The Dead Sea is noted as the “lowest place on earth” (over 400 meters/1,312 ft. below sea level). It is fed by the Jordan River, but has no outlet. The area has a very high rate of evaporation due to high temperatures and low humidity, and produces a great amount of raw chemicals – including chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, and bromine among others – that are extracted and exported to all parts of the world and used for medicine, industry and agriculture.
Also known as Yam Hamelakh (“The Salt Sea”), guests from around the world visit the site, floating at the top of the waters, without sinking, due to its intense concentration of salt (close to ten times that of the ocean). With warm dry air and temperatures drifting between 86°/30° C in winter and 104°/40° C during the summer months, The Dead Sea area is popular year-round for vacations.
Things to Do
Near and around the Dead Sea are attractions for the adventure-seeker (including mountains in the east, and in the west Jerusalem’s majestic hillsides), as well as those seeking peace and rest. The Jordanian eastern coast of the Sea is known for its spiritual and healthful locations, including well kept roads, beautiful landscapes, and grand hotels with spa and fitness facilities. The majority of guests come for the dark rich mud and salt water, however. The Sea’s natural resources have proven effective at helping to relieve skin disorders and ailments, including psoriasis and arthritis.
A few miles beyond the hotel district along the coast, along the Dead Sea main road, the quieter Amman Tourist Beach offers opportunities to swim in local pools and changing areas for guests and locals, alike. The beach is a great area for parties and planned events, as well.
The Dead Sea Historical
The Dead Sea is also home to a large collection of historical and archaeological artifacts and ruins. Biblical figures, including David, Jesus, and Jewish zealots found sanctuary along the coast, and the site is best known as being the site of the towns Sodom and Gomorrah, that God destroyed as told in Biblical traditions (Genesis 18:20 – 19:29). King Herod the Great and the elegant Egyptian Queen Cleopatra are said to have visited this area, and enjoyed taking in the warm sun, and soaking in the thick healing mud and mineral-rich salt water.
More recently, the Dead Sea has become newsworthy for the “Dead Sea Scrolls”, found on the northwest shore, in a cave area known as the Khirbet Qumran. Since 1947, eleven caves in all were found containing ancient parchment that are considered by scholars to include the oldest physical record of the Old Testament (The Hebrew Bible). Ironically, the discovery of these scrolls was done by a young shepherd boy looking for a lost sheep, and not by archaeologists!