Dead Sea, the saltiest lake in the world.

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a unique gift of nature, which helps people to recover and find long life, so therapeutic tours at the Dead Sea are in special demand among tourists from around the world. The healing body of water is located at the lowest point of the globe. Salt, beneficial minerals, oxygen and pure water have a beneficial effect on the human body and can cure many diseases. The water also contains mud, which is used in medicine to create creams and masks for skin care. Treatment with mud helps strengthen the immune system, relieve stress, relieve joint pain and warms the body completely. It is worth noting that the Dead Sea water has a high concentration of salt, which makes it almost impossible to drown, and the average year-round water temperature is at least 24 degrees Celsius. Such conditions allow you to come for recovery at any time of year.

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Video: Dead Sea and the surrounding area

Highlights

The Dead Sea is actually not a sea at all, but a large inland lake that is fed by the waters of the Jordan River, which flows into its northern part. The Dead Sea is 67km long and 18km wide at its widest point; the border between Israel and Jordan divides it almost exactly in half.

The Dead Sea has about 30% salinity, 9 times more than any sea or ocean, and this salty water is unfit for any organisms (hence the name).

During its existence, the Dead Sea has had many names. The Jews called it the Steppe Sea, the Salty Sea, and the Eastern Sea. The Greeks called it Asphalt Lake because they said that lumps of black bitumen were found in it. The Nabataeans sold the natural asphalt for large sums of money, mostly to the Egyptians, who used it to mummify the dead. The Crusaders called it the Dead Sea, and medieval Muslims called it variously: the Lake of Stench, the Lake of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Upside Down Lake.

Dead Sea Salt

Holidays at the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea coast has a complex for vacationers, consisting of hotels, inns, health resorts, therapies and spas. Those who have been at least once at a resort at the Dead Sea, leave only the best reviews. It is no secret that the level of medicine in Israel at a very high level, so the quality of medical procedures will enjoy each visitor to the country. After recreation at the Dead Sea human body is cleansed, blood circulation and metabolism is stimulated, and the overall condition of the skin is improved. Mud, climatic features, clean air, useful minerals – these are the components of the sea, which make it a miraculous source of healing from many diseases. Despite the fact that the Dead Sea is not a beach resort, there are many vacationers.

Fun swimming on the surface of the Dead Sea is a must-see activity when visiting this region. The most popular (and therefore crowded) is the beach of Ein Gedi, attracting crowds of noisy young people with loud music and bonfires, who occupy campsites and restrooms (entrance to the beach is free) . Ein Bokek also has a great but crowded beach of the Hordus Hotel, which is easy to get to, and a nice sandy beach. If you come not in high season or on weekends, it’s much freer (and also free) . There are more beaches at the north end of the sea, including those of the hotels “Biankini” and “Siesta”, and opposite Kumran there is a very nice beach of the hotel “Mineral”.

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Swimming – or rather, lying on the surface of the water – in the Dead Sea leaves an unforgettable impression, but it is more difficult than it seems at first glance. Swimming in water with such high density is almost impossible, but we will give you some tips. To get ahead, you will have to make funny movements, twisting and pushing off, twisting around your axis like some kind of water beetle moving on the surface of the water. Since the salt content of the water here is about 10 times higher than in the Mediterranean Sea, once it gets on the body, the water makes it slippery and oily. Fish brought here by the current of the Jordan River die in the first minutes after entering the Dead Sea – they are found thrown on the shore, dried up and hardened like stone. Be sure to make sure that the extremely salty water does not get into their eyes – it can be painful and dangerous. If this happens, immediately rinse your eyes with fresh water. When the salt gets on your skin, any small scratch can be felt immediately, so it’s best not to go in the water with serious cuts or wounds.

Nevertheless, these warnings should not scare you. It is an indescribable feeling – to swim like a cork on the surface of the healing waters, surrounded by the harsh beauty of the Judean Desert, steeped in ancient and biblical history, at the lowest point of the land.

In Israel, every traveler can find a place to stay based on their financial capabilities and preferences. For fans of luxury suit suit refined apartments with the highest level of service, as well as beautiful sea views, Jacuzzi, a platform for sunbathing, spa, tennis court, gym, fountains and swimming pools on the complex. For those whose budget is limited, there are more modest, but cozy hotels with a standard list of services. It is difficult to name the average cost of a hotel room, because the choice depends on many factors.

It is noteworthy that the air over the Dead Sea has more oxygen than anywhere else. This contributes to the effect of being in a natural hyperbaric chamber.

The Dead Sea water has curative properties.

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Worth noting is the usefulness of the thermal springs located along the perimeter of the Dead Sea. Bathing in such a spring will help activate the circulatory system and contribute to the fact that oxygen begins to saturate all organs and tissues of your body.

Many people come to the Dead Sea to treat a variety of skin diseases, nervous system, diseases related to the endocrine system, as well as many other diseases.

One of the most unusual features of the Dead Sea is that its water is oily to the touch. The fact is that its water is not just salty: it is a rich mixture of minerals in which it is impossible to drown and which has medicinal properties. For many centuries, even since the time of King Herod, who built a palace on the shores of the Dead Sea, people have come to this region, attracted by the healing properties of an unusual body of water. In recent years, numerous spas, clinics and luxury hotels have sprung up at the small resort of Ein Bokek, turning it into a flourishing tourist center. But for the treatment of many diseases, such as skin and respiratory, is useful not only the water of the Dead Sea. The absence of pollen, warm and dry climate, low radiation levels, high atmospheric pressure, and mineral-rich mud found on the coast all contribute to modern and extraordinarily successful therapies.

Dead Sea cosmetics are widely exported around the world

A consequence of this fashion has been the massive export of Dead Sea products for cosmetic applications. Creams and lotions that utilize the healing properties of Dead Sea minerals from companies such as Ahava are offered in shopping malls and pharmacies in hundreds of countries around the world.

But there is a price to pay for extracting the healing minerals, and that price is seen at the southern end of the Dead Sea, where the Dead Sea Salt Works evaporation pools have been set up. But the beauty industry is not to blame, since the company mines a variety of minerals, including potash, bromine, caustic soda and magnesium, for other industries.

Death of the Dead Sea.

The water level in the sea is now dropping by 1 meter each year. Since the 1950s it has dropped 250 meters, an alarming figure. There are several reasons for this, chief of which is the depletion of the freshwater resources of the rivers flowing into the Dead Sea. The Jordan River is now only a small stream at its confluence with the sea because it is blocked by dams built during various irrigation projects. The surface area of the sea in the 1950s was 1000 km², but now it has shrunk to 700 km². Another important factor is the extraction of potash and minerals on the shoals of the southern end of the sea, in which both Jordan and Israel evaporate water for their needs.

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If the process continues at this rate, the sea will completely dry up in 50 years. Urgent action must be taken to prevent this. The Jordanian and Israeli authorities, interested in solving the problem, agreed in 2002 to build a 250 km long canal from the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aqaba) to the Dead Sea. The 400-meter difference in elevation would make it possible to build a hydroelectric power plant here, as well as desalination plants that would supply both states with precious fresh water. However, the project has fallen victim to the political situation and has hung in limbo, as have the peace talks.

Preserving a unique natural site is a national task

A trip to the dead sea from the Jordanian side

Most tourists coming to Jordan consider it their duty to stop by the Dead Sea and perform the bathing ritual.

On the road from Amman you will first pass through the town of Naur where Sultan Abdul Hamid settled a large number of Circassians. As you leave Naur you will appreciate the “lunar” scenery that you will pass by – the road will constantly go down to the lowest point on the surface of the earth – 408 meters below sea level.

The Dead Sea is only 50 km from Amman, so it is an easy half-day excursion. The drive itself is an hour and a half one way. There are signs all the way south from Amman to the airport and on to Naur.

Dead Sea

Dead Sea (Israel)

The Dead Sea (Hebrew: ים המלח Yam ha-melah, “Sea of Salt”; Arabic: البَحح, “Sea of Salt”. البَحْر المَيّت ‘Al-Bahr Al-Mayyit – “Dead Sea”; also Sea of Asphalt, Sea of Sodom ) is a drainless salt lake between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The water level of the Dead Sea is 425 meters (2012) [1] below sea level and falls at a rate of about 1 meter per year. The lakeshore is the lowest land area on earth. The Dead Sea is one of the most salty water bodies on Earth, the salinity reaches 33.7%. The length of the sea is 67 km, width 18 km in the widest part, the maximum depth is 378 m.

Content

History

The first mention of the name “Dead Sea” is found in the writings of the ancient Greek scholar Pausanias, who was one of the first to explore its waters. The lake is defined in the name “dead” because it was thought that because of its high salt content, neither fish nor other organisms could live in it (with the exception of some species of bacteria at the mouth of the Jordan River). In the last years of the 20th and early 21st centuries, about 70 species of oomycetes and higher fungi have been found in the Dead Sea, capable of tolerating the maximum salinity of the reservoir [2].

Several drying streams and the Jordan River flow into the Dead Sea [3] . In the past 40 years alone, the volume of the watercourse has dropped from 1.43 billion cubic meters per year to 100 million. [4]

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The famous Qumran manuscripts were also found in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. There are more than 600 manuscripts which prove that the Jewish sect of the Yeseis in the 2nd century before Christ professed principles surprisingly similar to the evangelical commandments. The first manuscript scrolls from Qumran were accidentally found by a Bedouin boy in 1947. The Dead Sea area was home to the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah [5] .

Salinity and Water Composition

The mineral content of the water reaches 33%, with an average of 28% (compared to 4% in the Mediterranean Sea). The Dead Sea is one of the most saline lakes in the world, along with Lake Assal in East Africa (almost 35%), Lake Elton in the Volgograd region (20-50%) and Lake Baskunchak in the Astrakhan region (37%).

The mineralogical composition of the Dead Sea salt differs significantly from that of other seas. It contains about 50.8% magnesium chloride, 14.4% calcium chloride, 30.4% sodium chloride, and 4.4% potassium chloride. The salt is low in sulfates but relatively high in bromides. This has allowed the Dead Sea to become a unique health resort, created by nature and attracting millions of tourists from all over the world. In addition to the unique composition of salts, the Dead Sea is also known for its medicinal mud, which is extracted from the bottom of the lake. The Dead Sea’s famous silt sulfide mud is highly mineralized (up to 300 g/l), high in bromine, iodine, and hormone-like substances.

Environmental conditions

The Dead Sea’s natural resources have been exploited with increasing intensity over the past century. Industrial exploitation of the minerals and the use of 80% of the tributaries flowing into the Dead Sea have led to a dramatic drop in the water table.

Over the past century, the water level has dropped by 25 meters, and the destructive process is only progressing. Today, the sea level is falling by an average of one meter a year [6]. In 1977, due to drainage, the sea was divided into two parts, the northern and the southern. The southern part is under the control of mineralogical plants. The plants produce bromine, potassium carbonate, and other minerals. The crystallization of salts is by evaporation. For this purpose, the southern part was turned into a system of communicating basins. The natural circulation of the Dead Sea was thus disturbed. This situation has led to an imminent ecological catastrophe. Its first harbingers [7] are already perceptible. A lowering of the water table has led to the formation of underground cavities and sinking of the soil. There are about 1200 sinkholes on the territory of Israel and Jordan that are sometimes up to 25 meters deep. The greatest danger is posed by subsidence along roads and near residential complexes. Recorded case of a failure immediately after the passage of the tourist bus. By happy coincidence, none of the passengers were injured. So far, three people have become victims of the collapse.

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Causes of the ecological disaster:

  1. Economic use of waters formerly flowing into the Dead Sea;
  2. Pumping out groundwater;
  3. Climate change.

In recent years, the situation has begun to threaten the tourism industry and has caused concern for both Israel and Jordan. Several projects have been proposed to divert the waters of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea. Today, a joint Jordanian-Israeli project to divert Red Sea waters is in the modeling stage. Scientists are trying to predict the consequences of such a canal and its impact on the ecology of the Eilat Gulf. The cost of the project is $3-4 billion. In 2012, an agreement in principle to build such a canal was reached [8] .

The dropping level of the Dead Sea is not the only problem threatening this unique natural area. In recent decades, the Dead Sea has become a sewage pit for many Palestinian cities and settlements. The situation has been exacerbated by the plastic garbage brought in by winter floods. The Israeli government and environmental organizations are developing various projects to change the situation. But a complete solution to the problem can only be achieved with the construction of sewage collectors in the territory of the Palestinian Authority. At the moment, the Palestinian side is not ready to accept any construction initiatives coming from Israel. The situation has remained unresolved for years. On the Palestinian side, initiatives to dispose of sewage have so far only been taken by private individuals. Farmers on the western shore of the Dead Sea have built pools to catch sewage for agricultural use. However, some of the collection tanks were unprofitable and were abandoned. Environmental activists in Israel attempted to organize protests at the door of the Ministry of Environment in Jerusalem [9].

Nevertheless, organized treatment at the Dead Sea is actively developing, new hotels and clinics are being built.

Tourist infrastructure

Mujib Nature Reserve is located in the Wadi Mujib Gorge (Jordan). Scientists have found here 420 species of plants and 102 species of birds. The cave of Lot is near Safi (Jordan). Here, according to the Book of Genesis, Lot and his daughters found shelter in a cave after the destruction of Sodom. The cave is on a mountain near a small spring. You can also see the pillar of salt that Lot’s wife turned into. Now there is a monastery complex, which in addition to the cave includes a Byzantine church with a mosaic floor, a number of offices and living quarters for monks and pilgrims and several tombs. On the shores of the Dead Sea are kibbutzim Ein Gedi, Kalia, Almog and Mitzpe Shalem, as well as a number of national parks, hotels and other tourist sites.

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