1,237 ft) deep, 55 kilometres (34 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. With 33.7% salinity, it is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. The water from the Sea has a density of 1.240 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating.
Why is is “dead”?
It is called the Dead Sea because its salinity prevents the existence of any life forms in the lake. The Dead Sea is not a totally barren, abandoned place, though. The coastline is dotted with many springs, surrounded by wild plant life. The combination of desert and oasies draws many tourists to the area to relax and enjoy themselves.
The Historical Side of the Sea
Besides these natural sites, there are also some well known sites from Israel’s historic past. You can visit the Massada fortress, ancient Ein Gedi and the Qumran cave site (famous for the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls). While you’re there, check out the monasteries built on the cliff walls! Back in the fourth century, many Christian believers wanted to devote themselves to God and the monks built the monasteries right into the stone faces of the desert cliffs. You can still visit some of the monasteries (still operating at the time of this writing).
Come Here and Feel Good
The Dead Sea has something that nobody else can claim – the world’s lowest health resort. The composition of the salts and minerals in the water make it unique and beneficial for the body. The deposits of black mud provides nourishing minerals, the bromide in the air is also beneficial to the body’s health and well-being.
Besides the mineral content of the water, pollen and other allergens in the atmosphere are very reduced due to the below sea level position. The reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation, and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth are beneficial for persons experiencing reduced respiratory function from diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
Other therapies include:
Climatotherapy – Treatment which exploits local climatic features such as temperature, humidity, sunshine and barometric pressure
Heliotherapy – The biological effects of the sun’s radiation.
Thalassotherapy – Bathing in Dead Sea water.
Psoriasis – Because of being below sea level, the sun’s harmful UV rays are reduced, thus allowing longer periods of sunbathing.
Rhinosinusitis – A saline nasal irrigation of Dead Sea water shows better symptom relief compared to standard hypertonic saline spray.
Osteoarthritis – Dead Sea mud pack therapy temporarily relieves pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knees.
For more information about the healing qualities of the Dead Sea, visit this link: http://www.dead-sea-wonder-of-nature.com
Stay awhile and enjoy
The western shore (inside Israel’s borders) has organized beaches and bathing areas that provide convenient access to the water. You will also find dozens of hotels, hostels and guest houses, restaurants and shopping centers, and lots of activities ranging from jeep and bicycle tours, to camel tours, rappelling and more).
The Sea may be dead, but life and activity there is alive and well.
Video from Israel Ministry of Tourism