5 Reasons to Visit the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, right in the Middle East, a landlocked lake bordered by Israel and Jordan, is the lowest place on earth. The Dead Sea is rich with minerals. With a 33.7% salinity level, it is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. It is possible to visit the Dead Sea at any time of the year, but in the summer it can be extremely hot. There are many reasons you should go to the Dead Sea; the most important ones are listed below.
You can float.
You may have seen photographs of people reading newspapers while floating in the Dead Sea, and that really happens! Because the Dead Sea is so salty, it’s impossible to swim in the water so just lean back and float. A word of warning though – don’t go into the water right after shaving or if you have a cut somewhere. It will sting!
You can cover yourself with mud.
There are a lot of minerals in the Dead Sea and many of them are extracted for commercial use (such as the production of fertilizers). The black mud found on the seabed is also mineral-rich and has huge health benefits. Many organized Dead Sea beaches have barrels of mud for visitors. Cover yourself in mud, take a picture, and then wash it off!
You can see a hyrax.
Ein Gedi has been an oasis on the Dead Sea’s western shore since Biblical times. Today it is home to a kibbutz and to one of Israel’s most well-known nature reserves. Two streams run through dramatic canyons. You can hike on trails along their banks, through lush vegetation to a hidden waterfall and pools suitable for bathing. Higher still are ruins of an ancient temple and a small cave. Wildlife in the park include rock-climbing ibexes and families of hyraxes – small furry herbivores that scurry for safety when in close contact with humans.
You can hike up a mountain.
Get up well before dawn and you can view the sunrise from Masada, Israel’s most important archaeological site. Sitting on an isolated plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, Masada contains the ruins of an ancient synagogue, a Byzantine church, and the remnants of King Herod’s winter palace. If hiking up a mountain is too much for you, you can always ride the cable car to the top.
You can view a natural phenomenon, before it’s too late.
The Dead Sea is dying. Literally. The level of the water is dropping drastically from year to year, making it necessary to travel long distances to reach the water. Worse than that, sinkholes are appearing along the shores, destroying roads, wreaking havoc on agriculture, and endangering lives. There are plans to build a canal/pipeline to replenish the Dead Sea with water from the Red Sea, but this could be too little, too late. While the Dead Sea will not disappear in our lifetimes, it’s worthwhile to see it now!
The places mentioned above are not expensive; you certainly don’t have to win the US Powerball lottery to afford visiting them. The Dead Sea, with its combination of natural and manmade attractions, is definitely worth seeing when you next travel to Israel.
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